Have you ever awaited a time when you’d be "Queen for the Day," showered with love, touch no dirty dishes, and get served delicious, nourishing food? Perhaps all your favorite people would magically gather, sing to you, and present you with a festive feast complete with balloons and streamers. Oh, and you don’t have to clean up afterward! To top it off, you get your way all day long and everything goes perfectly?
No, this isn’t a narcissistic fantasy (well, maybe it is), but it might be a touch out of reality and yet it’s something that many of us expect at least one day a year. Yep, I’m talking about birthdays.
In our culture, we’re taught as children that birthdays are a day to get our way, with all the focus and attention directed toward us, and that everything is supposed to be perfect for us. It’s as though everyone else’s needs magically disappear and the world emerges as though it were created just for the birthday celebrant.
It’s no wonder birthdays are so complicated for us as adults! When we fall all over ourselves in an attempt to make kids feel loved and celebrated, part of what they learn is unreasonable expectations and ultimately they’re bound to have some disappointing birthdays.
I’m not saying don’t celebrate. Of course, celebrate! But can we please be a little more realistic? How about relieving some of the pressure we place on one day and spread it out with mini-celebrations of all the wonderful little things we experience throughout the week or month?
The fact is that sometimes birthdays suck and it’s one of the many harsh realities of adulthood. Mine sure did this year. 90% of it went “all wrong.” It was depressing. And to top it off, for the past week our whole family has been on an emotional roller coaster with our rescued 4-years-old pup, Zoe. Thankfully she's MUCH better now.
When we're visited by a moment of truth, one of its lessons is to help us find clarity and perspective about what matters in life. This year, one of my gifts was a reminder of why I'm a fan of celebrating birthWEEKS and birthMONTHS rather than birthDAYS. Our culture is pretty messed up when it comes to birthdays, loading it with stress, expectations, and way too much pressure.
Can we agree to chill out on the whole birthday thing? Let’s take care of ourselves and love ourselves throughout the year, rather than looking for someone on the outside to do it, and then pouting (even if it’s only on the inside) when it doesn’t go exactly right.
I've got a little gift to help you start taking care of yourself and loving yourself throughout the year: Get my free Self-care Starter Kit here.
Oftentimes life is way too complicated. Simplicity is underrated. As one of my teachers says, "Everything is overrated. Except for Nothing. Nothing is underrated."
With love and "nothing,"
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