Birthdays. Days of celebration. Of self-indulgence. Of self-reflection. Days of fond memories or painful ones. I met someone the other day who hasn't celebrated a birthday since she's been married because her husband doesn't believe in birthdays. She didn't seem bitter about it or resigned to it, but perhaps they celebrate each other differently and don't need a single day to focus on the other.
I've not been a big fan of birthdays and not because I don't like getting older. I don't like getting older, but I'm not one to let my behavior or self-perception be dictated by a number. People who know me could tell you that. I used to think I didn't like birthdays because I don't have a lot of fond memories of birthdays. But then people made a big deal about my 29th birthday when a friend threw a huge surprise party. I was thrilled but a little embarrassed that people were paying so much attention to me. I have realized that while I don't mind the recognition, I don't like too much attention.
One of the things I do like about birthdays is hearing from people who care about me. In our busy electronic lives you'd think it would be easy to keep in touch, but somehow it's still hard to keep in touch with people of any degree of acquaintanceship or friendship. So a birthday allows us to make that special effort to reach out to someone and express whatever sentiments are appropriate for that relationship.
This particular birthday is not a Significant one in that it is a 0 birthday (30, 40, 50, 60). But I've made a commitment to do a few things for myself between this birthday and the next. One of the things is to take care better care of myself and that includes the occasional indulgence. Yesterday morning a friend of mine and I walked to breakfast. A bit later in the day we got a massage. Later that day I had dinner with a friend. In between I talked with friends who called on the phone; friends I don't see often and whose friendships I value immensely. It was a deliciously pleasant day. I have a ticket for hot air ballooning next Sunday at sunrise, weather permitting. That will be awesome.
My birthday also reminds me that I need to reach out to my friends, to the people I appreciate and value and let them know they are valued. Reconnecting with friends is another gift to myself. I can only hope that my friendship may be valuable to others.