The Best Birthday Present Ever

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The Best Birthday Present EverHappy Birthday to me. Today is the big day! And it’s going to be great. I made sure of it. Instead of my usual, “Whatever happens I’m fine.” I set out to make this day special.

It occurred to me that much of the time, I’m trying to be easy going and not make waves. And in doing this, I’ve adopted the philosophy that I’m fine no matter what happens. While this is an adequate rule and is certainly better than being disappointed and is a version of looking at things more positively (or at least not negatively), I could do better.

In all the talk about dream creations, I was limiting my own dreams with this rule. After all, with this rule, it is easy to see that if I don’t have dreams or am wishy washy with them, then whatever shows up will be fine. But will it be what I’m actually dreaming to have?

I remember a time in college when I wanted a ring from my boyfriend. No. Not an engagement ring. More like a promise ring. So, I went in the Service Merchandise catalog, scoured the jewelry section and chose my top three rings. I then circled them complete with my rankings 1, 2, and 3, and left it open for him to “find.” I got exactly what I wanted.

Somewhere along the way, I lost this ability. So, this year for my birthday, I’m giving myself a present. I’m taking the time to ask myself what is it that I’m truly desiring. Then I’m giving myself time and space to “hear” the answer. And here is the kicker, I’m following through.

Already it’s working.

Last week, Bethany and her family were visiting. We had been busy all week and had lots of fun. And yet, on Friday I got a headache. (I’d been doing very well and hadn’t had one in over a week.) I know that some of the headaches are because I fail to listen to myself. After pondering this overnight, it occurred to me that I’d like some quiet time just by myself. So, that is exactly what I gave myself. I let Bethany and her family have some family time without me.

I could have rationalized that they are only here another day, or I should spend time with them. But what is the use of knowing what I desire if I don’t take action to get it? So, I spent the day by myself, reading. And when they came back after lunch, I tested my feelings. Had I had enough quiet alone time yet? No. I quietly went into another room and kept on reading. By dinner time, I was feeling great, and we all went out.

Bethany may not have understood it, as my behavior was different than in the past. And perhaps I didn’t take the time to explain it, other than to say I was giving them family time and myself quiet time. But it wasn’t really about them understanding it. It was about me honoring me.

And as for my birthday, it started before Bethany and her family left on Sunday. My granddaughter wrote out a card for me. She is in kindergarten and able to read and write much beyond her years. She also put shells on a picture frame for me. (It’s super cute.) She, her brother, and parents also gave me chunky cubes with bright sayings on each side and a colorful journal. What a great way to start the celebration.

So, what was the initial incident that kicked off this new way of thinking? Bruce (my husband) doesn’t like to celebrate birthdays and was planning on being gone on mine and his (which is three days after mine). I checked in with myself and realized that this didn’t work for me any longer. I quietly reminded him (with a single finger stroking down his chest) that some people like birthdays – like me. And by the way, I was expecting a present.

His initial reaction was a huff, combined with a comment that he’s horrible with presents. Knowing that presents are hard for him, I called a friend and Shoshi, and asked them to brainstorm present ideas with Bruce.

Later that night, he was into it and told me he has a surprise planned for later today. I know this because he told me to reserve from 5 p.m. on. I’m excited to see what it is.

Small changes sure make a difference. But the biggest change is being willing to ask myself what it is I’d truly like to happen and then follow through with some type of action. Giving myself permission to do this is a wonderful present.

So, Bruce, you may not know it, but you have given me a great gift…the push to change the outdated rule that doesn’t work for me anymore. Thank you for helping me to live my best life. That is a present worth keeping.

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