Happy Birthday to Me: Are You Celebrating Your Birthday (Week) in Green Hedonist Style?

| February 1, 2014 | 2 Comments

Let me start by explaining that, here in our house, the concept of isolating a single 24-hour period to celebrate the day of our emergence on this planet is laughable.  Twenty fours hours to celebrate 52 years of this wild, inexplicable, crazy, maddening, magnificent aliveness?  Yeah, see, I don’t think so.  So some time ago we expanded that to a birthday WEEK, and are strongly considering a birthday MONTH in the future.

(My dear friend at Live On Vacation Every Day has suggested we also celebrate our quarter-birthdays, which would of course include half-birthdays and three-quarter birthdays.  I’m down with that too.)

When you are pondering your own birthday, do you spend some time thinking about what will really make it stick? So a week, a month, or a year from now you’ll still remember:  Oh yeah.  That cool thing at the zoo, that hat, that dessert that made me close my eyes.  What matters to you?  What will make you feel the most like you?  If, for example, you are someone who loves getting your hands in the dirt, does going out to a foo-foo restaurant really suit you, or are you doing it because that’s what you’ve been inculcated to think foo-foo equals celebration?  If you love to travel, why are you spending it at home, candle-lit or not?  If you hate fussing with clothes and nylons, why plan a birthday where you have to do that?

This year, I wanted a birthday week that felt like me, not like someone on TV.  I wanted to do something to care for my body, which works so hard.  I wanted to be with people I cared about, and not with people I didn’t.  It’s been a year of doubting myself, so for this little while, I  wanted to feel special – in my OWN eyes.  So to give you some inspiration, here are some of the things I pondered and then built into it:

One of Tallgrass Spa’s winter mascots

Support people where I live, while acquiring something soulful.   I parked in my town’s tiny historic business district and strolled. I bought myself a pair of handmade earrings from The Green Merchant, purveyor of amazing sustainable goods from around the world.  Down the block, I sat and enjoyed a cup of great coffee at the cafe in town with the cushy couches and chairs, putting my feet up and looking out at the falling snow.  (And lest you think I’m a big ol’ slacker, then I went back to work.)

Care for my body and hang out with friends at a spa afternoon.  This is not just any spa, but a thoughtful, community-oriented Aveda spa.  I love Aveda stuff because it’s so firmly rooted in environmental protection  (I would use the word Conscious but I don’t think that’s permitted in my state, except in Boulder).   Think sustainable ingredients, no parabens, 100% wind-powered manufacturing, rainforest-supporting, social justice, ad infinitum.  So in addition to the massage and pedicure, it was an afternoon of sitting by the (real) fireplace, eating an organic lunch with people I love, talking with people who take care of others for a living, and other feelgood stuff.  Not something I can afford to do often, but well worth saving up for (thanks, Stacy!)

Enjoy a good meal that I didn’t have to make:  Dinner at a foo-foo restaurant.  Gotcha!  Actually, it wasn’t foo-foo, just local and very good, with a view of the ice skaters on the lake gliding around and around.  We did have a chance to go to a truly foo-foo one, but the Yelp reviews praised the service as “efficient, impeccable, and formal.”  Um, no.  I want the college girl with the bright smile who brings a lit birthday candle in my berry cobbler.  Local greens, veggies and meats, warm atmosphere, friendly through and through.  That’s my style.

The gift of quiet:  Sitting at home for a little while every afternoon with the perfect cup of coffee:  Gorgeous dark fair trade beans, just ground, spiked with real (organic) cream, steam gently rising, looking out at the snowy trees from a warm armchair where I’m wrapped in a blanket, dozy and peaceful.

The gift of time:  An early hour of writing in my journal, as the dog snores softly next to me.  Truly luxurious, the luxury of time, stolen from the Productivity Machine to try to coax my muse to visit.

The gift of friendship:  Dinner another night with friends, laughing and sipping local microbrews in their warm kitchen as the homemade soup bubbled on the stove. A bonus was discovering that the potted plant on the dining room table was actually a birthday cake.  (You had to be there….delight!)

Explore new possessions that actually make my life better:  Playing with my new birthday presents, tailor-made for a green hedonist:  A gorgeous electric kettle, so I can always have hot tea in just a couple of minutes (no more microwave, no more heating up the stovetop for ten minutes!).  And a Vitamix.  I can’t even talk about that yet without getting a little misty — remember me writing about it last month?  I had my first green smoothie in it today:  Kale, apple, celery, cucumber, ginger, lemon, lime, avocado.  Drinking it was like a jolt of electrical current went through me (in a good way).  I’m dreaming of making my own almond milk, peanut butter, hummus, mayonnaise…

Getting out into the fresh air for just a little while, to feel alive.  I know that my athletically-inclined friends wouldn’t consider this noteworthy, but the experience of taking even an hour to strap on snowshoes and go swishing through a forest full of fresh powder snow?  Heavenly.

Reconnecting with people I care about.   And of course, spending time talking with well-wishers who I hear from this time of year and perhaps no other time, but that’s okay.  I love to hear from people who think enough of me to remember my day-of-birth and send me a smile, an email, a Facebook hello.  It reminds me that I’m part of a community, balanced here on one of the strands of our interconnected lives.  And that makes it all worthwhile.

*  *  *  *  *

Wrinkles, menopause, insomnia?  Writer’s block, middle-aged brain fog?  The persistent softness around my middle that no amount of power hiking puts a dent in?  They didn’t go away this week, but for a week they were just, as a beautifully theatrical male friend says, “All just part of the show, not the show itself.”

What are you planning for your birthday?  Or quarter-birthday?   I happen to know that every one of you will be celebrating one of these within 365 days.  Start planning a personal celebration that feels just like you — you all deserve this, and much much more.




Category: Celebrations, Entertainment, Fun, Leisure, Mental Health, Sustainable

Comments (2)

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  1. Kelli says:

    Sounds like you had a fantastic week! Thank you for sharing all your fun.

  2. Stacy says:

    Happy BirthWEEK buddy! I’m SO glad you were born!!!!

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