Spending time alone used to be a really big problem for me. That was especially true on past birthdays, where I always found the need to surround myself with others for the majority of the day, mostly because I was so dependent on others to make myself feel better. This year’s birthday was certainly different though and showed how much I’ve grown, of which I’m truly thankful for.
Four days ago, when I actually celebrated my most recent birthday, my 47th, I woke up that day with not a single plan, other than to see my therapist for one of our weekly appointments. I had no lunch plans. No dinner plans. Nothing really, which in the past would have bothered me immensely because my ego would have attempted to convince me that no one loved or cared about me. Today, I know that’s a lie, because my self-esteem comes from within, not externally.
Although I still struggle for external approval at times, I decided it was important to spend this year’s birthday just chilling at home for the bulk of it, during which I soaked up the sun, did some gardening and cleaning up of the yard, watched plenty of cotton from the cotton trees lazily drift from the sky onto the ground all around me, and even spent a good portion of the day cleaning up the house. By the time my once a year special day ended, I had only spent approximately 2 hours of it with others, where the rest was spent making the best of my own company. And you know what? I actually found it more refreshing, peaceful, and relaxing then many of past birthdays where I was so preoccupied with activities with others. Activities that usually encompassed a lunch and dinner out with different sets of friends.
This year though, my special lunch was honestly nothing more than a good cup of Strawberry yogurt with dark chocolate granola. My dinner was a Big Mac and fries if you can believe it, something I did just to honor the little kid in me who used to love eating that growing up. And my dessert? Well it wasn’t a piece of cake with a candle in it with people singing happy birthday. Rather it was redeeming my free birthday drink from Starbucks that ended up being a Venti Decaf Quad Soy Mocha with two shots of Toffee Nut Syrup. And you know what? It was freaking fantastic!
All in all, I had a great day, which is kind of shocking to think about, seeing how I spent so very little of it doing any major activity. But lately, I’m beginning to realize, that some of the best moments in life often come when I’m by myself, in more stillness than not, as it’s in those moments I truly come to appreciate my life and my Higher Power as well.
So, while I did receive several hundred Happy Birthday messages from friends and loved ones that I’m very thankful for, I think the best birthday gift I received this year was ultimately taking the time to show myself that I didn’t need anyone else to make my special day special, as being with me and God alone made it special enough!
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson