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Workshop: Happy Birthday to You

Here is a workshop that I started designing for myself the year before I turned 40 and I just keep adding to it and enjoying it more and more. I have assisted a number of friends in designing their own significant birthday celebrations over the years and it is quite a fun process which I can highly recommend for bringing about happiness and a positive feeling for the coming years ahead.

I do a more extensive plan for decade birthdays and usually just instigate some fun activity for my day and review my decade goal; reviewing my progress and making adjustments on the between years. The goal for this closing decade, one year to go, is to be the healthiest I have ever been in my whole life. I then divided up the big goal into manageable steps for each year around the areas of physical health, psychological health, relationship health, spiritual health and the health of my community and my interactions with that community.

A referral to an archived post called Workshop: decisions and change and one can identify that I am using the Diamond mode for this planning process, ‘cause working on something for 10 years is a big deal and what a waste if I just made a jump decision about my life and living. I don’t believe that the journey would be as fun.

I had to write a definition of what I would expect to look like and feel like and be doing to be defined as the healthiest I have ever been in my whole life. I started the decade a year ahead by collecting data for this definition. I had a bone scan which indicated no osteoporosis or arthritis. I had an ultra sound of my GI tract and the specialists identified a Hiatal Hernia and a tumor on my vocal cords. I had a mammogram and a full blood work up. I had my teeth thoroughly checked and cleaned and replaced a damaged filling. I went to an exercise specialist and a dietician and a Naturopath and completed all their tests. Then I started a notebook about my physical self and worked towards a definition of “healthiest” for ten years in advance. Now I have a base line to follow and I have a easy time expressing how pleased the Doctor is to be able to start from this reference point.

I reviewed my car insurance, household insurance, my health insurance, and my investments. I set up a financial/responsibility section in my notebook and began collecting information about me. My partner and I had our wills reviewed and we updated them and made new plans and changes with the children leaving home. And I began to anticipate what our budget would look like and how we would begin making out lives different and the way we interacted with money in the world.

One of the smaller tasks involved looking at the sections called relationships and finances as it was my concern how we redirect our thinking about the Christmas Holidays we celebrate at our house, away from physical gift giving towards an amazing experience of communications and deeper sharing and giving. We are all in agreement that we will keep the magic in the stockings this season, but are open to a new experience which is emerging right before our very eyes.

Then of course there are the unforeseen adventures, opportunities and obstacles which seem to just jump into your living at very short notice. As the children left for college and their own life design, we were more deeply involved in the care of our parents and their needs. Sharp, clear minds are in need even more when bodies begin to fail. This put a new kind of stress on my physical and emotional self I could not have planned for all the responsibility that came into my life I paid a physical toll. And least I forget the new roof, and the broken foot – what a year of water fun it was!

A new evaluation of the definition and now a new plan for achieving the goal over the next year ahead, this included more exercise time, changes in food, more play time, and much more laughter than originally noted in the design.

So I am now, a year and 4 days ahead of time actually planning the celebration which looks like this: I am holding my party for the new decade in Scotland and England for 14 days plus a few not yet worked out. My goal is to see my parent’s family homes in those countries and to see my roots. I also wanted an out of house experience after so many years of being the party who stayed home. I believe one of my daughters will have the funds to go with me and she is quite the English/Scottish history buff so this ought to be a grand experience and just the way I want to celebrate. How much fun is this?

My exercise routine involves 17 hours a week of my time. With each lap of the pool, each mile I walk, I am working on my life and my party for next year. When I see a Blue Heron I say hello in my head and wonder if I will see Heron at my party. When I think I can not finish one more lap in the pool , I wonder if I will go swimming on my journey and know that I am making my body strong for all the walking and stairs I will encounter at my party. I practice remembering people’s names with each new encounter and I enjoy practicing the questions I will ask of the people I encounter today and wonder if my party will have so many smiling faces or homeless or children at play? A wee bit of the celebration is now a part of everyday – Wow a whole year of a party.

When all the guests have gone home, I love to do the dishes and think about all that occurred and what I did and how I prepared. I find myself chewing the cud of the event and enjoying it all over again. I need to say that I am a rather self critical person and I see and scrape the negative of the event first before I work on the positive and this is vital to me. I cut it off. I take that review to heart and begin to evaluate in terms of my new goal for the next decade of my life, including a prayer of gratitude for each and every day and how it unfolded.

I am here in this moment and pleased for the wind, thunder and rain whirling around just outside and I hope that sharing my decade birthday design might inspire some other folks to give it a try. With an intentional plan, reminders and daily practice, I can feel the joy each and every day and I think this makes for a truly grand celebration.

Oh yes, next August, just about this time of year I will have a new decade goal, so I am collecting the data now. GI track is good, no osteoporosis, no arthritis, no cancer, gums and teeth are in fine shape, and eyes are taking it all in with fine style and correction. We are working on the base line and gathering for the next adventure in living.

How do you prepare for your birthday? What is the best gift you have ever given yourself? What is the best gift you have ever received? Are you a jumper, triangle or diamond for these life events?

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