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Birthdays: Dread Or Celebration?

dread or celebration?

Blueprint Breaker: Amy Palmer

November is my birthday month. It’s also the month where I put in extra effort to practice gratitude each day.

While recently reflecting on gratitude, I started to think about birthdays in general and how their significance and meaning changes.

“We can be grateful to even have another birthday, since life is a gift.”

Dread Or Celebration?

Especially for midlife women: they seem to take on a variety of meanings, likely dependent upon how we are feeling at any given time. Some of my peers are so fearful of aging, that each birthday is simply an unpleasant reminder of the inevitable. Others are ready and willing to embrace their age and shout it from the rooftops.

So here is my question for you: Do you enjoy your birthday or do you dread it?  

We can be grateful to even have another birthday, since life is a gift. But it can feel complicated at times also. Some of the aspects of getting older do not feel like a blessing, and it is something that seemingly gets worse with each passing year.

Then there is the actual day itself: ignore it? minimize it? honor it? throw a global celebration?

Society’s Celebrations:

I have married friends who luckily have children and partners who go out of their way to make them feel celebrated on their special day. Other friends who quietly pout when their family doesn’t do much (if anything) to celebrate. I also have married friends with families who put so much heart and energy into celebrating each occasion of their spouse and kids, they don’t want any attention put on them when it is their turn.

As far as the Blueprint Breakers go, those of us without a partner or kids, our approach to birthdays varies greatly as well. Blueprint Breakers’ birthdays are often the only day of the year when they can be honored and celebrated, as most of society’s celebrations revolve around marriage and motherhood.

Some of us would rather treat it as a normal day, and prefer to not make a big deal out of it. Others celebrate an entire birthday week or even month. Most of us who want to celebrate our birthdays have to organize and lead the celebrations ourselves, as there isn’t anyone who is automatically expected to celebrate us, other than our parents if we are lucky enough to still have them. 

“There is no shame in throwing yourself a birthday party!”

Five Things I’ve Learned About Birthdays:

My own personal experience with birthdays runs the gamut, depending on my mental and emotional state each year.  

Here is what I’ve learned about birthdays:

  1. We deserve to embrace any and every opportunity to celebrate ourselves.
  2. We are empowered to celebrate that however we wish – even if that’s a quiet night at home reading a good book.
  3. If we want a celebration, it is most helpful to either specifically ask someone to do it for you, or to embrace it and organize it for yourself. There is no shame in throwing yourself a birthday party!
  4. It is healthiest to release expectations: if you have a silent expectation of what your friends and family should do to honor you, you may be disappointed as they cannot read minds. 
  5. Aging is inevitable and there are a lot of joys and blessings that come with it: learn to cherish the days and the years and be proud of how far you’ve come.

Let me know in the comments how you feel about your birthday. And if you’d like to give me some ideas on how I can celebrate mine this year, I’d love to hear from you.

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About the Author:

As host and facilitator for the Blueprint Breaker podcast, Amy A. Palmer is dedicated to expanding and amplifying the voices of women over 45 who are living a “non-traditional” lifestyle.

After a lifelong struggle with feeling “outside” the societal norm and longing to live up to perceived expectations, Amy has found peace, acceptance, and joy as she embarks on the next era of her life. Amy was formerly a senior corporate executive, a nationally recognized sales and operations expert, an award-winning actress, a resident of 13 different US cities, and a prize-winning DC blogger.

Amy has a vast network of friends and colleagues with whom she enjoys travel and adventures and a close family including six niblings (nieces & nephews), the loves of her life!

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