So May is my birthday month. On May 23rd I turn 59. Yes, really! I only get to say that once so here it is in writing. And as I was sitting around thinking about how I wanted to celebrate I came up with a couple of ideas. Most importantly I want to offer all of you, my SMART readers a gift. If that’s sounds even remotely interesting, and/or you are curious about what I am giving away, please read all the way to the bottom of the post to discover how you can claim your free birthday gift from me.
But my thoughts about birthdays don’t stop there. By the time you get to be my age you’ve certainly been-there done-that with traditional ways to celebrate. So how can we celebrate in a way that makes this year stand out and not only be different, but be one of the more special years of all? With that in mind I discovered three different ways you can make your coming birthday special.
#1) Join the birthday project. The birthday project was born in February 2010 to a woman named Robin Bomar. As she approached her 38th birthday Robin decided that she wanted to celebrate by offering one Random Act of Kindness (RAOK) for every year of her life in the days surrounding her birthday. She made up a list before hand just in case she wasn’t sure she had enough ideas, and then proceeded to fulfill her birthday wish as the days unfolded. Not only did she do 38 RAOKs but she also requested that all of her friends and family do at least one RAOK and tell her about it so she could keep track. In the end, Robin said, “With the exception of my wedding day and the days I gave birth to my children, my 38th birthday was by far the best day of my life. “
The feedback from Robin’s birthday was so tremendously positive that she has since founded a website called “The Birthday Project.” On the site Robin encourages others to “change the world, one birthday at a time.”
The good news is that once Robin set up The Birthday Project website lots of others started practicing their own Birthday Projects and then posting the results on their own blogs. One woman named Mary Yunkin shared her 35 “gifts” on her site and wrote about her eight year old’s reaction when they were all done helping her. He said, “This is so much fun! I’m so happy. I can’t stop laughing and I feel like I’m going to burst.” Three days into this project –“ I still can’t believe how much fun this is. I never knew it was more fun to give things away than it is to get things!” Don’t we all wish our birthday could be that spectacular?
2) The second suggestion for planning a birthday that you’ll remember fondly is to create an experience. Just like with The Birthday Project, if you plan to do something out of the ordinary it will help to make the day more special. One of my more memorable birthdays was when Thom bought me a “skydiving” experience. As I’ve mentioned before, it was something I always said I wanted to do. But honestly when I opened up that gift certificate and saw what it was I wasn’t quite so sure. It took me about a month before I made the appointment but even now, over 15 years later I remember that experience very well. Once you jump out of an airplane at 10,000 feet it helps you realize that you can face just about any fear that comes up. Now that’s another birthday to remember!
3) My third suggestion for a birthday gift is to make something that you consider special and then give it away. That’s why I intend to offer my first novel, Finding Grace—A Transformational Journey as a free ebook to anyone who wants to read it. On any day from May 18th to May 22nd you can go to Amazon.com and download the ebook at absolutely no cost to you. I wrote the book for people to read and because I would love for all of my friends and readers to have a copy, this is my gift to you.
I wrote Finding Grace nearly 10 years ago and finally published it last year on January 21st. I wrote a blog post both about the book and what I learned along the way so if you are interested in that back-story you can read about it here. Meanwhile, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive a number of reviews that will also give you an idea if the book would be something you’d like to read.
I am also pleased to announce that I’ve been working on a “print” version of the book that I will just now be making available. I’m sort of excited about this too because I did the formatting myself. While I won’t be offering the print version for free, I am keeping the price about as low as Amazon will allow. Check that out if you really want to have a book to hold in your hands. Just remember, with the ebook you can read it on any computer, an ipad or even your iphone and it costs nothing. Just download the app on the Amazon website.
So what am I going to do on my birthday? This year I plan to go sailing. In all my years I have never been sailing even though it’s something on my bucket list. It’s actually a 2-hour sail cruise out of San Diego harbor, but it should give me an idea of whether I want to take anything longer in the future.
Besides that, I will likely practice some random acts of kindness just because of all the inspiration I received after reading so many people’s websites when they did it. I want to be just like that 8-year-old boy who said, “This is so much fun! I’m so happy. I can’t stop laughing and I feel like I’m going to burst. I never knew it was more fun to give things away than it is to get things!” Doesn’t that sounds like a very SMART way to celebrate a birthday no matter what your age?
Photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt from Flickr Creative Commons