Posted by: OHgalinSoCal | October 30, 2013

Happy Birthday….to Me!


Today’s my birthday.

I love birthdays. I love my birthday, I love my kids’ birthdays, and I even love your birthdays. How can you not love birthdays?! It’s the anniversary of the day you were born. The day you were brought into this beautiful, scary, wonderful world. I’m glad you’re here. Heck, I’m glad I’m here! Let’s celebrate! 

Birthdays are for having fun, spending time with your loved ones, opening presents and eating cake. Or gluten-free cupcakes in my case. It’s for balloons, flowers, special dinners and birthday wishes from those around you. Or at the very least majority of your Facebook friends. They’re for celebrating and appreciating you! Hopefully you spend your day feeling special, feeling loved. Hopefully you float through the day with a smile plastered across your face, and warm fuzzy feelings tingling your whole body. 

Birthdays only come once a year (at this age, thank goodness!), and I believe you should enjoy that one day a year. Because let’s face it, those years are going to keep passing. That whole “another year older” thing is going to smack you right in the face. So embrace it. Love it. Have fun with it! 

Growing up, my parents always did a wonderful job making me feel loved and special on my birthday. They would fill my day with all kinds of treats and surprises. Well mainly my mom. My dad loves me and all, but let’s be honest….it was mom’s idea to hang balloons and streamers above the fireplace. Not that I’m discrediting him. He helped by blowing up the balloons! He also was the one to tell me “Happy Birthday” first. Being that my dad has always had to be to work before the sun rises, he would always call me to wake me up in the morning and start my day with birthday wishes. As well as sing the “Happy Birthday” song in Polish. Which at 6:30 in the morning just sounds like a bunch of gibberish. 

Since I was born the day before Halloween, my mom has always called me her “Little Pumpkin”. Every year she would give me some sort of pumpkin birthday treat. She would fill a pumpkin shaped mug with candy corn (although she recently finally realized, I don’t like candy corn. It’s the thought, it’s the thought!), or send me flowers in a pumpkin shaped vase. Since I’m not a huge fan of cake, she would get me a cookie-cake and have them decorate it like a pumpkin. One year for my (6th or 7th) birthday party, she handmade all my birthday invitations to look like jack-o-lanterns. 

I’m pretty sure she loved me. Still does, even! Unfortunately as a kid you don’t realize how special all those things are. It takes becoming a grown-up, and often times even a parent, to fully appreciate everything your parents did for you. So, thank you Mom and Dad! Thank you for all the years of balloons, streamers, cakes, birthday parties, scavenger hunts (another one of mom’s ideas), thoughtful presents, and special dinners at my favorite restaurants. Each birthday has been amazing. Even now, separated by 2,700 miles and 3 time zones, you still find a way to make it special. Thank you. I love you guys. 

My husband and two precious boys have also taken part in spoiling me. I got handmade cards (aren’t those just the best?!), store bought cards where my husband took extra effort in choosing just the right one that always seem to describe us in the most perfect way, thoughtful presents, coffee and breakfast made, dinner, and even a little “me” time where I got to treat myself to a pedicure. Right, I am such a lucky girl?! All these people who love me. My cup runeth over. 

In addition to getting spoiled on my birthday, I also like to take the opportunity to recall, reflect and refresh. Most people tend to set new resolutions on New Years. I like to do it on my birthday. I like to reflect on everything that’s happened the past year, hang on to what worked, tweaked what didn’t, and let go of what was no-good. 

This past year has been a rather bumpy ride. But this is what I can say about it…. I have lived, loved and at times even loathed my way through another trip around the sun. But most importantly, I have survived, and learned a few important things about life, and myself along the way. And that’s what growing up/older is all about right? Learning, growing and changing. 

Here are some of the things I’ve discovered about myself: 

I am stronger than I give myself credit for- both physically and mentally. (Cue Kelly Clarkson’s “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger”.) 

While I am a “social butterfly”, I really enjoy quiet and private time. I love to read (not a secret to anyone who knows me well), and I love, love, LOVE yoga. I love the way it makes my body, mind and soul feel. Namaste

I’ve learned that perception can be reality. And I want to feel happier and less stressed. So I should walk into situations with a smile on my face and perceive things to not be so stressful. Especially since I’m a strong person (see earlier paragraph), and I know I will survive it. 

I recognize and appreciate that I am a caring, giving, empathetic person. I just want those around me to be happy. I am also very much a people-pleaser, and hate to disappoint people. This can be both good and bad, because often times I put “pleasing” others before what I need or want. 

This last statement leads me into things I want to work on, my resolutions, if you will.

I want to be kinder to myself. The golden rule says “Treat others the way you want to be treated” and I believe that is important, and I feel I do a good job implementing it. But I’m going to work on treating myself the way I want others to treat me. I tend to have a self-depricating sense of humor, and I’m sure I always will. I believe if you can’t laugh at yourself, what can you laugh at? But I am going to stop putting myself down. Stop criticizing myself. 

I also want to work on recognizing and honoring my needs. Am I tired, do I need to take a break and rest? Am I stressed and worn-out, do I need to take some “me” time? If I want to be my best for those I love, I need to love myself to give my best. It’s kind of like the oxygen-mask analogy. You have to put your own oxygen mask on before you can help others with theirs. 

Overall, I like myself. I like the person I’ve grown to be, and I’m excited to see the person I am yet to become.

 I’ve been through my share of trial and tribulations, but I always come out alive. Not necessarily unscathed, but definitely alive and still smiling.

I am thankful for my life. I love and appreciate everything about it. Every lesson I’ve learned. Every person who has walked in, walked out, and chosen to stay.

I am confident in the woman, wife, and mother I have become.

I’m very much looking forward to what this next year is going to teach me.

Time to blow out the candles, make a wish, say a prayer, and strap in for another wild ride.

Happy Birthday to Me!  







  1. Happy, happy birthday! Great resolutions – I admire how you are self-reflective and able to see the good in situations.

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