My birthday is tomorrow. A friend of mine often says you should boldly ask for things on your birthday. That there’s power on your birthday — in the stars, perhaps? In the alignment of things in the universe, or something? Or perhaps that’s what I am supposed to tell myself to unleash a confidence I don’t normally allow myself to display on other days?
What’s interesting is that if/when I do buy into this birthday idea, as I have in some years past, I do find that I’m bolder in asking for things. Why should I suddenly feel entitled, though? There is nothing that should keep me from being that way the other 364 days of the year. Great actions will eventually yield great results, no matter what day on the calendar that they occur.
So should my birthday be the only day I:
-exercise and recommit to losing the weight?
-tell my husband my hopes and dreams for the two of us this year?
-query that editor or producer I’ve been reluctant to approach?
-finally write down ‘that story’ that’s been eating at me?
-pamper myself with that ‘treat’ that feels like too much of a splurge?
-give thanks for our girls and family and tell them all how much I love them?
I’ve noticed that no, I don’t necessarily get more positive results just because I ask or attempt something on my birthday. But hey — if the birthday prompts me to start something I should have started long ago, or to do more of something I should be doing more of, then fine. Let’s go for it.
More importantly, I cannot forget that the God of all creation, the One who formed me in my mother’s womb, is here for me every day, entreating me to be bold, to speak the truth, to love our kids, to reach out to a hurting heart, to write my soul onto paper or stage or screen, each day I’m on this earth. Not just on birthdays, or good days, or days that I’m ‘feelin’ it. But every single day.
That being said, there are five rituals that I think ARE worth doing on your birthday. And yes, I plan to do them as I do every year.
1. Review (or write) your mission statement. Remind yourself, or refine the words of — or write down for the first time — the 1-2 sentence description of what you feel is your main purpose in life. The thing that gets you up in the morning, the thing that Is YOUR THING. The thing you’ll regret not doing if your life ended tomorrow. Read/write/rewrite it today. Post it on your mirror or in your journal. Then start living it out (again).
2. Do something just for you, no matter the time, cost, inconvenience. Something relaxing or fun for you. A walk, sleeping in, a manicure, a movie, a new book at full price from the bookstore, a Starbucks. Sometimes you have to feel like the world can wait, for you, just this once, to do whatever you want for however long you want.
3. Give thanks. Make a list. Maybe you can’t muster much energy on this one if your life is down low in the valley right now. But try. Try to think of at least a few things. I’m sure once you start, the list will grow. (Plus, it was just Memorial Day, and that alone is a huge reason to be grateful for those who gave themselves for our freedom.)
4. Pray. Give the year ahead to God — He’s in control of it anyway. The sooner we know that, the more fully we can give ourselves to the things we DO have control over (like our daily choices that solidify our habits, good or bad).
5. Set 1-3 new goals for the year. Envision yourself working on them; see them coming about. Break them down into measurable tasks and timelines. Keep them visible on your phone or desktop or mirror. Revise them mid-year if necessary, but do not give up on them.
Feel free to do these things on other days of the year too. They can’t turn back the clock, but they can still do wonders. They rebirth us.
Oh, yeah: then go and Celebrate. Cake or no cake, you’re here today, here for a reason, to create something that wouldn’t be here if not for you. Keep loving people, lighting candles and shining forth what you cannot and should not hide. Ask, seek, knock — LIVE.
(This blog originally appeared on May 26, 2014.)