How To Have A Freak-Out-Free Birthday

Birthdays are supposed to be the happiest day of the year — the one where you celebrate your life with your closest friends & have an amazing time. But sometimes, they just don’t go as planned. Lots of people loathe their birthday, & refuse to do anything but watch re-runs of Friends all day. Others find themselves filled with a nameless dread, while some people resort to getting drunk, high, having a bad one-night stand or spending most of the day in tears.

The thing is, birthdays can be scary. It’s almost unavoidable that it is the time where we look back on our live & what we’ve done. If you feel like your life is going nowhere, then looking back at it can be a terrifying wake-up call. On the other hand, if perfectionism is your plight, it can be easy to feel like you’re doing enough & not living up to your own expectations. & it’s not like this is just something that happens to us common folk — Ashley Olsen said in a Marie Claire interview last year that she cried on every birthday except her 21st.

So, how can you avoid a dismal birthday?

Get away from it all
Fleeing normal life might sound extreme, but it’s actually an amazing way to spend your birthday. First of all, you’ll be so far removed from your day to day life that your normal worries won’t be with you. Secondly, you’ll have a great story to tell! & thirdly, being away from daily life provides you with wonderful opportunities to reflect & grow — meaning you can come back with renewed purpose & enthusiasm.

The only limit to what you do on your birthday is your imagination, so think big & make plans. After all, if you can’t indulge yourself on your birthday, when can you?

Go to Sweden & watch the Northern Lights, take a bikini boot camp in Brazil, eat violet jam with your croissant in the garden at Jardins Secrets, stay at the Hotel Rivington for the best views in New York, go on a holistic retreat at the Omega Institute or just climb a bloody great mountain. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something that really appeals to you — & do your research before you go!

Spread your birthday out
Sometimes the pressure of having the best ever time on one day is a bit too much. What if you wake up with a huge pimple, or you can’t get dressed? One simple solution is to re-jig things slightly so that you have a birthday week. Organise it in advance & have a week of decadence! You might like a massage on Monday, a huge box of cupcakes on Tuesday, reflexology on Wednesday, quality time at your favourite art gallery on Thursday, drinks with your best friends on Friday, a garden soiree on Saturday & a shopping spree on Sunday. That being said, it doesn’t have to be super-complex (or expensive). You can simplify it — have a different Lush bath product every day, dinner with friends every night, or just take a week off work & do whatever takes your fancy. You deserve it, baby!

Adopt a new tradition
A cake & a party can seem a bit boring sometimes. Borrow from other cultures & start a new way of doing things! There is a huge list of them here. I especially like the Brazilian tradition of pulling on the earlobe for as many years as you’ve been alive! Mad cute! The Canadian tradition of greasing the nose with butter is pretty amazing, too!

Celebrate in an unusual way
You don’t have to go out to dinner or get boozed if you don’t want to! Why not go ice-skating, vintage shopping or surfing? How about spending the day in the garden with your favourite books, a pair of sunglasses & a tall cold drink? Why not take a trapeze lesson? Why don’t you round up all your friends for a game of croquet? How about baking all day with your best friend, or going to see a tarot reader? Feel free to do something weird & uncharacteristic. Anything in the name of celebration!

Don’t keep it a secret!
So many people don’t want anyone to know that it’s their birthday, & then they feel miserable & rejected when no one wishes them “Happy Birthday” or appears with a cake. My friend Jo says, “Don’t keep it secret. If no-one knows, how can they treat you like a princess on the day?” I couldn’t agree more!

Make an effort
Even if you don’t want to see anyone on your birthday, don’t just lie in bed feeling sad or distraught! Have a long shower or bath, go & get a massage, eat a tasty lunch, watch a movie & have dessert instead of dinner. Get dressed up & take some birthday self portraits. Go to the beach. Do yoga until you collapse. Just do something that brings you joy!

Extra For Experts:
How Bollywood celebrities celebrate their birthdays!
Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen’s 21st birthday party.