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Why I Make A Big Deal of My Birthday and Why You Should Too

August 14, 2018
Why I Make a Big Deal Out of My Birthday _ Tiny Ambitions

I normally don’t get all preachy and ‘shouldy’ here, especially when it comes to how people choose to live their lives. That’s none of my business. However, I feel pretty strongly about today’s topic, because I think everyone deserves to spend one day a year focusing on themselves (whatever that looks like for them).

If you’re an adult who still celebrates your birthday, you’ve probably heard “aren’t you a little old for that”, or “you still celebrate your birthday, how old are you”. I celebrated my 28th birthday last week and yes, celebrate is the right word.

I am a minimalist and don’t really celebrate most holidays (like Christmas or Thanksgiving), but I make a point every year to celebrate my birthday in a way that aligns with my values.

Why are birthdays so important to me? Well, for starters, it’s the only day that is truly about you. No one else can say your birthday is about them. That’s not how it works. In a world where we very seldom have the time to celebrate things properly, your birthday is the one day a year earmarked for your special kind of awesomeness.

Why I Make a Big Deal of my Birthday {Pin} _ Tiny Ambitions

In our fast-paced world where we often don’t have or aren’t able to make the time for ourselves (or we find it too uncomfortable for us to be the centre of attention), our birthday is the one time we are fully given permission to have a self-love fest.

The second reason birthdays are important to me (not just my own, I love celebrating other people’s birthdays too), is because one day, they’ll stop happening. I don’t mean to sound morbid, but getting to celebrate a birthday every year is an absolute privilege and one that is not afforded to everyone. Celebrating a birthday means you’re still alive to do so, plain and simple. And it is a wonderful honour and privilege to be able to do that.

I have family members who complain about getting older every year. I’m sure getting older is no picnic and it must be hard to see your body change as the years go by. But, getting older isn’t something that everyone gets to do. Some people pass before their time and I’m sure those people would have given anything to be able to have just one more birthday.

This is all the more reason to thoroughly savour every birthday you do have the privilege of celebrating. That’s why I do it.

This birthday started off a little bit earlier than I would have liked since I had to pick up Mr. TA from the airport at 1:00 am (talk about a great birthday present). After a very long nap (aka sleep), we hit the road to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen the awesomeness that is the Sleeping Giant (or, the “Giant”, as I call him).

The one ‘thing’ I wanted for my birthday was to go for a hike. So, that’s what we did. We knew we wouldn’t be getting picture perfect weather. It was a little colder and rainy than would have been ideal, but that meant the popular trail we picked was quieter than usual. It was a quick route, 3km in and 3km back. When we walked out of the forest and into the prize of our hike, I was lost for words. We came out at a totally deserted beach that was fogged over like a Scandinavian noir show on Netflix.

It was beautiful and haunting, and completely serene. We had the entire place to ourselves. After dipping our toes in frigid Lake Superior, we sat on a log and watched the fog roll in and out of the bay.

It was mesmerizing in its simplicity and rhythm.

It was an absolute joy to be able to take that time, to explore nature and really soak it in.

When I think about turning 28, it kind of freaks me out. Not because I’m afraid of ageing – that’s the last thing in the world I’m afraid of. It freaked me out because I still feel like that 23-year-old young woman who had just graduated grad school. I still feel like the woman who is trying to figure out her way in the world.

I tend to give myself a hard time that I’m not at the ‘right’ place in my life. Like I should be earning more money or working a prestigious job. All 28-year-olds have their lives figured out like that, right?

I think part of it has to do with the fact that society prizes youth over wisdom – especially in women. We’ve all heard the story of a talented actress who gets tossed to the wayside because a younger actress is trending. It’s also uncomfortable to think about ageing. Because we know where it ends. But, despite this, I’ve always personally found it empowering. I know how my life is going to end (it’s going to end the same as everyone else’s). It’s just the time between now and then that I have control over.

