My birthday was on Friday, and it was perfect. I got exactly what I wanted, including a gift certificate to my local yoga studio and a room divider made out of wooden pallets.
After 34 years, I have mastered the art of getting stuff from other people.
Let me teach you the secret.
Step 1: Know what you want.
I’ve faced many birthdays without a specific knowledge of what I wanted.
I wanted to feel loved, special, and worth the effort.
I wanted someone else to do the work of figuring out exactly what that looked like in the real world.
I wanted someone to go beyond reading my mind and know me even better than I knew myself. Because isn’t that what the movies say love is all about?
The movies are full of shit.
No one knows you like you do.
And that isn’t about not loving you enough or paying too little attention. It’s about the simple fact that only you have access to the inside of your head.
Furthermore, how can anyone else be expected to turn your wishes into tangible actions and items if you can’t be bothered to?
Step 2: Ask.
The people who love you want to make you feel loved. They want to fulfill your fantasies and celebrate you in exactly the way you want to be celebrated.
They just need to know how.
The only way they’ll know is if you tell them.
To tell them, you have to swallow your fear of being selfish or a nuisance or something ambiguously bad.
You have to have faith in that love. You have to trust that when someone says, “what do you want for your birthday?” they mean it.
I don’t have that trust with everyone, but I know exactly with whom I have it.
Step 3: Fill in the gaps yourself.
Perhaps you don’t currently have someone in your life who is waiting to make your wishes come true. Perhaps your list of wants and needs is longer than your list of trusted loved ones.
You can still get exactly what you want for your birthday.
Step up for yourself.
At the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to feel cherished, loved, special or whatever it is you want to feel. Even on your birthday.
It’s not about the stuff.
Getting what you want for your birthday isn’t really about getting the right thing. It’s about feeling like someone really gets you.
That doesn’t mean you have to twist yourself into a puzzle to be solved.
It’s just as rewarding – and a hell of a lot easier on everyone – to be understood because you had the courage to make yourself known.
Know yourself. Ask for what you need. Take responsibility for how it all works out.
And that’s how you get exactly what you want
out of life for your birthday.