So many holidays have a “happy” to preface them. “Happy Halloween,” “Happy Thanksgiving,” and “Happy New Year’s” are just some of the many. With my birthday coming up, “Happy Birthday” is always a great “happy” word to hear, especially since it’s the day before “Happy Valentine’s Day” (which happens to be my favorite holiday!). Birthdays can be such a happy occasion but they can also be a bit of a downer by surprise if we’re not careful.
Many of us had great birthdays as a child; parties, cakes, and friends galore. But as we get older, birthdays can be a bit of a disappointment if we don’t make our own effort to make them special. As kids, it was up to our parents to plan something entertaining, but as college students, it’s up to us to plan the fun—which can be a difficult task considering everyone’s hectic schedules of work, school, and studying. And oh yeah, that green paper can start to become more of a problem, too.
Last year was a wake-up call for me. It was my first birthday away from home and I woke up by myself. My roommates went home for the weekend and it made the day lonely for me. And because I didn’t really tell my friends about my birthday, we didn’t really plan anything special together. Well, I’ve learned my lesson. I’m only having “happy” birthdays from here on out!
So here are a few tips for making your birthday as happy as it can be:
1. Plan to be with people: Don’t expect your friends to plan something for you—they have lives! You should ask for suggestions if you’re unsure about what you’d like to do, but don’t be afraid to make the reservations and get the directions yourself.
2. Tell people it’s your birthday: You don’t have to shout it from the mountain tops but you may end up feeling lonely if the day goes by without anyone knowing it’s your birthday.
3. Talk to the people you love: If you can’t be with your family and friends on your “happy” day, then be sure to talk to them on the phone, Skype, or whatever technological gadget you’ve got.
4. Don’t say, “I don’t know”: You may be trying to appear meek, but it doesn’t help when you throw this line out when people ask you what you’d like for your birthday or what you’d like to do. Give them a kind and clear answer that’s honest and reasonable.
5. Think of others: It may be your birthday but everyone has a birthday at some point in the year. Follow the golden rule here: treat other people the way you’d like to be treated—on their birthday and on your birthday.
Whether your birthday is tomorrow or 364 days from now, I hope that it will be happy. Everyone deserves to have a special day, especially since we’re only getting older!