Sitting on the old driftwood on Lake Superior, I remembered what a gift it is to celebrate a birthday.

Especially with how and whom I got to spend it.

Is celebrating your birthday a necessity? No. But, if you avoid celebrating it like the plague because you don’t like being the centre of attention, or because you don’t want to think about the numerical value that will now be attached to your life, I urge you to reconsider.

How do you feel about birthdays? Do you like celebrating yours every year? Let me know in the comments!

Image Credit: Tiny Ambitions

  • […] Why are birthdays so important to me? Well, for starters, it’s the only day that is truly about you. No one else can say your birthday is about them. That’s not how it works. In a world where we very seldom have the time to celebrate things properly, your birthday is the one day a year earmarked for your special kind of awesomeness…Read More […]

  • Linda Sand August 15, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    As a child my mother always made my birthday special. As an adult my husband and daughter didn’t always remember the day. So I stopped celebrating because no one else thought I was worth celebrating. I just turned 71. That ought to be worth something in and of itself shouldn’t it?

    • Britt August 15, 2018 at 6:42 pm

      Hi Linda, I’m sorry to hear that. Even if no one else remembers your birthday, it’s worth celebrating on your own. I know that’s not as satisfying as other people celebrating you but you’re awesome, so you deserve to have an awesome day for yourself.

      Congrats on turning 71. That is more than worth celebrating!

  • Erin | Reaching for FI August 15, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Ooh I love this. I stopped really celebrating after about 23 or 24, I think for many of the same reasons you talked about—why celebrate being older and therefore supposedly having my shit together when I don’t feel that way at all? Plus I hate being the center of attention (odd for someone who used to sing and dance, but it’s fine if I’m on a stage) so I try to keep it on the DL so coworkers don’t know about it. It doesn’t help that I have a winter birthday, which is my least favorite time of year haha. 25 last year was a hard one to come to terms with, and I would’ve pretended 26 didn’t exist at all, but I was going on a trip that weekend, which was nice. Maybe I’ll try to do that for future birthdays so I have something to look forward to. Because you’re right, another birthday certainly isn’t guaranteed!

    Happy belated birthday!

    • Britt September 8, 2018 at 6:21 pm

      Hi Erin! I’m so sorry I didn’t respond sooner – you got caught in my spam for some reason! Thanks for the belated birthday wishes. It’s interesting to think about the reasons we might not want to celebrate our birthdays. Not wanting to be the center of attention is a big one for sure, and is definitely valid.

  • The Luxe Strategist August 15, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Hmm, I’ve never cared about celebrating my birthday, but my sister does, so it goes to show that everyone processes things differently.

    I guess I don’t see a reason to celebrate my birthday, because I don’t consider it to be an achievement or anything. It doesn’t have anything to do with getting older, but more like having a birthday has nothing to do with any work that I’ve done, etc. So it seems purely circumstantial. Plus, there’s the whole marketing side that I dislike too, that you need to go all out. I do take plenty of days where I get to do what I want, so to me, that seems enough?

    • Britt August 15, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      That’s an interesting perspective. I agree I don’t like the marketing for birthdays. It’s all very flashy and almost puts the onus on other people to celebrate your birthday for you.

      I do however think it’s an absolute achievement to have a birthday every year. We might not do anything to deserve it, but it’s an absolute privilege and something worth practicing gratitude over (which is how I tend to celebrate my birthdays overall).

      Thanks for sharing your perspective on this, Luxe!

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life August 14, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    I used to hate my birthday because it felt like I was always disappointed by it (my parents never remembered it) but two friends who make a BIG DEAL out of celebrating theirs were so joyful about planning happiness that they completely turned me around on this. I haven’t reached their level of joy but I do now like the low key things that we do to celebrate mine.

    • Britt August 14, 2018 at 6:41 pm

      It would be hard to be jazzed about your birthday as a child if your parents didn’t remember. That’s awful. I’m glad you have two friends in your life who are changing your mind on birthdays. They sound like the right people for your life!

