Monday, May 26, 2008

How to Party when You're Grown Up

For some reason, adults always downplay their own milestone markers. Recently, I heard two friends talk of having dull birthdays. These adults are the same people that hire ponies, cater bar-b-que, and hold an all day fiesta when their children turn two. The result is that birthdays become a marker of aging, rather than a time of celebration. To help all of those in the parenting stage of life, acknowledge the anniversary of their birth about gaining another year, but not being old, I present the following tips.

1) Invite Friends. Whole Families, extended family, neighbors and their friends, their dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters. It’s your birthday darn it, and people should first, know about it and second, properly celebrate it.
The best way to do this is to send invites or e-vites, it allows you to publicize the event without seeming immodest.

2) Think Fun. I know those fun muscles are out of practice, they probably have stretch marks. But exercise routines start with the first day you decide to exceed the normal 2.6 miles most people trod in a day, and well, you don’t want something like this to happen to you.

When I turned 30, I was handed three lovely presents by my husband, an unwrapped autographed book by Bill Bradley and a CD of Dennis Miller Rants, plus some very good chocolate. He kissed me and said, “Happy Birthday.”

I swallowed hard and managed a feeble “Thanks.” I really did like the gifts but felt uncelebrated. He looked at my face and said, “You’re sad.” I shot back, “I’m thirty years old. It’s my birthday. I’m NOT SAD.” He looked at my eyes. “You are sad.” My lip quivered. “I AM SAAAD.” And man did I bawl.

Fortunately, my beloved husband took charge and we went to Gettysburg and toured Picket’s Charge on my birthday, and then to Williamsburg for a day at Busch Gardens where he and I took turns going on roller coasters and watching our then two children. My daughter, then two months old, let me sleep through the night. It was a celebration bonanza.

Of course that meant I had to come up with something just as funtastical for his Big 3-0, so I invited all of his guy friends from college and high school and law school to our home for the weekend.

We saw Star Trek First Contact –remember back when Star Trek was good? Almost me neither. We ate steaks and I made Tres Leches –a gloriously bad for you cake that requires more cholesterol than found in an entire five buckets of KFC. It’s made with at least a dozen eggs and a can of sweetened condensed milk. I’ll email the recipe if you ask.

We played flag football and went to Dave and Busters in the evening. I’d arranged for sitters to allow us all to go play for the evening. I even was a good wingman to a friend of ours who was and is an actual pilot in the Air Force. Who knew I could be a wingman?

The point of all this is plan. Have a plan and execute the plan, but most importantly, plan to have a blast.

3) Laser Tag, Dinner at a restaurant you’ve been dying to try or even one that sings those hokey songs and makes you wear a Sombrero are great. Bar-b-cue in the back yard, A baseball game, go-carts, a concert, bowling, poker night, a day at the pool, the park or the beach, a snowball fight, a water gun fight with your kids, tickets to a show, flag football at the park, the possibilities are endless.

4) If you like to or would like to try, play video games, let your kids teach you. New skills make the mind agile and feel young. You can’t really feel old when you’ve just schooled your teenage son in wii golf. It’s not possible. Gloating is permitted and even in some families, considered an art form. Who’s your Mamma?
Note to self: work on end zone routine.

5) Wear a new outfit. Most of us moms get a new outfit for the birthday kid so they’ll look spiffy for the pictures. Do the same for yourself, whether it’s a haircut, a manicure or even just a new pair of shoes. Spruce yourself up so you look good, you’ll feel good.

6) Reality like sick kids, work schedules and unavoidable activities sometimes crowd a birthday. This is why our family celebrates Birthday Month. Why limit the fun to just one day? This does mean that seven months out of the year, not counting actual scheduled holidays, we're celebrating. Want some cake? Odds are in your favor in the spring if you come over.

7) Go to Mass. If possible, receive the sacrament of reconciliation so you can start your next year with a fresh spirit. Okay, this last one is only completely doable if you’re Catholic.

8) Feast well. Calories on Birthdays are 100%allowed. Chocolate Cake all day? Why yes thank you. I believe I will….

9) Write down three things you hope to accomplish next year and put them in a birthday jar. Have each of your family do this as well, and on you next birthday, see if you did them.

10) Schedule a Health Check up and a Dental appointment. Why? Because the year will go better if you know you’re taking care of you.

11) Go to the Bookstore or Library, pick out a book you’ve been meaning to read. Start the first chapter.

12) Take a picture of all those you love. Don’t forget to include yourself, even if you hate how you look in pictures. Try to remember all of the birthdays past that you can, going backwards, or your favorites. Don’t forget to call your siblings and your parents and other family members not present to get their memories of those same events.

13) Hog the remote.

14) Start a diary. Leave it by your bed. You’ll be amazed next year.

15) Take a long hot bath

16) Open your presents…hint to family, wrap them.

17) Plan a trip for the following year somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.

18) Take up an instrument/art/craft you’ve never done before and always admired or wished you knew…who knows what will happen. Practice and failure and surprise success are all good for the soul.

19) Blow out the candles. All of them. Give everyone a big slice with extra frosting.

20) Give Thanks to God.


JimmyV said...

Nice. With my 30 approaching, I like to see I'm not the only celebratory one. I better get those invites out...

I am going variety show for mine, with my friends entertaining me in various ways. I get to host and do stand-up. Pray for my guests.

SherryTex said...

Will do. Sounds fun. Don't forget to videotape it and post on Youtube.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!