Looking back, now, those were only the years from when I was in elementary school and high school. When I was in college, I started to feel differently about my birthday as I started to appreciate different things in my life - my family, my dogs (yes, I had dogs and horses throughout my life).
What I love about my birthday now is that nothing is expected (Tom and I don't exchange gifts for Christmas or birthdays anymore) and the day is open to do anything on the spur of the moment. I woke up this morning after spending Christmas Day with my parents and my sister and youngest brother's families. Such wonderful kids - all so different, and so talented in different ways. They all play competitive sports and all excel in school and I just love them all and enjoy seeing them maturing in their own way. What a great day we had eating good food (love my Mom's spaghetti - NO ONE makes it like she does) as well as many other side dishes made by everyone.
Going from a day of so much busyness into a day like today with so much peace and quiet is the ultimate of balancing for me. I love my time alone with my dogs and Tom and not having to be anywhere. I woke up today to a day with sunny skies and warm temps (relative to December in Minnesota - maybe not to other parts of the country) and the smell of coffee brewing in the kitchen. Then after feeding the dogs breakfast, and checking in on Facebook, I see so many people taking the time to post to my wall, wishing me a Happy Birthday. Facebook is such a great community with support, well wishes, and those birthday wishes are really special to everyone that has experienced them.
Now, what to do for the day? I love not having a plan. Some of my fondest childhood memories are spent with my family and making decisions on the fly. As a family, we enjoyed doing things on the spur of the moment - like the time our family was driving back from Colorado visiting my grandparents and we came to a split in the road - home or Yellowstone? We all decided Yellowstone and my Dad just immediately veered off to the west. Other memories are when our family would take drives out into the country after Mass on Sundays. Dad would go driving further out in the country with the intent of getting completely lost on the back roads and then trying to find our way home (no GPS devices at that time). We always enjoyed the beautiful countrysides and as time went along, it was harder and harder to get ourselves lost.
So, a day of nothing-ness or a day filled with just doing whatever I want to on the spur of the moment. That is just the ultimate for me. I won't know what this day brings until it's over. Just the way I like it.
I hope you enjoy your day after Christmas as much as I plan on enjoying it.