Birthdays: A Time to Celebrate You (and Them!)

birthdays-sally-estlin-Blog posts

Happy Birthday Hannah!

Birthdays: A Time to Celebrate You (and Them!)

Over the past ten days, I’ve celebrated over 10 people’s birthdays, including my own, ranging from a couple of 18th’s through to the 70’s! Last night was my niece’s 18th.


The night before the big event – leading up to midnight – I stayed up late and sent her messages acknowledging the countdown. It was hilarious – 2 hrs 45 min to go – 1.5 hrs to go – 15 mins, 8 mins, 6 mins, 4 mins, 2 mins and then finally midnight arrived and then texted the highly awaited moment “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”


It’s been a busy festival of cakes, candles, cards, cash and good company. All this celebrating got me thinking – what are birthdays all about? Sure, there’s the cake and the presents, but there’s something deeper, something that goes beyond the party festivities.


Birthdays… Those yearly markers of our existence can spark a range of emotions: joy, nostalgia, and even dread. But why? Why do some relish their special day, while others would rather crawl under the covers and hide?  I’m like the latter – because for me it signals the start of a very long week and I feel exhausted before it even begins!


However, that also got me thinking – “I should rise above it” because at their core, birthdays are a celebration of life, a chance to acknowledge our journey over the past year and reflect on the person we’ve become. It’s a time to appreciate the special people in our lives and spend time together with our nearest and dearest.  It’s a time to reflect upon the experiences that shaped us, and the lessons we’ve learned.


Our birthdays are also powerful tools for self-esteem. Being recognised and celebrated, feeling loved and appreciated, is a fundamental human need.


A simple “Happy Birthday” can brighten someone’s day, while a thoughtful gesture or gathering can truly make someone feel special. This boost in self-esteem creates a ripple effect, making us feel more confident and capable of taking on the world.So, why do some get the birthday blues? Life can get hectic, and reflecting on another year gone by can be a sobering reminder of time’s march. Someone said to me recently they have about 20 summers left.  What a ghastly thought.


Unmet goals or unfulfilled dreams may also be a reminder around your birthday time. Perhaps past birthday experiences were underwhelming, or social anxiety makes being the centre of attention uncomfortable.  A few of my friends and family have those awkward dates around Xmas, New Years and the Cup carnival.  Birthdays can tend to be overshadowed by these other festivities.

It can also be a time to be more sensitive with some, like one of my kids.  He doesn’t handle the limelight too well and doesn’t deal with large get-togethers. A quiet dinner with a close friend or family can be more meaningful than a massive party. Just recognising the event without too much Hoo-Ha.


But now, let’s flip over to those birthday “celebrators” –  and I have a lot of friends and family in this category! They embrace the opportunity to celebrate themselves, to revel in the company of loved ones, and to create joyful memories. They understand that life is precious, and every year deserves a little fanfare. Their enthusiasm can be infectious, reminding us all to slow down, appreciate the good stuff, and soak up the joy of being alive. I have so many fantastic memories of birthday celebrations (big and small) over the years.  So many laughs and happy moments.


In our fast-paced world, taking a moment to acknowledge someone’s birthday, big or small, is a beautiful act of kindness. It shows them they’re valued, that they matter. It fosters connection and strengthens relationships.  I’ve always said a heartfelt card with meaningful words is way more impactful than an expensive present or token gesture gift.  I still have a lot of the kids homemade cards – they are simply the best!


So, the next time a birthday prompt pops up on facebook, consider sending a little HBD and celebratory emoji 🥳 or sending a message from the heart: because a little recognition can go a long way.


Let’s all be champions of making people feel special because after all, birthdays are just a reminder – life is a gift, and we deserve to celebrate it!