They say it’s your birthdaaaaay….

From my 20th birthday, 2007
My 20th birthday, 2007

I suppose the title of this blog post is pretty self-explanatory. 28 years ago on this day, March 12th, I burst into this world in ribbons of sunshine and rainbows and starbursts.

Actually, it was probably more like a hot mess wailing and crying and hoping to god no one dropped me because you know, being born is stressful business. But I digress.

Of all the days of the year nature chose this one, March 12, 1987, for the journey that is Hanna to officially begin. I like to imagine that “Heat of the Moment” by Asia or “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake was playing on the radio as Madonna wannabes in high school bathrooms everywhere teased their hair and shook their bangles and scrunched their leg warmers. Those hard opening chords of “Heat of the Moment” are always playing in the background when I imagine anything in the 1980s, actually. Why I’ve picked that song out of the absurd amount of 80s music I like is anyone’s guess.

In a weird narcissistic way, it’s kind of hard to believe that the whole world doesn’t start when you do and grow as you grow. I mean, going from not being in the world to being in it is kind of a big deal. It’s hard to believe everyone wasn’t scurrying about getting life all ready for your arrival.

But no matter. It was official: I had a day. It was time to start living.

Anyway. Birthdays. So, somewhere along the way, pin the tail on the donkey and ice cream and goodie bags turned to Saturday afternoons at the Playstation or SuperSkate, then to sleepovers and pool parties, then to the bars, before eventually tapering off into smaller and smaller quiet dinners out and evenings with friends and family. At some point in the past 28 years I went from feeling like a queen for a day to feeling like a normal person who just happens to be getting a little more attention than usual.

But I’ve always loved my birthday. I don’t have lavish celebrations or throw myself an entire “birthday week” each year, but I have to admit I do really enjoy the fact that this is the one day of the year where everyone is really nice to me, and I like seeing the flood of greetings from well-wishers on Facebook and getting 10% discounts on hair cuts and ice cream. And CAKE. All the cake. Really I don’t understand how people can not like birthday cake. Weirdos. Just saying or typing the word “birthday” makes me crave it.

Anyway – it just makes me happy. It reminds me that I am a special person, that I have a wonderful life and I’m blessed to have it, that I matter.

My birthday present to myself this year was to take my birthday and Friday off work and have a fun, relaxing 4-day STAYcation! (Okay, let’s be real – that’s definitely not going to be my only present to myself and we both know it.) I’ve never done this before and it occurred to me as I write this that this will be the first time I’ve ever spent most of my birthday alone. Every year I’ve either been at work, or at school, or somehow surrounded by people all day even if it’s Saturday or Sunday. But today, until we got out to dinner in the evening, I’m flyin’ solo.

Of course the planner in me feels pressured to structure my time perfectly, to maximize every moment of my special day by filling it with all the coolness I can handle. Because I only get one birthday, and once it’s over that’s it, back to normal, right?

But I don’t know everything I want to do today. Maybe I don’t need to know, maybe I shouldn’t know. The thing about these staycations and special days is that I get so hyped up about all the awesome things I can pack into them and I always end up underwhelmed. They are just never as fun as I imagine they’ll be, probably because of all the pressure I feel to “make the most” of them and live up to some Ferris Bueller-esque fantasy instead of just going with how I feel that day.

Last month’s staycation day ended up being unexpectedly awesome. Because other than an early dentist appointment and going to buy new running shoes, I really had no plans or expectations for the day. I ended up writing my way all over the city on bus rides and in restaurants and coffee shops and I just loved it. Even though I didn’t really do much, it was wonderful to spend the day catching up with myself.

Maybe I don’t need to know, even now, what today has in store. Maybe I don’t need to scrutinize what’s behind and obsess over what lies ahead; maybe it’s enough on this day to just be. To just feel content, and appreciative, and inhale some big breaths of this new Spring air and think: you know? I did alright here. It doesn’t matter than I’m not perfect, that I have flaws, that I don’t have a lot of money. I am a pretty cool cat and I’ve got it pretty darn good and it’s pretty awesome to be in this life.

Because I only get one birthday, and once it’s over that’s it, back to normal, right?

Just treasure it.


And no, you don’t need to tell me to have a piece of cake for you. Don’t worry. I will.


20 thoughts on “They say it’s your birthdaaaaay….

  1. Happy Birthday! I know you’ll have a wonderful day no matter what you decide to do because… it’s your birthday! I love waking up on my birthday and having that special feeling. Even if I’m just going to work, the day always feels different.

    I don’t plan out a special birthday week or anything, but I do use what Adam calls “the month long birthday excuse.” During the month of August (my birthday month) if Adam and I are indecisive about something I use the “well it’s my birthday so let’s do X” excuse to sway things my way. Hey, I compromise the other 11 months of the year :).

    Enjoy your cake and your two days off of work. Go with the flow and do whatever feels right because it’s Hanna Day!

    1. Thank you!! Haha that’s hilarious that you’ve created a whole birthday month!

  2. Happy BiRtHdAy!!!!
    It’s nice to have days to “catch up with yourself”! I hope you have a wonderful day. Enjoy your speedwork fueled by cake!
    I am a crazy person who doesn’t like cake, but I always have cannolis on my birthday. Actually, my husband always asks for cream puffs, and one of my daughters asks for cheesecake, and the other, usually strawberry shortcake–just my son likes birthday cake. 1 out of 5–just like the crazy dentist who doesn’t recommend Trident!
    Have a great one!

    1. Thanks Cheryl!! Sounds like your fam keeps birthdays interesting!! 🙂

  3. Happy Birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day, even if it’s in the air, and solo! I like to take my birthday off and spend some time by myself – running, napping, whatever. It’s so refreshing! 🙂

  4. Happy Birthday! I hope the weather gods are smiling on you with spring sunshine and that you enjoy every second of your day to yourself.

  5. Happy Birthday! And I’m not going to tell you have a piece of cake–have the whole dame thing if you want to! I went through a phase where I celebrated for like a week, but now? I just want to have a special time with the people that I love. I so like your approach–you are indeed special. You are indeed someone to be celebrated, and you should indeed enjoy every part of that day as you see fit. And make that every day, while you are at it! Happiest of days (but only up to this point–let them continue to get better!).

    1. Aww thanks so much lady 🙂 I’m the same way, all I need is special time with my favorite people!

  6. I love this post, Hanna! You are special and should be reminded and just be and enjoy being today. With my birthday tomorrow, I’m also trying to figure out what to do (and trying to plan for it) but know I should just go with the flow and enjoy my day. I’m also taking my bday off. 🙂


  7. Happy birthday!! I hope you had a good one! I really like this post. Thanks for sharing.

    Also, your cake from your 20th looked awesome.

  8. Happy Birthday sweet Hanna 🙂
    I laughed when I read your tunes you born to- I was living them with my huge high VO5 hair, and torn Madonna shirts lol
    Love days off work!!!! Enjoy

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