How We Celebrate: Birthdays

Happy February!

February is one of my favorite months. The blossoms in the Bay Area emerge, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Many years (including this one!), Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year fall in February. And, on a more personal note, February is the month in which both my husband and I celebrate our birthdays.


When I was growing up, I thought the best way to celebrate a birthday was with a big party. Over time, I came to realize that I am a pretty hardcore introvert and a big party is not my jam. As per usual, however, I still want to mark the day somehow.


Last year, for my husband’s birthday, we walked the labyrinth at Land’s End in San Francisco. It’s a small stone maze tucked away off a trail, with a sweeping view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay. It was a perfect way to reflect, with the smell of cypress and fennel in the air, and a fog horn sounding in the distance as the day darkened and the lighthouses began to glow.

I’ve found I like to take a similar approach–doing something special, but small, like going on a hike or walking to my neighborhood market and picking out some sweet smelling flowers and marzipan.


What about you? What are your favorite birthday rituals?


3 replies »

  1. I feel like I straddle the line between introversion and extroversion. What side I fall on depends on a variety of factors and I generally try to balance the needs of both sides to prevent too much conflict. This means that when it comes to celebrating rites of passage etc I tend to want both big and small manifestations of said celebration.
    Each year on my birthday I like to take time to reflect by myself even if it’s just while I’m in the shower or washing dishes. I’ve had a few near death experiences so I really do celebrate the fact that I am officially one year older and since I know there’s no guarantee that I will make it through the next year I try to narrow down what needs my attention the most so I can rearrange my life accordingly.
    Our tradition each year has been to have a special dinner for the two of us that includes dressing up and taking time to appreciate all the things we have done recently and what we are most excited about doing next. I also like to take a little one on one time with my close friends , something simple and meaningful that just gives us a minute to catch up and share some undivided attention.
    Once I’ve had this time to reflect and internalize I am ready to gather up all the friends I have for a nice dinner and drinks! One of my favorite things is sitting around a big table with the people I admire and don’t get to see enough. I like to play hostess and spoil my friends with a home cooked meal, some wine and sometimes a game night. I haven’t always had enough friends to fill a large table so I know how lucky I am right now and I try and make that happen as much as I can!

    • You may be an ambivert! Most people actually fall somewhere in the middle. I love how you balance the two out – intimate, reflective dinners, and then a festive feast! Sounds perfect.

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