There are birthday milestones, like the ages of 16, 18, and 21. The 20s are generally an exciting time for birthdays, but as the number clicks closer to 30, it seems to get far less exciting to celebrate the passing of another year. As a kid, it used to be a big deal when my birthday fell on a weekend, but after having kids of my own, celebrating my birthday became far less important.
These days, I’m just happy when my birthday lands on a day with no extra activities planned. I don’t claim to be an expert on birthdays, but I’ve learned that it’s not much fun spending one with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, or having to attend some mandatory school function.
Mostly, I prefer to spend the day doing whatever I want, most likely at home, but that began to feel a bit selfish, and downright bah-humbuggy.
Then I remembered reading about a woman who decided to celebrate her own birthday by performing random acts of kindness, one for each year of her age. So this year, instead of dreading that this year brings me one year closer to membership in the Red Hat Society and the AARP, I decided to focus instead on completing random acts of kindness for others. It was a bit of a challenge to come up with enough acts of kindness to correspond to my actual age, but with my kids help, it became easier as time went on.
The first official act, completed with help from my kids, was to distribute water bottles at a local parade. And just like that, we had 24 acts completed — Happy birthday to me! Moving on, I decided to bake brownies for my daughter’s softball team. The team enjoyed the treat…and I silently celebrated another birthday. Then, my kids and I delivered small gifts to their Sunday school teachers at church, since this important job is often underappreciated. The surprised smiles on their faces were an awesome gift. Later, a day of working in the yard left me with an extra tray of perennial transplants, which I shared with some friends. They were pleased to get them, and knowing that they’ll appreciate those blooms, year-after-year makes me happy, too.
Somewhere along the way, I lost track of the numbers — of both the acts and the years. And in the process, I had some pretty great birthdays this year.