Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Birth Month And Looking Forward


I love birthdays. I am a whole-hearted supporter of the Gala Birthday Week, at a minimum, and even support extending it to a Birth Month celebration. This does not mean I will necessarily treat you like a princess for the whole month, but if that's what floats your boat and you choose that vision, I am not going to stand in your way during your birthday month (maybe the others, but that's a whole other story).

I don't work on my birthday, and I don't do anything I don't want to do. Yes, this extends to cleaning up after myself, bathing, etc. For 24 hours I don't allow myself to feel obligation to anyone but my own frivolous whim. In past years, this has looked as mundane as cleaning horse shit out of a pasture and then sitting in the sun while my sweet horse laid her head on my shoulder and napped. It has also looked like swimming with whale sharks and spending all day in bed, utterly naked and drenched in sex (and crumbs from all meals eaten between the sheets, delivered to me by my beloved, of course).

It's like a mini break from reality. For 8,640 seconds, once a year, I just let myself be.

It seems pretty simple, no?

Unless, of course, you are me. Then you put a ton of pressure on yourself, thinking about so many things you could choose to do with your 8,640 seconds that it is exceptionally difficult to make a choice about any one of them. It isn't paralyzing, not yet anyway, but it does add a certain amount of stress to really identify what it is I want on that particular day. And it is hard to make plans because what if I make plans with people and then I wake up and don't want to do it and then feel bad for cancelling? I can't expect people to be at my beck-and-call on that day (although I have to say that I have an EXCEPTIONAL group of people in my life, and for many years, this has actually happened. While no one turns down something amazing if they are invited on my birthday in favor of sitting around, waiting in case I may or may not call to do something, for the most part, the people I have chosen to surround myself with have been very accommodating and have sort of stayed on standby for me. And I love them for that, more than they could ever know. Makes me feel like way less of a freak. But I digress).

So. This birthday, which is right around the corner (Pi Day, so I feel a special kinship with my man Albert Einstein who shares my birthday), I am going to shake things up a bit and actually make plans. Not so many plans that there isn't space in between for awesome non-plan things to arise, but enough so I have something to look forward to. I do believe that sometimes, in the absence of a steady stream of predictable joy, one must grab a bovine by the calcium deposits on the head and go ahead and schedule that shit. This is why people buy season tickets to sports teams or schedule a summer vacation in February. Having something to look forward to is the thing that helps when the joy evaporates and you are staring down the barrel of a crappy week or fighting with your spouse or hating your job or whatever. It allows you to look ahead to something better. Manufacture a little pre-paid joy.

This looking-forward-to-things is not particularly yogic. Yoga philosophy pushes mindfulness and being in the moment no matter what the moment is. There is some serious benefit to that. First, all of the emotions you have you get to really, truly feel. Love is lovier, joy is more joyful. Grief is griefier, but feeling it and letting it wash over you is better than shoving it in the Closet of Suppressed Emotions to burst forth at a later (and seriously inconvenient) time. And being mindful also cultivates gratitude and peace. You are neither reliving the past (depressing) or worrying about the future (anxiety-causing).

But MAN. Looking forward to something is plain old fun. And I am down for some plain old fun with a side of cocktail and food. Maybe some new duds. Definitely a pedicure for my seriously basic feet. Time to plan ahead and manufacture a little bit of joy.

What do you do for your birthday? 



  1. Happy birthday! I usually do a spa day and then dinner. I'm boring! :) enjoy your gala birthday week!

  2. Thank you!

    I am thinking I may try Seoul Spa either on the day or the day after. It's a Korean spa in Baltimore with hot and cold baths, saunas, massages, etc. Totally out of my comfort zone but something new and ultimately it sounds pretty relaxing. So we'll see!!

  3. Hope you've had a Happy Birthday weekend!

  4. I have! Thank you!