As I approach another birthday it has prompted me to wonder about the whys and wherefores as to why we regard these times in our lives as so special. Anniversaries too are considered to be important times to celebrate. Great news for card manufacturers and florists, but how can we really value and use these events as positive markers in our lives ?
Everyone enjoys being made a fuss of. It is a lovely feeling to see the cards arriving and have people wishing us well. But what about the bigger picture ? Let us look at ways of really valuing these special occasions and making the most of them.
Birthdays are a special time to celebrate being who we are. Even a single person, living on their own, can use the day to organise favourite meals or activities. Put chores onto one side and do a birthday swop of the children with a friend – you look after them on my birthday, I look after them on yours. Then spend the free time reading a favourite book, having a long leisurely bath, putting clean sheets on the bed, buying a pretty bunch of flowers. As the advert says. ‘you are worth it’ and reminding ourselves of that fact can be a real boost to confidence and self esteem.
Other special days, like Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Valentines Day, are times when we care to think about others. Many people try to take the commercial hype out of these occasions and do something that has a real meaning for the people involved. Often a handmade card or a souvenir of a time shared together can mean much more than an expensive shop bought card or gift. In America it has been noted that more people make the effort to journey home for Thanksgiving than for Christmas and yet Thanksgiving is far less commercial an occasion, but is regarded as more significant in terms of family and connecting with loved ones.
I always enjoy New Years Eve as a time of reflection and anticipation. Time to reflect on the past years’ achievements and accomplishments and see what I have actually done during the previous twelve months, the changes from where I was twelve months ago to where I am now. It is always an interesting exercise and often quite revealing. And then, time to wonder and reflect on where I will be twelve months from now. I had a very dear friend who always used to sit down with his wife at New Year and plan their forthcoming adventures for the year ahead. All their desired trips and goals would be put in their diary and then that would be the framework around which they planned what else they would do that year. They achieved a lot by actually putting their plans down on paper. That is a golden rule – write down any desired goals in a place where you will see them frequently.
In life, the truth is any marker is good to use as a motivator for change and achievement, from a birthday, a year end, even a new decade can be a good time for a Spring Clean, a time to commit to out with the old and in with the new. Even using ‘this coming Monday morning’ as a time to start the new diet, or to resume going to the gym or to stop smoking (again) can be good. In fact, why wait until then, why not say ‘I am beginning right now’ ?
Other events can also spark off positive new beginnings. A job, lifestyle, or relationship change, either voluntary or involuntary, can precipitate a turnaround in the direction of our life. If something is inevitable then we may as well utilise it and use it as an opportunity to do something different and better.
So, here is another birthday. Time to reflect on where I am now, what I have achieved this last twelve months and where I want to be in a years’ time. I wish you positive times on your special day too, dear reader.
Susan Leigh, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist