Day 12: birthdays.

If I even have readers at this point, you may have noticed that I skipped blogging yesterday. It was my birthday and I didn’t feel like making time. Since it was my birthday, I’m letting myself off the hook. One missed day is fine, right?

But I did spend some time thinking about birthdays in general, and how much we build up the idea of the perfect birthday. There needs to be a perfect party with the perfect mix and number of guests, a perfect playlist in the background, a perfect level of enthusiasm for all games, and a perfect spread of food. Expectations are so high.

Historically, I’ve let those expectations have a huge impact on my emotions. Will enough people come? Will we have enough fun? Will I feel sufficiently birthday’d when the sun sets? This year’s plans were slightly derailed at the last minute, and I spent a good hour in a tizzy, panicking that everything would fall through and no one would come and the few attendants wouldn’t have any fun. This is an important day! It can’t fall apart! It must be perfect!

The night wasn’t exactly what I pictured. It was just a few friends, hanging out and eating vegan food and talking and playing games. But when I went to bed, I realized that was all I needed.

Birthdays aren’t about one day. They celebrate a whole year, and looking back at my day 10 post, I have a lot to celebrate. There’s no way a single day can live up to 364 other days of awesome, and that’s okay. It’s just a day, a day to remember and celebrate and be thankful for what God gave you in the last year and for the fact that he gave you another whole year!

And really, your birthday should be about doing what makes you happy, even on a micro level. I ran fourteen (FOURTEEN!) miles on my birthday, so I celebrated with a sense of accomplishment. I cooked all sorts of treats, so I celebrated with the joy of creating food for others, one of my greatest loves. A dear friend from high school traveled to Chicago for the event, and my friends gathered in my little apartment, so I celebrated with fellowship with the ones I love the most. All of my favorite things happened on my birthday, so who cares that they didn’t happen on a massive scale?

My birthday is hardly over, either. I still get to celebrate with my work friends tomorrow (with more food, of course), my friend AJ is taking me out to supper on Tuesday, and I still have a few cards coming in the mail. A birthday is really several days of small, joyful celebrations.

I’ve learned that birthdays don’t need to be massive operations that cause stress and disappointment. They can be celebrations of love, joy, and memory that commemorate a whole year of life with a few friends. That’s what I got.

And that, dear people, is enough.

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