First, a big thank you and many hugs for all the birthday wishes! You all really made my day. :)
So I was chatting with a friend today and she was asking about my birthday. "How was it?" she asked.
"It worked," I said. "I turned 40."
I then went on to tell her, all kidding aside, it was truly a wonderful day. In all honesty, the best birthday ever. And why was that? Well, the answer is this:
I *decided* it would be a great day.
In the past...I have tended to be a tad-bit grouchy on my birthday. And this pattern goes back many, many years. My 16th birthday. Grouchy. My 21st birthday. Grouchy. Thirty. Morning sickness = grouchy. I'm not sure why I was so frequently a tad-bit grouchy on my birthday...I just was.
This year, I decided it would be different. (Instead of being grouchy *on* my birthday, I was grouchy for the first few days of May instead.) It's true. I pondered and stewed and contemplated. Forty? Forty. Finally I decided, it was going to happen one way or another, so why not enjoy it?
I spent some time figuring out what would make me happy on my birthday. I had said for years I was going to have a *big* party on my 40th...but that thought, as the day drew near, was really not so appealing. Cleaning my house and making food all while opening myself up to "over the hill" gag gifts...I sensed grouchiness on the horizon.
I've also been around long enough (and have decluttered enough homes) to know it isn't the *stuff* that makes for a happy birthday. Nope. A big birthday gift wasn't going to stave off the grouchiness.
The thing that I knew would work was an afternoon of pampering. So I called. I made the appointment. And off to the spa I went for a 90 minute massage and a manicure. (Exact duration of the manicure is unknown...but did you catch the 90 minutes on the massage? Oh my heavens, this is truly the way to go.)
It was a wonderful day. Jay and Kailea made me my favorite cake. I got to talk to friends and family on the phone. Jay made me dinner. My sweet neighbor Lisa sent me an Edible Arrangement. There were other gifts involved. I got wonderfully sweet comments on my blog. It was a truly, truly special day.
I ended the day by writing thank you notes, which will be my second new tradition. (The spa thing...that ones sticking around, too.) It was wonderful to end my day focused on gratitude and expressing my thanks with those who celebrated my big day with me.
So I share all of this not to remind you once again of my age (I think this will be the last specific mention of it for at least ten years) but instead to remind you of two pathways to happiness that I rediscovered on my birthday.
The first is to take care of *you.* Happiness, my friends, is in our own hands (well, and the hands of the message therapist in this case.) But seriously, we have to decide what it is that will make us happy, and then set into motion a plan that will make it be. This took me many years and many grouchy birthdays to figure out.
The second pathway to happiness: gratitude.
With this holiday weekend upon us, first I want to say thank you to you. Thanks for reading my ramblings and celebrating my big birthday with me. Second, I want you to do something for you this weekend. Perhaps it's some extra time scrapbooking, or a bubble bath, or a leisurely hour at the book store, or maybe even a (90 minute!) massage—just because. Simply do something for you. You deserve it AND it will feel great to get in the driver's seat of your own happiness. If you take me up on my little challenge, or if you have favorite way to pamper yourself, please share. I'd love to hear how you celebrate YOU.