Now I am not in the habit of spending four days celebrating my birthday, or really anything for that matter, but in the past two years I have come to the conclusion that celebrating is an important part of living a happy and balanced life.
Celebrating is not the most practical or rational thing to do but that is precisely why I think it is so important. Celebrations are markers in our lives just as rites of passage are, and just as we have narrowed down the rites of passage to marriage and anniversaries, I think many of us once we hit our thirties, tend to limit our celebrations. “Oh it’s nothing. We’re just going to do something low key.” is a refrain I hear from myself and others constantly when asked how they are going to celebrate a birthday or the completion of their manuscript, or buying their first home, or getting a promotion.
We are so busy being productive that it seems silly or wasteful to take the time to make plans to go a little wild, to really have fun and mark the occasion with a splash.
My birthdays had always been pretty low key, no big parties or expensive nights on the town but we had always had fun having friends over, or indulging in a massage and a day at the pool at some fancy resort (without actually staying there though which would have been well beyond our budget). But in the first two years after we moved to Los Angeles and really stepped into the fast lane we quite literally stopped celebrating.
I spent two birthdays in a row sitting at our local delicatessen eating roast chicken and mashed potatoes with my toddler while my husband was away on business. The first time I told myself, this is nice, this is quiet, it’s fine, and it was. But the second time I realized something. We only get so many birthdays. So many promotions. So many graduations. Every chance we pass up to celebrate our own lives sends a message to our brains which are busy writing the stories of our lives, that we are not worth it. That life is not that much fun. That fun and some reasonable indulgence are not worth the effort.
Now I’m not saying everyone needs to go away for four days in Las Vegas or throw a catered party for fifty of their closest friends and family. I think it’s every bit as important to celebrate in a way that is fun and meaningful for you. Go out to dinner at that restaurant you have always been curious about but is too expensive for a typical date night, or if you usually spend your weekend tidying up and running errands, hire a cleaning service for the day and give your home a good scrub down while you go for a massage and spend a few hours lounging . Or have friends over for dinner and pour a toast to life, to your life. Because you only get one and every celebration is a chance to take a deep breath and realize that as the cliché so perfectly says, “this is not a dress rehearsal”. This is it folks. Cheers.
**One of my favorite food blogs to poke around on is Orangette and tonight I am going to celebrate just being home and relaxing with a yummy bowl of this Kimchi Fried Rice.