In my observation, birthday celebrations can become less and less exciting as we age. When we were children, we anxiously looked forward to each birthday for weeks, daydreaming about the gifts we hoped to receive and planning exactly what we wanted to do on our special day.
But as we age, almost without thinking about it, our birthdays take on a different overtone. When asked about gift ideas, we’re more likely to ask for things we need instead of things we want, and we’re lucky to squeeze in a dinner at a favorite restaurant in an increasingly busy schedule. And for most people, birthdays are the dreaded day that means they have to add one more year to their age, and hope that nobody else even remembers it.
Well, friends, I have news for you: Genuinely enjoying your birthday is back in style!
Why shouldn’t birthdays still be exciting and fun when we’re grown up? Getting older is great news. It means that you’ve lived through another year and are gearing up for one that has prospects to be even better. Personally, I absolutely love my birthday—it’s the most important day of my year. Actually, my friends and family do such an excellent job of making me feel special that I’m usually still going out for celebratory lunches and dinners a month afterward.
Since my own birthdays are my most important day in each year, I try to help my family, friends, and clients feel that way about their birthdays, too. I keep a list of everyone’s birthdates and make sure to remember them with a card, email, or call. Above all, I want the people I care about to know that they are valued.
Recently, I planned a dinner to celebrate my husband’s birthday. It was so refreshing to have friends and family stand up and tell him what they thought of him and what he meant in their lives. Afterward, I told my husband that it was almost like being present at his own eulogy, but in a much, much happier setting (and, of course, he was able to hear what everyone said!). What a great gift it was for him to be told how special he is to so many people. It was my extra special treat when my husband later told me that I had given him the best birthday he had ever had in his life.
From now on, I hope that you’ll decide to look at birthdays as opportunities to celebrate life!