This past Friday was my 23rd birthday. I recently moved to a new city where I know a grand total of five people. My good friends and family are all hundreds of miles away, at the very least, so spending time with loved ones on my special day was not a possibility. About two weeks prior to the big day, I decided that this birthday would be different from all of the others: I would spend it completely and totally alone. Even if the opportunity for human contact arose, I would avoid it. Me Time was the only thing on the docket.
I loved every minute of it.
I spend plenty of time with my friends and family when I am able to be around them. I buy into the popular notion that, in order to celebrate anything and enjoy that celebration, you must do it with other people. Being alone is out of the question. If there isn’t an Instagram filter applied and a handful of people tagged, your birthday didn’t happen.
This year I committed one of the ultimate taboos by making the conscious, calculated decision to spend the day with me, myself, and I.
When I made the decision to spend my birthday by myself, I was a little scared. The usual, “What will people think?” question came into my mind. Flashes of a black-and-white room where I sat at a table alone with a popped balloon entered my head. But I decided that, at 23, I will be unapologetically me. That meant I wouldn’t care if people from high school that I am friends with on Facebook judged me for spending my birthday alone. I wouldn’t care if a slew of people didn’t scream “Surprise!” as I walked through my apartment door. I was going to do what I wanted. And what I wanted was to be alone.
I got the typical, “Oh, I’m sorry you had to be alone,” lines from my friends, my family. I got the “I wish I could be there!” comments. But there was nothing to apologize for, no need for wishful thinking. I had made my choice. And it was the best choice I’ve made in a while.
The best part of spending a day all about me by myself is that the day was truly all about me. I got to do exactly what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, and how I wanted to do it without having to take other people into account. For me, that meant getting an incredibly expensive gel manicure and pedicure (which came with wine, of course); eating Chipotle with a side of chips and guac; dressing up just to make myself feel good; and going to see The Lion King, which happened to be in town on my big day, in a center orchestra, VIP, too-expensive ticket. I did things I dearly enjoy, that I normally don’t have the time or money to do, and didn’t have to worry about if a friend could afford it or if a family member liked Chipotle or musicals.
It may not have been the best birthday I’ve ever had (nothing, and I repeat nothing, will beat turning 21), but it is definitely on my short list of Top 5 Birthdays. It was truly all about me, as it should always be.
Birthdays are for celebrating you. You are the most important aspect of your birthday. Whether being with friends or spending time along makes you the most comfortable, don’t be afraid to do whatever makes you the happiest. Don’t worry what other people might say. Don’t worry about other people in general. Spend the day—and your life, for that matter—appreciating, spoiling, and loving you.
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