I love celebrating my birthday. I know some people can let it slide by without fanfare, but I really like doing something special to note another orbit around the sun.

I remember the birthday I had during my first year of college. A few days before, I realized that it would be my first birthday away from the typical celebration of my family and that it was all up to me to make my birthday what I wanted it to be.

The day before my birthday, I walked over to the corner market near my dorm and walked the aisles. I picked up a little something special for breakfast and lunch, I bought my favorite chocolate mint candy, and I got myself a pack of Star Trek: The Next Generation trading cards.

The morning of my birthday, I served myself breakfast in bed. I packed my special lunch and ate it between classes at one of the prettier spots on campus. That afternoon, I took myself to go see, “Star Wars: A New Hope” that was playing at the dollar cinema on campus. Afterwards, I treated myself to dinner in the college food court and headed home to have a slice of the birthday cake that my parents had sweetly had delivered to me. My roommates all sang, “Happy Birthday” and it was a fantastic way to celebrate 19 trips around the sun.

Somehow, this became a sort of a tradition. Each year I would decide what I wanted to eat, and what I wanted to do, and what little gift I might want. And I made my birthday my own.

Some years I had to work. Some years I had sick kids. Some years there was a massive rain storm. But somehow, I followed my tradition and created a day I truly enjoyed.

This year was no different. My husband graciously took the day off. (OK, I may have kindly insisted that he take the day off!) And my boys didn’t have school. So it made it extra special to all be together.

I chose my favorite birthday breakfast, croissant with berries and Nutella, and happily ate it in bed while the boys watched me open my gifts. My hubby had bought the new saucepans I wanted.

After getting ready for the day, we made a stop at my once-a-year donut splurge, Johnny Donuts. We filled up on their giant, delicious desserts and headed out to a hike that’s been on my bucket list.

Aside from the fact that GPS took us on a bit of an adventure through a beautiful but narrow and winding road, we did finally make it to Cascade Falls. We hiked up to the falls, jumped across the stream, climbed up the rocks, hiked around the top of the falls, and headed back to the car, just hungry enough for lunch.

So we headed into San Francisco to hit two spots that have also been on my bucket list. We ate hand pies at Peasant Pies and ice cream at Salt & Straw. Yum!

Sufficiently fueled up, we drove out to Land’s End. I’ve always wanted to hike out there and find the rock labyrinth. The day was perfect for hiking! Not too hot, not too cold. Just a little bit overcast. And all the rain we’ve had meant thick green growth everywhere we looked. Until we found our way onto Rock Beach and yes! The labyrinth!

After walking the labyrinth, exploring the tide pools, and playing in the sand, we headed back up the billions of stairs to the car! It was a perfect way to wear off lunch, just in time for dinner!

I found a Mexican restaurant, Tia Margarita’s, that’s been serving up its deliciousness for 57 years! And let me tell you, practice makes perfect! It was amazing food. And huge portions! The dinner plates were the size of the Bay! And the Mexican Hot Chocolate… Oh, yeah!

Though there was barely enough room left in our stomachs, and not enough energy left in our legs to hike it off anywhere, we stopped at Whole Foods to pick up a little birthday cake. I was really looking for the divine chocolate mint cupcakes they’ve carried there before. But they didn’t have them and I settled for a little chocolate mint cake. Not the same, but if that was my only consolation for the day, that was pretty good!

I realize that I basically ate my way through my birthday! With hikes in between to work off the food and get ready for more! But hey! That’s what I love to do!

I filled up my explorer’s soul, with both places I hadn’t been before, and food I hadn’t eaten before. I got to spend the day with my favorite guy and our little minions. We got out into beautiful nature. We laughed and sang. And that was really just a perfect day for me.

Everyone is going to have their own idea of what the perfect day is. The key is to know what you like to do and do it! Fit it in between “must-dos” like work and school if you can’t take the whole day off, but in those pockets of time that are all yours, do something you like to do. Celebrate another orbit around the sun. It’s worth celebrating.

What do you like to do on your birthday?


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