I debated this month about how to turn 35 years old. It’s something that was bound to happen whether I made any decisions about it or not, but I wanted to have a deliberate birthday, not an accidental one. Not choosing is also a choice, after all.
There are as many guidebooks for this as there are 35-year-old humans, and it’s hard not to measure yourself against them sometimes. When I was a 23-year-old nanny, the mother of those four kids was 35 years old. My own mother had three kids by the time she was 35. I know so many 35-year-olds with their own rockin’ companies, with houses, with wild accomplishments.
I have my own wild accomplishments, emphasis on the wild. I’m happy with what I’ve done with these first 35 years, non-traditional as they’ve been, but as the calendar turns over day by day there are moments when I’m blindsided with little internal screams of, “Have you done enough? Have you taken every opportunity? Have you been grateful enough? Have you lived?”
With 35, I want to let more of that go, hear that voice less often. Yoga teaches us that we’ve already arrived, and that we’re getting better at being ourselves every day. There’s nothing more to do. Just love and contribute in the way only you can do.
As for the day itself, there’s no sense in letting a perfectly good birthday look like a normal day. So this is how to turn 35, as far as I’m concerned:
Put on your best underwear to go to bed the night before, so you feel like a million bucks when you wake up. 35 million.
Write a little. Get that stuff out of your head.
Start with joy. Opening your eyes and getting out of bed is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Do some yoga.
Snuggle your dog and take him outside. It’s a gift for both of you.
Work out. The birthday is the start of your personal new year, and I like mine to set the stage for the entire year. I sweated through an awesome Hollywood session at F45.
Eat blueberry pancakes. I can’t remember the last time I did that. It felt especially awesome after that workout.
Get a massage. Get your nails done. I did both. The nails are a special treat, because I normally don’t do that at all. Though I like to get massages somewhat regularly, my last one was probably about five months ago.
Buy yourself a gift. Or don’t. But one very cool thing about being all grown up, which I suppose I almost am, is that you can do what you want, and that includes buying what you want, bank account permitting. Now, I’m not a huge shopper, so when I get my eye on something and follow through with buying it, it means I’m super excited. That something was a new yoga mat: the Manduka ProLITE, which is on my list of fitness gift ideas this year, and with its guarantee it should be the last yoga mat I need to get.
Eat Mexican food! It all starts with a good margarita.
Brent took me to Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles LOVE, and it was excellent. I love doing something like that for my birthday, because it’s off my typical routine, and it’s such a display of creativity, which ignites my own.
Work a little. Sometimes you don’t have a say in this, I know. And historically I’ve preferred to not work for my birthday, as I think most people probably do. But now I mostly work for myself, and early yesterday morning there was an opportunity to write an article for a client I love, so I took it, and I enjoyed that writing process.
Cake. I didn’t have a cake yesterday, but I’m heading to the kitchen now to bake one today. Cake is essential.
Be your own hero. Brent surprised me with lots of exciting to-dos for this birthday, but I had a plan of my own, too, some of which I incorporated and some of which I didn’t need to.
Yesterday was the most peaceful, enjoyable, stress-free day I’ve had in a long time, and I tend to focus on making my days peaceful and stress-free, so that’s saying a lot. It felt good being 35. Here’s hoping it keeps feeling good for another 364 days. I think it will.