Another year older…

another year wiser? Hopefully…

It’s funny, every year on my birthday it’s pretty much the same routine. I plan an exquisite day for myself, with myself, by myself. Why? Because I won’t let myself down, and if I do, I will know in advance and be prepared for it.

See, when I turned 40, you know that big milestone birthday everyone either embraces or dreads? Well, no one marked it with me. No one called. No one emailed. No one posted on my facebook wall. I sat alone, in my apartment, feeling like a failure and a bad friend. (yes, I blamed myself for everyone forgetting my birthday) I still take a good portion of the blame actually.

See I’m very much a loner. It’s a protective measure I’ve realized (after years of therapy and self analysis) I don’t like losing people. (I’ve lost too many already) I don’t like feeling left out. (I’ve worked in very judgmental industries my entire life, where relationships are fickle and people can be horribly cruel and exclusive) So to prevent this, I began to segregate myself, and became very selective in my social endeavors.

After that “birthday that never happened”, I decided to make a change for myself. From that year forward I would become my own best friend. My trusted companion. The “best date ever”.

Instead of making plans with others who may conceivably cancel out last minute, change/alter schedules, etc… I make plans with myself, especially on my birthday! Actually, I make a wishlist of things I wish to do, see, eat, etc.., with no timeline, and then let the day unfold as it happens.

When I explained that to someone the other day, I was told that was kind of a pessimistic outlook.

I don’t think so at all.

In fact I quite enjoy hanging out with myself now. It’s not like I’m lurking like some wallflower in a dark corner. I have conversations with many people along the way. I observe things and overhear things that I might otherwise miss were I with a group of people. I savor every smell, every sight, every sound, every taste along the way. I think deeply. I have conversations with myself. I plan, I write, I dream.

I believe it makes me a more well rounded person in the long run. I don’t depend on anyone to entertain or amuse me, so if/when it happens, I enjoy it a little more.

Hell, I proclaimed proudly to everyone I came in contact with that day that it was my birthday. 😉

I do believe in my heart too that many who virtually shared my journey that day were sort of jealous of my day. See, while I may not have a significant other, or a family, or a “real” job with a dozen or so coworkers, what I do have is unfettered freedom.

So, my birthday unfolded thusly:
A couple of billable hours at the start of the day, just to get it out of the way. A quick stop at the Ministry of Transportation to renew my driver’s license, followed by a stop at Starbucks to grab my complimentary birthday coffee, a decadent combo of a pumpkin latte, topped with whipped cream, caramel and caramel salt, which I drank while eating a gluten free Carrot Cake cupcake topped with cream cheese icing. Then I started to just wander. I was on the hunt for the perfect sunflower (those came a few days later) and a movie. With the annual Toronto Film Festival in full swing in the city, I tried my luck at catching an artsy flick. I managed to snag the last ticket to a film, but it wasn’t playing until the next night. So I took myself to a matinee of a regular film, which happened to be playing in Theatre 13! (I took that as a good omen)
After the movie, I made my way down to the Esplande for my annual birthday dinner at The Keg Steakhouse and Bar, where I enjoyed two stellar margaritas (on the rocks,salted rim) a delicious meal, a glass of wine, and complimentary dessert, complete with Sparkler! I also was joined by a surprise out of town guest (more on that in the next entry)

So while there were no cards, or presents, or parties, I was completely at ease and happy, and never once felt “alone” or lonely. In fact I felt like I was the tour guide and a couple hundred of my closest friends were on my journey with me. I tweeted, and four-squared, and time-lined my every moment. I responded to over 180 greetings throughout the day on my Facebook wall from friends from all over the world, the people I’ve shared some of my happiest memories with.

If anything, I would describe what I do as selfish, not pessimistic. It allows me to take it all in 100%. The focus is on me and me alone. Who the hell wouldn’t want to spend their birthday that way??

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2 thoughts on “Another year older…”

  1. I love this and think it’s the perfect way to spend your birthday. We don’t do enough for ourselves – it’s always go, go, go, with lots of people, lots of to-do’s, lots of everything but ourselves. Devoting an entire day to appreciating YOU and doing what YOU want to do sounds like birthday bliss to me.

    1. Exactly! I do mini versions of the same “me day” at least once a month now too. I think the old adage of “treat others as you wish to be treated” should be adjusted to: “treat yourself the way you wish others to treat you” 😉

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