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Happy birthday to me

June 4, 2014 - Betsy Bethel
Birthdays should not fall on Wednesdays. There should be a law about that. What can you do on a Wednesday!? I work, and I also have band practice in Pittsburgh on Wednesday nights, so any celebration with family is out.

Having said that, I have had a wonderful birthday so far, so I really can't complain. I am now 41, and I have had some epic birthday celebrations. Sometimes they last the whole month! (Not continuously, of course. That would truly be epic. And dangerous. And I would lose my job. Not good.)

This year has been more low key. But what I have discovered about both Mother's Day and my birthday this year is that quality time spent with family and friends is what I desire most. For Mother's Day, I asked for an afternoon spent at Oglebay with my two favorite people, my husband and daughter. We went on the paddle boats and played miniature golf, and the adults sat under a tree while the youngster played on the playground. It was a glorious day!

Last Saturday, my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I said nothing. But later, I decided that what I would like most is for her to spend Sunday afternoon with Emma and me at the mall. So she did, and it was just what I wanted!

Dave and I recently took a class in "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. After filling out a questionnaire, you discover what your "love language" is. The possibilities are: acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts and physical touch. I am bilingual, actually! My two are physical touch and quality time. (I'm bilingual!) Lowest on the list: gifts. Not that I don't like receiving gifts! Everyone loves gifts. But I feel loved the most when someone wants to spend time with me or when they give me a hug.

Gifts seem to be what birthdays are all about, however, and so in keeping with that spirit, here are some perhaps unconventional "gifts" I have given myself to mark the occasion.

1. About a week ago, I started eating healthier, cutting out fast food and cutting way back on junk food and alcohol. I already have lost 2 pounds but more importantly, I feel good about taking care of myself.

2. As of yesterday, I was done planting all my flower boxes and pots, and weeding and mulching all my flower beds. So today, I can rest (physically and mentally) and enjoy their beauty!

3. I stopped into Kroger this morning and saw that small bunches of sunflowers were the "manager's special" for $2.99. Their sunny faces are now shining on me at my desk.

4. Last night, I finally got the rest of my summer clothes out of the attic and actually packed my bag for our vacation next week. Another load off my mind.

5. I made an appointment yesterday to see the doctor this morning about my left ear, which has been clogged for three months, ever since I went swimming at Four Seasons during Emma's spring break in early March. My hearing has been affected minimally, but the clogged feeling has just been so annoying, sometimes waking me up at night. At 9:30 a.m. today, a dime-sized glob of earwax was extracted. Happy birthday to me!

The older you get, the more you realize it's the little things that tend to make you happiest.


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