Today is my birthday. It the one day out of 365 dedicated to me. I do not know how many other people share this day but we—like you—have this .003% of the year to enjoy for ourselves and we should stretch it out as long as we can.
How do you do that? By having a birthday week.
For the past nine years, since moving to Los Angeles and becoming “an adult,” I’ve made my birthday an affair much bigger than myself or a day: it becomes a week of activities both big and small. The idea originated from an aunt that I lived with upon moving to the city. She insisted on such celebrations, extending the special day to seven. It’s not necessarily a selfish holding of the spotlight but a means to curate or manifest your wants. After all, a birthday is just twenty four hours. What would happen if the hours septupled into 168? That’s why I am urging you to do a birthday week.
It’s a simple enough act: every day, do something special. Start on the Sunday night before your birthday and end on the following Sunday night. (If your birthday falls on Sunday, let that day be the kickoff or finale…or extend to two weeks!) Go out to dinner one night, go to a play or concert or event for another. Go on a date night, have a party for another. Spend the night at a hotel for one, get a massage for another. Have a friend over for cocktails at too-early-a-time one day, play hooky from work for another. Watch House Hunters for dinner, go to a strip club for another. You can literally do whatever the fuck you want. You could have a party every night or you could go on vacation for a week: it does not matter. What matters is that you are setting time for you every day of this week.
These don’t have to be big productions either: you can tell no one else about your birthday week but yourself. What matters is you know that a celebration is under way and that effectively changes your reality. It’s like removing the holiday sacredness from champagne to celebrate with the drink more often: it’s a matter of context and a matter of making everything a celebration.
Sure, you should do what you want every day of every waking hour. I can agree with that. But how many of us can literally afford that (Time wise or money wise.) and how many of us are in situations that are autonomous enough to enable every day satisfaction? Very few. Most of us—or most of the people I know—are low boiling annoyed with work or a partner or child or something and cannot quite grasp the satisfaction that they want. The result is a less-than-perfect reality where your autonomy is constantly at risk.
But during your birthday week? You are given a chance to be selfish, celebrate you, and live your fucking life independent of what anyone says. It is an act of intense self-care and self-indulgence that we self-flagelating people desperately need.
As I celebrate my actual birthday today, the halfway point of my 2017 birthday week journey, please take note that you should be doing the same thing on your special day. Because why the fuck not? We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time. Treat yo self!