I have never spent the day alone on my birthday. Ever.
It’s my birthday today! Wow! I can’t believe it. I am turning the page and starting a brand new chapter. I am ready to take on the challenges of this new year and I’m excited to see what it is I’ll be able to accomplish this time around. I have so many new goals. So many new fears. So many new adventures I have in mind to go on.
A few years back I started a new tradition and I did it because I was trying to protect myself from disappointment and abandonment. I have always felt like no one really cares about me and if I want something nice, I typically have to get it myself. No one has ever thrown me a party, and even for my wedding, the person I chose as my maid of honor hesitated in accepting the role because she didn’t have time to take on the duties of a maid of honor. So I had her just take the title and not do anything for me. I just wanted to feel special on my day and have the things I was supposed to have.
Ok, back to the point. I wanted to do something to make sure I felt special every year at least once. I don’t typically feel special on any given day of the week, I’m always focusing my energy on other people and their growth. As a teaching performance artist, this comes with the territory. So, I decided that on my birthday, I would do only the things that I wanted to do, and I would never EVER focus that day on who was there with me. As long as I was there, that was all that I needed. Every year I choose who will spend the day with me or who I will associate with and I choose the activities for the day or the weekend.
I’ve spent my birthdays with one other person, usually my current boyfriend, or at the time, my husband…
Or I’ve spent my birthdays with a very small group of people. I always plan either a day at the beach or a day at a park, water park, theme park, something along those lines. I feel the need to be close to the water on my birthday for some odd reason. There was one year where I spent my birthday working but that was because I wanted to.
This year, I decided I would not work on my birthday and since it fell on a Tuesday, I decided not to plan anything with anyone else. I would plan a day alone. This was a first. I have never spent the majority of my birthday completely on my own. But I was excited to see what I could make of this.
One thing I really want to stress is the importance of learning how to love being alone. It is something that has scared me for so long but the older I get, the more I understand how important it is to be able to enjoy the time you spend alone. How therapeutic this is.
I summed up my day in more detail on another blog here, I encourage you to go check it out.
I took an Uber with my boyfriend downtown because I planned on visiting a museum. He had to work. We said our goodbyes and I walked over to the food court across the street from his job for lunch. After that, I took the bus over to the museum and spent the rest of the day there. Because of the type of location I visited, I wound up spending my day in silence. Apart from checking in and then checking my bag, I did not speak to anyone. I just walked around and took pictures, videos, and participated in pretty much all of the interactive exhibits.
I took this time to really be present. I took in every smell, every sight, every feeling and thought that each piece of art invoked in me. I have a hard time being present. I am always thinking about what needs to be done after I finish with whatever I’m doing.
I didn’t expect to feel so great about this but I really did. It was so refreshing to spend the day doing something I wanted to do and actually enjoy it alone.
It’s never about who is present in your life when you experience things, it’s about how present you are while you’re experiencing things.
In the end, a friend of mine texted me and told me he was going to pick me up after I was done to take me out for a drink. We ended up meeting up with a couple more friends and finally, my boyfriend joined us after he got off work. It was the perfect ending to my special day.
There were no expectations, everyone who was invited to the outing showed up (me) and I was able to spend time practicing the art of being present to enjoy life, one day at a time.
Have you ever spent your birthday alone? What did you do? Would you do it again?
If you want to check out what it was like at the museum, check a more in-depth blog post here.
I’d love to know some of your experiences, so sound off below!