The older I get, the more I realize each year is a gift. We are not promised tomorrow, so when tomorrow comes it's important to celebrate. As the years go by I also long to make my birthday meaningful.
My mom instilled in me a love for birthdays from my very first one, with her joy of baking cakes and throwing parties. From pin the tail on the donkey to pointed party hats and decorated cakes, birthdays are one of my favorite things to celebrate.
So often we can focus on the celebration and forget to take stock of the substance of our lives. Here is how to make your birthday meaningful throughout the celebration.
How to Make Your Birthday Meaningful
Be the best version of yourself. Not the imitation version of someone else you wish you could be. You have great value as a human being. There is a unique value that you bring to the world around you, that no one else can, whether you realize it or not.
So many times throughout the year, we beat ourselves up for our epic fails and we rarely take the time to appreciate the things we have become or overcome. One question I like to ask myself on my birthday is "did I really live this year or did I just exist another year?" "Did I make the world a better place by giving anything back or did I just spend the year consuming the contributions of others?"
This year I overcame a season of intense suffering in my body that at times I wasn't sure I would ever recover from. When I did recover, I doubled down on my work, taking up new role as manager of church operations in addition to my other roles. My first year of blogging full time took faith and stamina that I wasn't sure I possessed at times, but by God's grace I'm still writing.
On your birthday, take inventory of what you've grown through over the last year. What differences you've made because you lived one more year on this planet. Odds are they are not monumental changes, but it's the little things we do and the little ways in which we grow year by year that produce the fruit of a meaningful life.
Take the time to recognize those things in a journal. Make it a tradition you come back to in your journal year by year and you will track the most meaningful ways you become the best version of yourself.
Go someplace. Whether it's a favorite place that brings sweet memories or a brand new place you've never been before. Go somewhere on your birthday. It could be as crazy as an exotic destination, famous place you've wanted to visit or as simple as a new restaurant you have wanted to try. Just get out and go.
It's so easy to sit home and let our birthdays pass us by once we are adults. Go somewhere that deepens you as a person or broadens your horizons in some way.
I spent my last birthday at a lake house in Branson, Missouri. I had never imagined spending a birthday there but our close friends who moved to Missouri surprised me with it while we were visiting them. I would have just stayed in my pajamas all day on their couch if they had let me but they said "come on! let's go to the lake!". I was so happy I did. We jetski'd, barbecued, played pinball, went tubing and truly enjoyed one another's company. It was one of the most meaningful birthdays I've ever had, all because I decided not to sit home but to go someplace!
Plan something that you can accomplish by your next birthday. Whether it be paying off a debt, conquering a fear, or learning a new language or skill. Use your birthday to plan something to accomplish in one year. Having your birthday as a deadline makes it a little easier to remember how long you have to reach your goal and hold yourself accountable to the plan since you tend to remember your own birthday.
Last year I had planned to start a blog. I accomplished that goal within a few months of setting it. I don't like to procrastinate. This year my goal is going to be to revamp our children's ministry at our church and start a Youtube channel for the Tweens as a positive creative outlet for them. I am tapping Luke for his expertise with Youtube to avoid being "cringy" as he likes to call me. He helped me design the logo.
Whatever your aspirations are, they remain only aspirations until you make a plan to accomplish them. Why not use your birthday to plan out one of them?
I always say that I'm going to go take a yoga class or a dance class but an hour for a workout is too much for my schedule to accommodate, so I rarely go.
On my birthday, I plan to set time aside to take that dance class that makes me feel alive.
For you, it may be organizing that closet or writing a letter to a family member or having lunch with a friend that you keep putting off for "sometime".
When it comes to serving others, I always feel like I don't do enough as a mom. My birthday is a reminder to me that my life brought life to someone else. As a way to celebrate that, I plan to do something for my son.
I will probably end up doing something completely unglamorous like cleaning out Luke's drawers and getting him organized for back to school, but that is the thing I said I would do all year that I never did for him.
No time like your birthday to do it.
4 Ways To Make Your Birthday Meaningful
In summary, here is how you can celebrate your birthday with meaning:
- Be your best self. Take inventory of the differences you have made because you lived one more year and start a birthday journal. You can look back each year to see how you have become your best self.
- Go somewhere new or nostalgic
- Plan something to accomplish by your next birthday.
- Do one thing for yourself and one thing for someone else that you had hoped to do all year but never got around to.
Here's to a meaningful year!
Welcome to Honey & Figs! I'm Lisa. I love helping people with practical ways to live more abundant lives based on my own experience. You can click here to find out more about me.
Become part of the Honey & Figs Community & get the Newsletter