as a kid, i loved my birthday. the gifts, the parties, the cake, the ice cream...i remember not being able to sleep the night before, wondering what amazing-ness was held in store for the following morning.
somewhere along the way, i changed. my birthday started causing internal anxiety as soon as the month of july began. i didn't like being the center of attention, didn't want parties, a big cake, or loud mariachi bands singing with the restaurant crowd as i peeked sheepishly out from underneath the enormous birthday sombrero, my cheeks turning a brighter shade of red with each bold note.
i knew feeling this way kind of ruined the celebrating for those around me, and i get it--i really do, because i love celebrating birthdays of the people i'm close with. so, i've been making a concerted effort to find the balance and have ended up with this: low-key, spending time with people i love, doing something out of the ordinary of the "everyday," and not searching for the closest box to climb into anytime someone bursts into the happy birthday song.
last year, i did something different, reading about another's idea of the birthday kindness project and knowing immediately it was something i would love to do. we came up with a list, splitting our random acts of kindness over 2 days, completing over 50 of them during the weekend. i thought that what i would love most about doing this would be spending my birthday with the focus off of me, and shift it on to someone else.
instead, i realized that my perspective could change yet again. i read each of the face book comments, blog comments, texts, listened to the voicemails...and as i neared the end of the two days of the birthday project, each new message made me cry. my family and friends all working together to do kind things for others--regardless of what day it was--
at the end of the first day of my 32nd year, i was overwhelmed with the feeling of just how beautiful life really is.
that was an amazing way to celebrate living.
tomorrow is my 33rd birthday, and we're out of town so i didn't repeat the same project as last year, but i'm still going to do random acts of kindness for others. it's the best way for me to lose myself--the insecurity and discomfort--altering my thoughts, shifting my focus instead to appreciate the beauty of the details of the day,
so i can more fully celebrate this life i have been given.