Ok, so my birthday was last week but that’s okay, it was so awesome I still owe it a post. My birthday is Valentine’s Day, February 14th. I was probably the best V-Day gift my parents ever had even after an extremely, extremely long labor. But, I have mixed feelings about sharing my birthday with a holiday. When I was single (5 years ago and intermittently through college) it was a blast. My friends and I never had a reason to stay at home, gorge on ice cream, and pity our single selves. We always had something to celebrate – me. Of course, this also meant that when my best friends were not single, I took second place to the men in their lives but it was never really an issue.
As part of a couple, having a birthday on Valentine’s Day is difficult and it has taken me years to figure out how to not set expectations too high. After all, V-Day and B-Day at once is really too much pressure on one man. My birthdays with my, now husband, then boyfriend, were typically hit or miss and really it was all on me as to how they went. P has never been a plan-ahead kind of guy, only on the big stuff like when he proposed (6 weeks planning went into that – impressed!). Despite knowing this about him and loving what it conversely means – he’s spontaneous and fun – I struggled not getting upset when he waited for the last minute to make dinner reservations or to make some plans. I love eating out on my birthday at a nice restaurant, trying some place new and too expensive for a normal evening out. It’s my thing. But it is hard to do because we always have the Valentine’s fixed menus to work around or work with – sometimes this is great, other times not what I want. Anyway, for years we ended up at the last place to have a reservation open and it was never the restaurant I wanted to try and I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.
This year I finally realized that enjoying my birthday was up to me. I made the reservations myself weeks in advance to two places, one I love and another I’ve been wanting to try. They didn’t have their Valentine’s menu up at that point so I waited to decide until we saw the menu and prices. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner, just make the plan – it’s one phone call or OpenTable usage, so easy. It took the pressure off of P to read my mind (c’mon ladies, why do we expect this?) and we were both happy.
I really embraced the birthday this year. It’s been a crazy year and the last couple of months have been kind of stressful for multiple reasons so I decided to just take some time for myself. I had a free hot yoga birthday class, a gift certificate for massage from Christmas, and a gift card to my favorite store. I left work early, went to the chiropractor (which I’ve needed) then went to yoga, grabbed lunch and some treats from Whole Foods (next door to yoga), then went for a massage where they have chocolate covered strawberries for snacking. Urban Nirvana was really nice – the facilities (and treats) were really wonderful and the service was great. I’m used to Massage Envy, still nice, but it’s no spa. Urban Nirvana is a spa: bath robes, nice shower products, hot tea and cucumber water… After my massage and third shower of the day I walked around Shops at Greenridge until I made it to my favorite store, The Loft. They were having a 50% off sale on select items and sale items. So I shopped. Deals, deals, deals.
I left The Loft feeling so pampered and renewed. There was a slight niggle of guilt having left the office for that long but I refused to listen to it. I’ve learned that taking time for yourself, whether on a birthday or not, is incredibly important to keep your mind and energy fresh. I had been getting frustrated at work and we had a project that was really putting us under the gun and I needed to get re-centered, mentally and physically, and refocused. My attitude and general well-being has greatly improved!
I should say that we kind of ignore Valentine’s Day. I always get P a card and a treat, this year jalapeno fudge, in other years cupcakes or Skittles. Something small but meaningful. This year he really shocked me for my birthday. I had been giving him a hard time the night before about what he would have done if I hadn’t planned our evening out for us (I was just being snarky) and the whole time he knew he had a huge surprise up his sleeve. He woke me up early on my birthday and dragged me out of bed … I was so shocked I didn’t even fight him. Not a morning person here! After crossing the whole house he covered my eyes before leading me into the living room. Upon opening them I saw this beautiful shiny red bike (as in bicycle, not to be confused with motorcycle). P has had an older cruiser that he found and we’ve been talking about how I needed one so we can ride downtown and to friends’ houses – all within a 5 mile range. And there, sitting in our living room, was this gorgeous bike. I was like a little kid on Christmas when you see one under the tree! The thing with P is once you stop having these expectations he hits a home run, knocks you off your feet, makes me giggle like a little girl. It’s like with flowers. I had a bf in college that brought me flowers all the time and they stopped really meaning anything. P brings them to me so randomly that every time they’re special. I have even kept some of the most important ones, dried, in the house. I have to also point out the bike’s colors, cardinal & straw, red and gold, that not only so nicely compliment his blue and white bike but are also my sorority colors. I’m not a big sorority girl but those colors will also represent some of the best years and best friends of my life.
Anyway – February 14, 2013 was a great, great, great day. I’m so thankful that my husband, my team at work, and my friends all let me have my day. It’s really nice to feel that special.
Any great birthday memories for you? Or is your birthday also on a holiday? How do you compete? At least mine isn’t on Christmas!