Monday, September 24, 2012
Birthdays are very important to me. I know most people don't look forward to them. The truth is, I don't usually either. Not for the reason of getting older - I refuse to believe 33 is anywhere near old - but because it's become a running joke in my family that my birthday is bad luck for me. Almost as bad as New Year's Eve, which could be a whole post on it's own. Something bad always seems to happen around my birthday. It's not always the same thing, but it's always something.
Still, I trudge on year after year, getting excited about my birthday, trying to stretch it out as long as possible, clearly not learning my lesson. Last year, though, I changed my strategy. Instead of trying to plan some big get together or rely on a significant other, I got tickets to a concert with a very good friend of mine. The concert happened to be right on my birthday which made it even better - instant plans! I decided to spend the rest of my birthday weekend with my family.
The day of the concert, it poured. I don't mean showered, I mean the type of rain where you walk outside for a minute and you come back in soaked, where you're pants are wet up to your knees, where you don't even bother with the umbrella because what's the freakin' point. Armed with panchos, my friend and I headed to the concert. It still poured. And we had a blast. We were soaking, we gave up on looking cute, and we enjoyed watching people mudslide across the lawn - yes, we had lawn seats. In fact we almost partook in the mud sliding ourselves until security started hauling people out for doing so. The rest of the weekend I spent with my family. We took a day trip to New Hope and had dinner there. We visited and laughed. It was one of the best birthdays of my adult life.
This year, I once again spent my birthday with my family. We went to New York City to see a broadway show. I invited a people out for happy hour to kick off the weekend, knowing that a few would definitely show up, and then figuring the more the merrier. But I only planned it based on those few friends I'd decided to see. I didn't count on everyone else - not because they're not reliable, but because I decided not to reply on some large event to make or break my birthday. I wouldn't open myself up to that possibility disappointment.
In the end, it's about managing expectations. The less I expect from a situation and the more I just let it happen, the more I can enjoy it. It's a lesson I'm trying to learn every day - often not very successfully, but I hope that by birthday number 34, I'll have an even better handle on it.