My birthday is a week past, but the celebration isn’t yet over. People I love who couldn’t be with me on the actual date of my birth are still making plans to see me to do just that. What’s not to love, right? And I do love it.
To me, birthdays are the most important days of the year. To me, someone's birthday is a day on which to shout out loud how delighted we are that someone else exists, and is in our lives. Sure, sure, we should let people know how we feel about them every day. I absolutely agree with that. And, I think we can also have one special celebration day (or in my case, it seems to be a birthday month!) for each of them when we very pointedly show them how much they matter.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a post for a blog I no longer write, in which I said that I’d shattered a common practice in my life—that of providing loved ones with lists of gifts I’d like to receive for special occasions. It seemed to me that anyone who loves me ought to be infinitely able to think of a gift I would treasure, and in doing that, the gift would become even more treasured. So I told everyone I would make no more lists. Since then, including this birthday, I’ve been gifted with some of the most heartfelt and remarkable things!
But this birthday, I had an experience that’s calling me to shatter another common practice—that of telling loved ones what I want to do to celebrate my birthday. I realized, in a big way, yesterday, that what I want is for people who want to celebrate with me to plan something for me, and then take me to do it. I mean, it’s great to get to do exactly what I want, eat dinner where I want, meet for group lunches at the restaurant of my choice, based on my whim, but until yesterday, I didn’t consciously realize how much I dislike that.
What showed it to me was that E invited me up to the city for dinner. I arrived shortly after 3p, he met me at the train, and whisked me uptown to the Frick. I’d not been to the Frick, and not being a museum-loving kinda gal, I wondered why in the world he would have taken me there. But it was magical for many reasons, including the Garden Court, where we sat and talked for quite some time.
Leaving the Frick, he took me to dinner at Taj—another place I would never have ended up on my own and am oh-so-happy to have experienced. It’s a very sexy, sultry, delicious sort of place with a zen-like, hedonistic feel (if you can imagine that). We sat in a “cabana,” which is a private area with a sofa with lots of squishy pillows, and had a remarkable dinner. At dinner, he gave me a pair of exquisite earrings. I was just all aglow at being loved so very much.
There was to be more fun in store for me, but we dallied so much at Taj that there really was just enough time to get me back to Penn Station and on my train home.
All the way home I thought about my other loved ones, and our celebrations. They were all very special, and I chose how they'd be, as I'd pretty much done all my life. I chose where, and when, and what. And E’s gift of planning and taking me to such special places made me realize how much I want that level of celebration. I want someone to plan the lunch; I don’t want to have to do the planning.
And part of that is because when I have to do the planning, I tend to plan around what I already know, and what I think will make everyone else happy. I’d prefer for someone to pick an activity, or place that maybe s/he knows about, or has heard about and investigated, and thinks I would enjoy. Then the person could tell me where to go, or better yet, pick me up and take me there. What a delicious thing that would be!
I’m thinking that, at least in America, probably the models I’ve followed are common. I’ve just decided I want a different level of experience on the "celebration of me" days. And it’s a gift I want to give to those I love, too.
Now to figure out whose birthday is coming next, so I can get to planning! :)
How do you celebrate? What models do you and your family follow? I'd be interested in hearing more, so please leave a comment. :)