Updated: 2 days ago
Last week I celebrated my forty-third birthday (ah, already? Time flies.). Even though the number of my age has not affected me in any way, the way I approach my birthday has changed over the last decade. I remember several birthdays in my 20s and early 30s that ended as ones of those gloomy days. It could be because my boyfriend or close friends forgot about it or I dismissed the day as a mundane typical work day.
Then one year in my mid thirties to do my birthday differently that year. I would design that day exactly how I wanted it to be, decide on how I want to spend the time, whom I want to spend it with, and what I would like to eat or do in the most customized plan from only listening to my voice.
No one needed to do anything extra to make me feel special. I only depended on myself for the enjoyment of the day. I willingly took on the role and helped myself to spend it how I knew I would like.
That very experience has taught me many lessons.
I am in charge of my happiness. No one else. If I know how to design my day in the best possible way for me, then I know how to treat myself well for the other 364 days. Knowing that my preference is not selfish, but a duty to myself. It doesn't take much to make myself happy; it is often an experience, not a thing.
Last week I called my surf coach Michelle Bautista, whom I hadn't seen for over 8 months.
"Michelle! Are you available next Wednesday? I would love to surf with you."
I didn't tell her that it was my birthday, but I knew I would love to start the day surfing with her. Luckily she was available! For the first time I took out my custom board from the legendary shaper Skip Frye. I had had it over four months but had never ridden it. I decided to finally take it to the local surf break Terra Mar in Carlsbad, CA. I hadn't waited until my birthday to ride this board, but I did wait purposely until I felt ready to honor the world-class board. Then a few weeks before my birthday I thought the day had come.
The beautiful summer morning in southern California with gentle 2-3 foot waves was perfect. The board was cutting through the water like butter, gliding smoothly. The waves I caught that day were like a special gift that nature endowed me with and were absolutely joyous. I laughed and smiled like a kid in a playground.
The rest of the day was filled with a delicious sushi lunch with close friends, playing with doggies, a relaxed walk around the quiet neighborhood, and playing one of my favorite board games - Dixit.
In the evening my boyfriend asked if I wanted to watch a movie, and I said "Nah...Let's just talk. Tell me some stories!" pulling up a blanket to my chin with a big smile. We chatted for a while until my eyes got heavy with sleep. We talked about things I had already forgotten, silly things, funny stories, music, surf, travel, food, and life.
My birthday was filled with love, joy, gratitude, laughter, friends, music, and nature. It was a beautifully designed day for me to appreciate life. What a joy it was! I promised myself that I shall repeat it on days that are not birthdays.
When was the last time you planned your day intentionally by listening to yourself?
What did it include?
How would you like to design your birthday? Please share it with me!