  • Sarah August 14, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Happy birthday Britt!!

    I’ll be honest, I’m not huge on birthdays. Christmas is more my jam. We usually go out for a nice dinner with my parents to celebrate birthdays but that’s about it. You’re encouraging me to think differently though, maybe next year I’ll work on embracing it.

    • Britt August 14, 2018 at 6:02 pm

      Thanks, Sarah! I totally get that, I’m not much of a Christmas person (but I’m working on changing how I feel about it).

  • Deanna August 14, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Happy birthday!

    I’m one of the few people I know who still loves birthdays. I agree with you: I love the idea of everyone having one day a year where they’re celebrated and appreciated. (Though I can certainly see why people dread them, too.)

    For the most part I’ve enjoyed my own, though I’ve had a few that really daunted me–either 26 or 27 was one of them, I can’t remember which anymore, and it really was because I didn’t feel like I was that age at all and the thought that I was nearing 30 when emotionally I felt like a college kid and I certainly wasn’t where I wanted to be in life really threw me for a loop. (And the fact that I was in an area of fandom where I was one of the older people there, instead of either the average age or one of the youngest, for the first time in my life made it even stranger!)

    • Britt August 14, 2018 at 6:15 pm

      Thanks, Deanna! I’ve had the same experience the last couple of years. I don’t feel mentally the age that I’m supposed to be. Or that society says that I’m supposed to be. It’s really weird and hard to explain.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective on this, it’s good to know I’m not alone.

  • Laura August 14, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    I celebrated my 28th birthday last week, too, on the 10th August. Happy birthday to you! Surrounded by family is always the best way to celebrate!

    • Britt August 14, 2018 at 3:24 pm

      Happy belated birthday, Laura! I hope you had an awesome day 🙂

  • Daisy August 14, 2018 at 10:15 am

    Belated happy birthday, Britt! My birthday’s coming up this weekend, so this is timely. I have similar thoughts to you on aging but have not always outright celebrated it. Thanks for the perspective; it’s definitely going to change how I spend my birthday in a few days.

    • Britt August 14, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      Happy almost birthday, Daisy! Thanks for your kind words. I think birthdays are all about perspective. I hope you have an amazing birthday!

  • Tread Lightly, Retire Early August 14, 2018 at 10:10 am

    I seriously cannot like this enough. My mom just turned 60 last month and I’ve been preaching this to her over and over again. Happy birthday! I turn 31 at the end of this year 🙂

    • Britt August 14, 2018 at 12:39 pm

      It makes me so happy that this resonates with you, Angela! My mom always says she’s “turning x”, as if it’s the worst curse in the world.

      This year, I think I’ll have to show her the beauty of her age for the gift that it is.

      • Tread Lightly, Retire Early August 14, 2018 at 4:15 pm

        My newest favorite term I heard was “leveling up” instead of “turning x” – it sounds so much more badass!

        • Britt August 14, 2018 at 4:30 pm

          Oh I’m totally stealing that! Love it!

  • Scott @ Costa Rica FIRE August 14, 2018 at 10:04 am

    I don’t generally do much to celebrate my own birthday besides dinner with family, but there have been 2 exceptions to that.

    I run a lot, and have completed 20 marathons in 13 states to date. Twice I was able to run a marathon on my birthday. First, on my 40th birthday I ran the First Light Marathon in Mobile Alabama, and on my 45th birthday I ran the Mississippi Blues Marathon in Jackson Mississippi.

    I can’t think of a better way to celebrate life. My 50th birthday in a couple of years falls on a Saturday, so I’m hoping I can find another marathon that day!

    • Britt August 14, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      Celebrating with family sounds like a great way to spend a birthday. Though, running a marathon certainly would be a cool experience too! I can’t say I’ve run one marathon, let alone two!

      Thanks for reading.

    Hey! I'm Britt. I write about living a tiny, simple, intentional life. Because life doesn't need to be lived big.