Making Birthdays Meaningful

Happy birthday to meeeeeeee!
It was my 32nd birthday yesterday, November 26. Somehow, I still feel like a kid every time my natal day kicks in. It’s the same feeling I have when I put up Christmas decorations: There’s some sort of wonder that envelops me when my birthday dawns. My husband asked me “Were you ever depressed on any of your birthdays?” and I replied “Not once!”

(Well, last year’s birthday was rather different, as Vito was only 3 weeks old, and I was more often sleep-deprived than not! Still, being a new mom didn’t diminish the fact that it was my special day.)

I see birthdays as super special. In fact, I like to maintain meaningful traditions, just to commemorate the special day. This may be trifling for some, but I like to think of myself as a birthday connoisseur. So, please, dear reader, do indulge me when I share how we celebrate birthdays in our family.

1. Always have a gift to open. OK, I am a stickler for this one. For me, a birthday is not complete without at least one gift to open. I like to believe that opening a gift kind of symbolizes how special a gift you were when you first came into the world. We are all gifts to our parents, our families, and birthdays are when we celebrate our being gifts. Call me silly, but that’s how I see it: We are all “fearfully and wonderfully made” it says in the Bible in Psalm 139, and I am all for celebrating that! (In Filipino, ang ibig sabihin nito ay “Kilabot tayo sa ganda,” o diba?) Moreover, I like wrapping gifts, because there’s nothing quite like giving a beautifully-wrapped present to a deserving recipient. My hubby knows this, so even though I know what he did get me for my birthday this year, he had it wrapped just so I could have the pleasure of reading the card (best part of the wrapping!) and tearing off the wrappings! (He got me some new Aerosoles wedges, the high types, which I love to walk in.)

2. Always share a meal with the ones you love. A lot of people already do this. This year, I celebrated birthday meals in three different places: Italianni’s in Greenbelt 2 with my mom and dad, my brothers and their spouses; Buenissimo in Eastwood with my in-laws; and Cuilliere in Serendra with my hubby (I love classic French food). I picked all those places, and there’s something pleasant about seeing your family together to celebrate the only day in the year that’s all about you.

3. Always look back at the year past and count your blessings. I did this on the eve of my birthday this year: I listed down all the things in 2009-2010, my 31st year, for which I was grateful. Incidentally, this year, November 25th (the eve of my birthday) was Thanksgiving, so it was just apt that I made my blessings list then. I counted over 400, which means that there was more than one thing to be thankful for every day of the year. Despite the not-so-beautiful things that happened last year–just a handful really–I saw that there really were more things to be thankful for. Personally, I think people could do with more of these lists! Gratitude keeps us young :)

So there. That’s how I celebrate my birthday each year. How about you? I’d love to know what makes your birthday special.

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