My childhood was leave-it-to-beaver charmed, and never more so than on the days leading up to November 18. Every year, we’d check out the same “how to plan a birthday party” book from the library, design six to eight handmade invites for a sweet group of babes I’m mostly still friends with, and print a ’90s banner on a ’90s printer that I’m sure you remember sounding exactly like this.
With my siblings born on back-to-back days in April, my November birthday always felt like an outlier, and my parents worked hard to make sure I felt special even with Christmas just weeks away. So we threw theme parties every year, and they were epic.
There was the pirate party. The backwards party. The hippy party. The “tell-a-joke-to-a-video-camera” party, which — yes — I still have on record. As the theme got a makeover each fall, the only thing that stayed the same with each passing year was my love of cake — and my terrible haircut. #SelfBurn.
(Of course, once my parents stopped planning my birthday parties, they got a little less idyllic. That “Buffalo wing themed” 18th birthday party at Bill Bateman’s didn’t quite have the same ring. Neither did the “shot-gunning-beers themed” 21st birthday party on the streets of Madrid. The “whoops-I-just-threw-up-on-my-co-workers’-shoes-but-it’s-OK-because-SURPRISE-I’m-going-to-marry-him-in-four-years” themed 27th birthday party was funnily enough a bit more successful, but I didn’t realize it at the time. Suffice to say, my mom’s themes were better.)
So why do I bring this up? Because I just had my birthday this weekend — my 33rd, to be exact — and while my parents weren’t there to plan it, I took a page from their playbook and threw a bit of a theme day, if you will. The theme? Being in my mid-30s and loving every basic second of it.
What’d I do, you ask?
- First, I woke up, not hungover, at 7 a.m. without an alarm and made a pot of my favorite coffee.
- Then, I curled up with a book in our cozy upstate house while my husband and dog relaxed across the room.
- Then I went to my fabulous no-frills Hudson Valley gym (more on that later), where I treated myself to not one but two episodes of Flea Market Flip.
- Then, after lunch and some Christmas shopping and a hike with Lucille and a nap, Ben and I went out for a delicious dinner — and were in bed by a most glorious 10:30 p.m. cutoff.
It may not have been one of the wild-and-crazy birthday celebrations of yesteryear, but it was exactly how I wanted to spend this November 18.
(The only thing that could have made it better was if, like on my fifth birthday, I’d looked outside to find my friend Sarah hiding in a tree.)
Hey pals: What do you do to celebrate your birthday as an adult?