10 Reasons not to work on a birthday

Jumping for joy in sunset

Photo credit: Droid Gingerbread via Foter.com / CC BY

October 6 marked the second anniversary of this blog. Yippee.

It also marked the who knows how many anniversary of me not working on my birthday.

As a freelancer, I used to make sure I had no interviews or articles to write on my special day.

When I taught, I would always make sure that my classes had a paper to revise or research that day. Or perhaps I’d assign an online scavenger hunt. But I didn’t go to class and teach.

Now, with a regular office job, I took the day off. Unpaid even as I’m out of vacation days. Even still — it’s worth it.

Why? Here are my 10 ten reasons:

  1. Sleeping in. Even now that I have a kid to get on the bus in the morning, I can still go back to bed afterwards and snooze a little longer.
  2. Getting to read in bed before starting the day in earnest. Always a treat.
  3. No time limit on birthday lunch. It can take as long as I want and be wherever I want. I would love for it to be at Pompeii, my favorite Italian sandwich shop in Chicago, but living in North Carolina makes that more difficult these days.
  4. Flexibility on movie matinee. By going to a movie in the middle of a weekday on my birthday, I can see whatever movie I want without worrying whether or not the person accompanying me will also enjoy it.
  5. Time for a leisurely chai. With a book, outside on a sunny Fall day is even better.
  6. Ability to shop without a child in tow (and parent who enjoys retail therapy gets me there). Plus, there’s the added benefit that buying things on your birthday is really just getting yourself presents and therefore totally legit.
  7. Exercise without a deadline. Since I don’t have to go to the office, I can go on a hike or go for a run or go to a Zumba class (if I am so motivated) without the pressure of getting home and showered and back out again in time for work.
  8. Dinner reservations made easier. Simply book a table at a favorite restaurant without worrying about finishing up a task at work before the appointed time.
  9. Luxury to decide not to do any of the above things and simply hang out on the sofa all day watching HGTV.
  10. Me time. Everyone needs a mental health day every once in a while. I make my birthday a day to do whatever I want to do, without guilt. The only mandate is that I relax and enjoy myself. To me, even as I move into my mid-40s, that is what birthdays are all about.

Well, that and cake…always cake.

melted birthday candles

Photo credit: kevin dooley via Foter.com / CC BY


Birthdays — You Only Get One

Birthdays Matter

Photo credit: kevin dooley via Foter.com / CC BY

“I don’t celebrate birthdays. So that stops me from counting days, so that stops me from counting time which allows me to still look the same as I did 10 years ago.” — Prince

Prince made this comment to a Dutch TV host in 1999. It’s worth watching the clip to enjoy the sass with which he says it:

Nevertheless, I don’t agree with this age-defying solution. Despite Prince’s great ability to keep his youthfulness, I am not one to accept ignorance is bliss.

Those who know me well know that my unwillingness to “stop counting” extends beyond birthdays. I am not someone who will ignore a problem. I’d much rather worry it to death, trying to anticipate every possible angle and be prepared for any worst-case scenario.

Acknowledging this, I do think that perhaps Prince was on to something bigger. It’s not whether or not we pay heed to birthdays, but rather whether or not we’re willing to live each day without worrying about what happens next or what came before. That’s what I think he was getting at anyway. That point of view does make sense to me.

Of course, just because something makes sense doesn’t mean it is any easier to put it into practice. If I could just stop worrying because I said to myself “stop worrying” everyone around me would likely be happier too.

Still, I can take this little moment of Prince nostalgia, and the ruminations (a.k.a. ramblings) of this particular blog as a reminder to take it a little easier on me. After all, ironically, it is on my birthday when I am best able to let things go…(well, except for people forgetting my birthday — I notice that!). So, the one day of the year when I am closest to the state of being Prince embraced is the same day of the year he shrugged off. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

In the meantime, yes, I am still going to count down to my birthday — it is now less than 4 months away!

Prince Rogers Nelson, died in 2016, at the age of 57. I’ll wrap this up with one of my favorites from him: