For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably know Friday is my birthday and that I was less than thrilled until a few days ago. You see, I go into credit card debt to create some grand, spectacular event accompanied by the perfect present for my loved ones. And I’ll be honest – I’m damn good at it…which screws everyone else. It’s like the episode of Parks and Rec where Leslie has created entire calendars of “special” days with incredibly thoughtful plans and gifts for Ann and Ben, who have no hopes of keeping up.
I came across a great quote – you expect more of others because you would do the same for them. I imagine its hard to feel the need to compete with private dinners at the Ritz, VIP pre-show parties and once a year events. It’s not about the money, but about knowing what makes people feel important. It’s taking the time to make it happen. (With my job, I have the advantage of planning events and my love of talking to anyone and everyone usually lands me some pretty good tips, but any one can be creative and thoughtful.)
I compete with the holidays. They take the good dates, places and people. Everyone’s in a time crunch, let’s just combine it with our Christmas visit. Did I mention I share it with a family member? Yep, just picture that half and half cake since we had different favorites. My birthday is usually just a blip on the radar that is December. I’m sure there’s some need of therapy for overcompensating for my trail of food poisoning, lost jobs, winter illnesses and/or family vacations wiping out entire elementary classes, divorced parents fighting mid-party and multiple massive snow storms.
After venting to a friend on the phone for an hour, she suggested I plan my own birthday the way I would for anyone else. Ouch. It stung a little bit. I wasn’t sure if I was more hurt, disappointed, embarrassed or ashamed. In the name of self-love and all that good stuff, I decided to go for it.
What was I going to do? Not just one thing, that would be crazy. I was going to do 34 things in celebration of my 34th birthday. As usual, it was go big or go home, and I never go home. I took the bull by the horns and actually planned to splurge on 34 fun and ridiculous things in the week between this brilliant idea and my actual birthday.
Yeah, easier said then done (in best Office Space voice). I couldn’t come up with 34 things. A small detail would cause an entire plan to crash and I’d give up swearing in frustration. Every other day I’d change my mind on what I wanted. Christmas was getting in the way (seriously, the 19th – 26th was like a nonexistent week). This was my worst plan ever, and I’ve definitely had some bad ones.
Then I realized none (or most) of that was not self-love. It was ego, plain and simple. I have so much while others have so little and I was letting this ruin my entire month? So I’m still doing 34 for 34, but it looks a little different. Instead of burning out crazy from a “fun” week, I’m taking the entire year. I’m combining pampering stuff for me and for others.
And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my 34 years.