For 8 months, I’ve taken a birthday on the 30th of each month. In August, I frolicked in the spring air and took an 8 mile run. In October I read, caught up with globetrotting friends, and skinny diped.
Rain, shine, tests, or work. Pick your poison, nothing can stop me. When the 30th comes around, I do whatever I want for at least a few hours.
Christians claim Sunday, the Jewish claim Saturday, and Americans claimed the Moon. To you naysayers out there, I would like to proudly declare the 30th a sacred religious holiday. I’m taking it back. If you want me on that day, tough luck. I’ll be too deep in religious rites to hear your complaints, and by religious rites I mean laughing. Sorry!
Life is a crazy place no matter who you are. Too often, I find it flying by without a second thought. When really, the baby steps needed to appreciate and make life just a little better only take a second of thought. After starting this little birthday tradition, I’ve found myself staying more committed to what I care about – no matter what ridiculousness life throws in the way. Party and be more productive. It’s a nice combination.
So take back your birthday, unashamed, and do something you love!
Dedicate a day to indulge all 5 senses, buy yourself an ice cream, treat a friend to a nice meal, go outside, and simply be. We have 86,400 seconds in each day. Don’t you think we deserve a few thousand for “me time” each month?
How to do it
1. Your birthday is sacred, treat it that way
Take a big sharpie and put that bad boy to work! Write some variation of “It’s my birthday” on all 12 of your birthdays this year. Yes, it’s supposed to feel that good.
I’ve skipped classes, retaken tests, and pulled all shades of Ferris Beuller shenanigans to keep my birthday sacred. Treat it with the religious fervor of a fire and brimstone preacher – nothing takes priority.
2. Smile for at least an hour
It’s that simple. Do something you love for an hour. Write, read, laugh, play music, run, knit underwater, whatever.
In January I *tried* to contort myself into yoga position (try being a key word), practiced a standup routine with my sister, and biked around town simply because it was a nice day. Sure my real birthday is in April, but this is way more fun.
3. Look back
As important as frolicking is to a good birthday, that’s just the beginning. On each 30th I take a second to breathe and reflect on the good and bad of the past month asking, “What’s been awesome?”, “What sucked?”, and “What can be improved on?”.
The best athletes, entrepreneurs, and parents are famously reflective of their art. Life is the same. How can we make that work, grade, and conversation better next time?
4. Pat the wallet
This is by no means mandatory – it’s your birthday not mine – but I take a look at my money and try to identify where the hell it all goes. Honestly, this practice is a driving force behind my ability to avoid the broke bus. Mint.com will do this for you for free and quite possibly might be the greatest human innovation since brownies met ice cream.
5. Look ahead
Glance ahead to the awesomeness that will be the next 43,200 glorious minutes of the next 30 days of life. Oh yes.
6. Let everyone know about the party
When the big day comes, put your party hat on and run around the house in your birthday suit. When people ask how your day is going, answer with pride!
“Today is a glorious day. On this day 21 years and 8 months ago, I was born. Some might call today normal. Au contraire sir. They are sadly mistaken. Today is my birthday.”
Post-sililoqy birthday dancing is optional, but I recommend it. It’s your birthday. Share this gift with everyone you come across – they might even start taking back their birthdays too.
Now go forth! Make life more awesome.
You’ll notice energy throttle through reenergized veins after taking a few seconds to breathe and reflect. In the days that follow the fun of a month-birthday, an “Easy Button” will follow you to work, theme songs will cue your entry into rooms, and productivity will radiate from your post-birthday self. Or maybe that’s just me.
What can you lose?
Take a birthday. You deserve it.
Written with love,
*A big shout out to Tom Suddes. He’s quite possibly the most energized person I’ve ever met, one hell of a boxing coach, and a badass entrepreneur who turned me on to this idea in June. I owe my past 8 birthdays to you.