Today is my birthday (update – actually it’s not my birthday any more, but it was when I wrote this a couple of days ago), and as bizarre as this may seem I have chosen to spend it completely by myself.
Before I sound like a completely reclusive lunatic I should point out that my husband and daughter are away this week – visiting his mother during the school holidays – and so my birthday is not going to pass completely uncelebrated, we’ve just moved it to next week when they’re back.
2014 has been a bit of a bumpy year so far, and I’ve been feeling a lot like I’ve been running just to keep up (not elegantly either, mostly ungainly, while clasping my chest and gasping for breath) – so, although I had no plans, I decided to take leave from work and gift myself a day just to me.
Sure I could have arranged to meet some girlfriends for lunch or drinks – but to be honest, the idea of celebrating being yet another year older is starting to lose its appeal and I was happy to let the actual day quietly pass by.
I’ve always been a dreamer (writing endless lists of the things I want to do/experience and the places to see) and I have perennially itchy feet. I love adventure, I love not knowing what’s around the corner and I love being on the move (no forever houses or plans for me). Having turned the big 4-ohhhh last year, however, I’m more acutely aware than ever that the lifetime ahead of me (which used to seem to stretch on forever) to fulfill all of my burning desires is now in fact creeping into the horizon and edging forward with every year.
A day alone to recharge the batteries and take stock was just what the doctor ordered!
When I woke up this morning I was filled with a sense of glee; an entire day ahead with no plans, no responsibilities and I could choose to fill it exactly as I saw fit – how luxurious! Surprisingly I was full of energy and jumped out of bed at an almost criminally early hour for a day off of work.
I decided a little exercise would be a good (and well overdue) start to the day, so I dusted off my gym card and headed to the early yoga class. I tried to walk in with a casual ‘I’m here all the time and I’m not really a lazy sloth’ look on my face, but my plan fell apart when I had to look for the reception. The whole place had been completely refurbished and everything moved around – has it really been that long since I was last here!
I won’t detail the minutiae of the rest of the day – but rest assured I made full use of my time alone with some pampering (I now have green ‘Frozen’ toe nails thanks to a promise I made to my daughter – yikes!) some lunching and some shopping.
I also did a lot of thinking, and this is the bit I think that really made my day complete. Not the ‘making big decisions’ kind of thinking – but more the slow, gentle, reflective kind.
I’ve been consciously trying to live more slowly and deliberately just recently – but I’m the first to admit I fall off of the bandwagon frequently. I rush around from one thing to the next not really thinking about why I’m doing things – or taking the time to savor the good moments or enjoy the journey along the way.
As I thought about all of things going on in my life right now, as well as my commitments, I was able to categorise them; things that make me happy vs things that do not! I was actually surprised by just how many things fell into the happy list. It made me realise however that I really do need to slow down and make sure I time the time to really feel and appreciate the enjoyment they bring.
The ‘things that do not make me happy’ list was also not as bad as I had expected, but I took the time to work through them. Some things I realised I have to stop now – they don’t make me happy and there is no end purpose – but for a number I did realise that there was an end purpose. When I thought about these things again – with the end purpose in mind – suddenly they didn’t seem so bad.
I feel a clarity that I haven’t felt in a while – with a greater sense of my direction over the next couple of months. Sure there are still some big decisions that probably need to be made – but for now I feel like my ying and yang are back in place.
So you know what … I spent my birthday completely alone – and it really (honestly) was great!