What makes a great birthday celebration in your mind?
According to good old Google, the trends for 2023 were to go all out, do it up in style and really make the party a big deal. Themes that create a special world based on your favourite escape (character, style, movie, etc.), balloons galore and glamourous selfie stations. Does that sound like you?
My hubbie had his birthday this week and I can tell you, there was not a balloon in sight. He did not take a single selfie and the only theme was him having a good time. He does like to say he’s an old-school kind of guy, but this really made me think – what should a birthday be about?
Parties are often about the guests. The host is obliged to make sure everyone has a good time. Many people forego hosting parties because they are not interested in having that responsibility. So, should this be what happens on the day that is specifically designed to celebrate you?
Maybe that is why many people host surprise parties for friends and loved ones. It’s the ultimate way to celebrate someone without them having to be responsible for the event.
But not everyone likes a surprise. Some folks prefer to make the celebration an individual one. They might like to have time to themselves to reflect, plan or even a bit of both. Growing up in the 1970s, I remember many of my parents’ friends interpreting birthdays as their own personal new year. Many of them went on retreats or quests to find their “new” selves.
For my hubbie, being a chef and a lover of food, his theme was the meal. He wanted to share it with family, but first and foremost it needed to be top quality. It didn’t have to be fancy or expensive—his favourite choice is comfort food, spaghetti and meatballs. It is usually followed by his favourite old-fashioned dessert, chocolate cake.
I used to feel bad the birthday boy was cooking his own birthday dinner, but then I realized this was his way of guaranteeing a reliably great experience. He covered his primary desire and then he could enjoy the rest of the party without any concerns.
When I sat back and thought about it, I realized that might be the most sensible approach to having a spectacular start to our own new year. Perhaps it’s also a clue to designing our lives for future years as part of our world. If we decide one day is for our ultimate enjoyment andwe focus on our priorities and our happiness first, then it’s easier to share our happy time. What a concept.
My guy inspires me all the time, and his birthday philosophy is a stellar idea in my humble opinion. He may have found the secret to the happiest birthday, far beyond what colour of balloons or flavour of cake one should have, or how many guests to invite.
Some of this wisdom may be the luxury of getting older and having more birthdays to try out ideas. Now that both he and I have more than 50 birthdays each under our belts, we can compare the successes and look back on favourite memories.
It’s easier to know you love a particular chocolate cake when you’ve tried other flavours and a few variations of chocolate.
I’m not trying to knock anyone who has loved a balloon arch or a theme cake. I just thought it might be worth considering the real way to have one’s cake and eat it too could be as simple as making it oneself.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.