Saturday is my birthday. Other than being excited to see friends for the Frida Tweetup – whoop-de-doo. Make no mistake about it, I do love my birthday. Born on February 5th, I’ve said since about 1985 – “Feb 5 is a great day to come alive.” It’s situated far enough past Christmas that budgets have recovered, and just before people have shot their wad on Valentines’ Day. I do love presents….but this year, it really seems unimportant.
Last year I celebrated my 30th birthday, and it felt pretty monumental. But for the first time ever…this birthday just feels like another year in the history books. At this point, I’m really just happy to still be around. 30 was a year of physical health struggles, mental health struggles, financial struggles, and the beginning of the biggest identity crisis I’ve ever faced. I’ve made it through with the support of family and friends – both online and in person.
Earlier this week, I had a discussion with a friend over Facebook about birthday gifts. She wanted to know if she should get me an iTunes gift card or something off my Amazon Wishlist. She’s been unemployed for several months, and it meant so much that she was planning to spend her meager funds on me. I hate to think of her spending money on that I know she doesn’t have. I told her that I didn’t need a gift…and she seemed sad that I rejected her opportunity to give. Since then, I’ve been pondering this idea. And late in the night, I had a thought – this year I’d rather have non-tangible gifts.
It means the world to me when a random stranger smiles at me. Or someone offers to watch my daughter so I can have some non-mommy time. I read and reread the heartfelt emails I receive which say why I’m loved and important to them. Blog comments and Twitter replies feel like a gift…it helps me know that my thoughts and words make a difference. I love getting invitations to come over to have dinner with a friend’s family, thus taking away the stress of deciding what to make for dinner after work. I love getting unexpected mentions online, such as links to my blog posts or professional recommendations on LinkedIn. I love when people show up at my house randomly to give me a hug (and don’t judge me for my messy house.) Or just slap a sombrero on my head, sing Happy Birthday in Spanish, and present me with a dish of fried ice cream.
So unless you were planning on giving me a stash of Coke Zero, don’t waste your money on a birthday gift for me. I’m curious what people will do/say, so I will report back next week to let you know how my non-tangible birthday gift experiment went.