I first wrote this post about birthdays back in 2007, and since today is my 41st birthday, I thought I’d share an excerpt with you.
Growing up, I loved having my birthday in the summer because it meant I didn’t have to go to school on my birthday. Sure, I missed out on cupcakes with the class, but I got fireworks. I think in that trade-off, I got the better deal, don’t you? A summer birthday meant that most people were more relaxed and ready to have fun.
My parents always made birthdays a big deal. Bigger than Christmas, because it was YOUR special day. My sister and I would get lots of presents, sure, but the best part about our birthdays was that the whole day felt like a huge celebration. The birthday girl got to decide what we had for dinner that night — whether it was a favorite recipe that Mom made or a restaurant you wanted to try out. Since my birthday fell in the summer, we usually took some kind of day trip for my birthday. We could go anywhere I wanted to — San Francisco, Santa Cruz, a movie at the mall, whatever. Birthdays are usually celebrations, but in my family, they were like our own special holiday.
When I got old enough to work, I always took my birthday off, because it was my special day. As a teenager, I’d usually do the family thing in the morning and earlier part of the day and then hang out with friends later. Or, we’d all go out to dinner, my parents’ treat.
Birthdays are always a time of reflection for me. I take stock of the past year of life and celebrate my successes and see what I can learn from the disappointments. And I usually celebrate it with food and drink alongside family and friends.
But not this year.
This year I told everyone that I didn’t want to go out for drinks or to a special dinner for my birthday. A few of the people were surprised that I was saying this, but once I explained my thinking, they understood. This summer my priority is weight loss. I’ve been serious about it in my actions, and just because today is my birthday, I don’t want to blow all of my progress. One day of indulging can throw me off for an entire week, as evidenced by the Father’s Day BBQ I had a few weeks ago. This time of year is tough because my dad’s birthday is a week before mine, then mine, then 4th of July, then my niece’s birthday. Whew! Lots of celebrating.
So I asked everyone if we could do non-food-related things to celebrate and keep it all a little more low key. Plus this year isn’t one that ends in a 0 or a 5, so there’s no real need to go nuts with the parties. I’m still going to celebrate:
- I had iced tea and opened presents with my parents on Sunday.
- I decided a great gift to myself would be to start today with a 9am bikram yoga class, with my friend Ani. (I’m also buying an unlimited 1-month pass for myself, and the plan is to start my day with Bikram at 9am as many days as possible for the month of July).
- Afterward, I think I’ll head for a dip in the pool to cool off and refresh after all that sweaty bikram.
- This afternoon my sister and one of my good friends are taking me to get pedicures. Lots of ways to be social without including food and drinks.
- Tonight I want to keep things simple – take a leisurely walk with Sofi, read a great book in the backyard, and enjoy the evening quietly at home.
Because if I can stick to my goals this year I could almost be at my goal weight by my next birthday. How amazing will that be?!!