When I was a young teenager, I thought that a busy birthday meant I had more friends who cared about me, more friends who appreciate me or even want to be there for me. Because I thought that the value of their time measured up to how much they valued me in their life.
Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?
So since then I made it a point to always plan my birthday the way I planned my everyday work.
No joke, I had a schedule, an agenda, heck- I would even go as much as picking the restaurant and making the reservations myself. I took care of everything to make sure my birthday was as hectic as possible. Again because I thought that meant more people cared about me.
Now brace yourself, some worldly wisdom is coming your way.
Clearly, I was wrong.
As you grown older not only does your social circle grow smaller and more close knit, but people also fall into responsibilities that age brings them. They have jobs, projects, events, family obligations, there is just so much to keep your friends genuinely occupied where they don’t have the time or effort to celebrate your birthday.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t care. It’s not their fault.
Now you would expect that to be common sense for some, but it took me a few years into my adulthood to learn that. It was weird and interesting when I made peace that maybe someday I might have a birthday that won’t need me to wake up at the crack of dawn to get my hair done because I was meeting all these social groups.
And so I decided to make that realization come true today.
Hi there, I am turning 26 year old today and on my birthday I chose to sit in a coffee shop by myself and write this piece for you.
I had a pretty chill day where I woke up late, had a cup of tea, watched some youtube videos for a bit, threw my hair into a messy bun, wore my favorite sweatshirt, met some friends for breakfast (which I didn’t plan by the way), had a mini spa date, might meet another friend if they are free and maybe go out with the family for dinner. Nothing planned, nothing scheduled.
And it is amazing.
I am sitting in a beautiful little coffee shop with my wet hair curling from the spa treatment, a delicious cup of cinnamon hot chocolate resides on my right and the weather outside is grey and just as blissful.
And I am happy.
I am not wearing eyeliner, nor a pretty dress, my friends may or may not meet me because it is a Monday (a working day), I have no expectations, no perquisite, I am just sitting here sipping my drink and writing. To put it philosophically, letting the universe decide my day.
It’s so simple, so reflective, so mindful that I am stunned by how comfortable I feel with the presence of no one but my own company.
It made me think about all the birthdays where sitting at home made me feel like I wasn’t celebrating my birthday very efficiently. (And gosh, do I like efficiency or what.)
Wasn’t I comfortable with who I was then? Wasn’t I secure of the friendships I made for myself? Why put so much pressure on yourself to have fun on our birthday when all you want to do is Netflix and popcorn? What is so wrong with that?
Well, on June 26, I turned 26 years old and the biggest realization of the year dawned on me that I don’t need a hectic birthday. I don’t need a million messages on Facebook to make me feel special. I can make myself feel special. And the people in my life will make the effort to wish me or call me if they want to.
And if they didn’t, it wouldn’t matter or make me think any less of the relationship I have with them either.
Today I realized this is what growing up is all about isn’t it? To discover these things about yourself that you never knew? To learn that some relationships go beyond two words or a day, but no matter how cliché it sounds- it’s the thought that counts after all.
And so, I urge you dear friend to do just this.
Celebrate your birthday without expectations, without feeling hurt or disappointed if someone forgot, without relying on anyone but yourself to make you happy.
Celebrate your birthday the way YOU want to. Devoid of parties and fancy things if you prefer.
Screw everyone who looks at your uneventful birthday with pity, because they don’t know the meaning behind the sounds of genuine laughter when a witty line from a TV show puts a smile on that face, in a way no super forced party could.
Celebrate your birthday being grateful for the people and things you currently have around you. For moments you have created and memories you have made with yourself.
Celebrate your birthday alone. Be comfortable with who you are, and faith in just letting things magically fall into place. Because no one but you should be happy for the fact that you exist.
Most importantly, celebrate yourself on your birthday. Give yourself the credit you are due, and the people who choose to celebrate it with you will fall into place.
And of course, if people want to throw ‘surprise’ parties for you then hey! Let them. ;)
Oh, but despite all this there is one thing I do that might sounds a little funny. I tell my friends what I want for my birthday. Yes, yes I know what you must be thinking- how selfish or how immature. But trust me it just makes things sooo much easier for them! (Am I right you guys?) And you manage to get what you want, despite it all. If it’s in their budget, it’s a fool proof happy maker!
But if it isn’t, you save up and buy it for yourself. That’s what I did :)
So major MAJOR shout outs to this guy for these beautiful gaming inspired shoes. Thank you Rahul :) If you want pretty, affordable customized shoes, head over to his Instagram.
And of course, if you do know me (personally or online) you know books are always on my agenda. And I shamelessly asked for Amazon gift cards to buy more. You guys are amazing, you know who you are :)
And finally, you know resorts are my aesthetic. And what can be better than a weird (and beautiful) rainy and sunny day at a very pretty resort with the people you love?
So this was my birthday. My free, liberating, no plans, no reservations, no expectations birthday.
How very lucky and blessed I feel to have people I do who care about me.
So to those who wished me, thank so much for taking the time to do so. To those who forgot, my relationship with you does not change in any magnitude.
But most importantly, happy birthday to you Niki. For having the best possible self-discovering start to another quarter of your very exciting and fulfilling life. I hope you get everything you deserve and everything you need, even if you didn’t know you needed it in the first place.
Let life surprise you and I promise, it will all be worth it.
Have you ever spent a birthday alone?
What did you do? How did you feel?
May you celebrate every birthday the way you know best,
Join the adventure!
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