I once heard someone say that disappointment exists between expectations and reality. I think that is a very true statement I tend to keep close to my heart during, for example, my birthday this month.
I’ve tried over last number of years to keep my expectation around gifts in check by not expecting anything at all. Thus I avoid disappointment over something I thought I ‘deserved‘ for some reason when I don’t get it. I’ve also realized there is an additional upside of expecting nothing: I’m very touched by every little gesture people do for me.
I had mentioned a week early that I was taking off a Friday for my birthday at work. I was then touched that several people wished me a happy birthday as I was leaving on Thursday. It isn’t much of anything, but I noticed as I get older I care less about the stuff of birthdays but more about the acknowledgement of the day. I would rather get five wishes of ‘happy birthday’ than six cards any day of the week.
I also had an odd experience this year as I was asked by my wife what I wanted for my birthday. My first response: a complete and utter blank look. Nothing came into my head at all for a while. I had at that moment no wants (for the record, yes it felt sort of zen like). It was only after paying attention to my life for a few weeks did a few little things come to me that I would enjoy: like a sample set of teas (from David’s Tea), a new set of workout clothes (my old pair is like 10 years old) and two DVDs.
So the big day arrived and guess what I’m thrilled with my day: no work, a good meal planned at home (all appetizer supper) and a nice bottle of wine to go with. Perhaps I’m getting a little more wiser as I get older and I realize: I don’t need much to be happy in life. It’s not to say I don’t enjoy the odd restaurant meal out, but I rather prefer a more causal meal at home with my family when I get to do some cooking (which I enjoy).
So has your birthday celebrations changed as you got older? What did you start doing and what have you stopped doing?