An Unexpected Pandemic Prezzie

I celebrated my birthday last week and leading up to it, I wasn’t sure what it would be like during a pandemic.

Would I feel slighted?

Would I be bummed that I couldn’t get together with friends or family?

Would it simply be a non-birthday this year?

Could I even call it a “celebration?”

Come to find out, I sure could, just in a different, and dare I say better way.

The big day came and it was quiet.

And I loved it.

Not being able to get together in person left much of the day to myself. I took a long, luxurious shower, curled up under a blanket and read (currently reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle which is ah-mazing!), and did a little work here and there.

Melissa and I went for a hike and she made one of my favorite meals for dinner (chicken Francaise). My sister tied up balloons outside the window of my house which made me smile all day. I was gifted with two birthday cakes and my family sang to me on a Zoom party.

It was perfect.

It seems the pandemic arranged my day in a way I wanted but didn’t know it. The stay-at-home advisory saved me from feeling like I should have grand plans or feeling pathetic when someone asked: “What are you doing for your birthday?” The coronavirus set some good boundaries for me!

While that’s great, COVID-19 won’t be around forever (fingers crossed!) so it’s on me to up my self-care game and follow through. I can’t rely on circumstances to set my boundaries, though that has been my go-to in the past.

Despite priding myself on being a great boundary-setter, I actually just avoid situations that require them. In theory, that sounds pretty smart, however, I can’t avoid everything that might require me speaking up so it’s best to get comfortable with it. While I’ve certainly gotten better over time, there is always room for improvement.

The night of my birthday, as I wrote in my journal, I realized how often I behave in a way I think I should or how I believe others want me to. Whether it’s agreeing to a suggestion from Melissa I don’t love to help her feel like she made my day special or commiserating about not being able to go out when, in fact, I was fine with it, these behaviors can take a real toll on my relationships.

When I make my wants and desires less of a priority than others’, frustration bubbles up quickly. My fuse gets short and I become resentful. I get annoyed by others’ requests of my time or even just by their ideas. It’s no one’s fault but my own because I’ve taught people how to treat me and be in a relationship with me.

It’s no wonder a lack of boundaries is one of the top core causes of clutter. When you don’t set them, you live your life by default instead of by design. You spend your time waiting for “someday” — that day when you’ll finally get yours or when you can exhale at last. It’s time to stop waiting for others to give you permission to live your best life.

They say with age comes wisdom so I’m going to bet on that adage and trust myself to do more designing and less defaulting. This year’s quiet birthday has given me a jump start.

I guess I’ll consider it a Pandemic Prezzie.

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