Let’s face it. January is the longest, coldest, gloomiest month of the year. But at this juncture, we are more than half-way through, so well done, us! We have survived a few days of tundra-like weather, we have dutifully dragged our Christmas trees to the curb, and we have sheepishly abandoned our New Year’s resolutions (it was bound to happen, so do not be too hard on yourself!).
So, now what? What could we possibly have to look forward to with a pandemic still looming in the shadows and a groundhog still waiting to make his prediction based on his shadow?
For me, it has always been my birthday. That insufferable day when we turn another year older. Mine just happens to land right in the middle of this long, cold, gloomy month. I cannot stop it from coming but I can control my outlook on its arrival, so for many years, I have decided to embrace it.
As a kid I enjoyed having a birthday right after Christmas; it provided a chance to ask for a gift Santa may have missed. Plus, I woke up thinking the whole world was excited that it was my birthday, expectantly waiting for something magical to happen. There was always a celebration with friends and party hats and old-fashioned party games (think Musical Chairs and Pin-the-Tail on the Donkey), topped off with an angel food cake baked by my grandmother.
Yes, birthdays were fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed being the center of my own attention up to and including my 21st birthday. After that, full adulthood took over and birthdays had less significance. I could no longer count on being with friends and family to celebrate, and the chance of being snowbound on this auspicious day made me dial back my enthusiasm. Cards and phone calls had to suffice.
Once you become a mom, however, birthdays truly become ‘just another day.’ Don’t get me wrong; I love being a mom more than anything, but as all moms know, everyone else comes first, even on your birthday. Which is why I ultimately decided to embrace the day by taking a moment for myself to mark the occasion.
Often it is lunch with my sister or getting my hair or nails done. Something that truly makes me happy and that is only for me. I do not want to be disappointed in anticipation of what could happen, so I set my expectations to ‘low’ and plan for myself. How could I possibly disappoint Me?
This year I am going to roll out the day slowly and cautiously because I am on the brink of facing a new decade. I want to approach this one delicately, so at the risk of being kind to myself and embracing the near end of a decade, there are TWO things I am doing for myself this year.
First, I am secretly hoping for a brisk day as I have booked myself a cozy, comforting massage. Aaahh. Yes, I cannot wait. The excitement is almost too much for me to contain myself as I anticipate the warm cocoon of a room where I will be reduced to mush as each and every bit of angst and stress carried with me into this new year is released. I do not indulge in a massage often, so I do feel this is a true treat just for me as I face – and bravely embrace – the day.
Second, I have my first assignment at my new writing gig, here at Main Line Neighbors, and it somehow seems appropriate that it fell on (you guessed it) my birthday. Since I have become an empty nester, I have discovered my passion for writing, for telling stories through the written word, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to share my thoughts here, right in my own neighborhood.
My point is, take the day, your day, no matter what month or season, and make some time for yourself doing something that makes you smile or feel good. Acknowledge that self-care is important and YOU are important to you. It really is that easy.
So, embrace the coming year. Start looking forward to your birthday and plan for the something extra you will do for yourself. Trust me. It will make your own mother happy, too.
Beating the Birthday Blues,
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