Make Every Day Someone’s Birthday
Today, March 22, is my mother’s birthday. And as fate would have it, she is a spry and spunky 86-year-old with a penchant for literature, current events and cats.
Now, if you know me, you know the idiom “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” applies here, as I also have a fondness for literature, current events and cats (thanks, momma). If I am lucky, and if I make smart life decisions, perhaps fate will smile upon me as well, and grant me a spry and spunky 86 years and counting.
Interestingly, this celebratory occasion got me thinking about one aspect of life that, if I could, I would love to change. You see, why do we just celebrate someone’s existence on the anniversary of their birth? Why don’t we choose to live every day as if it was that person’s birthday?
Of course, I realize that if every day was cause for a birthday celebration then the unique occasion would inevitably blend into the norm, and that the meaning and special nature of the day would be lost.
Yet, what if we can use the feelings of goodwill and love and the celebratory mood of the birthday occasion as a sort of meme that can re-orient our disposition toward others every day?
Think about how you feel when you give someone a birthday gift, and when they smile back at you with gratitude, warmth and affection. That’s just about the best feeling one can have, and the best thing about that feeling is it’s open to all of us right this moment, if we choose it.
To prove this point, I challenge you to do a little experiment.
Pause for a moment, close your eyes and try to recall a time when you gave someone a birthday present, and they looked back at you with eyes that involuntarily divulged profound happiness.
Now look within yourself at how you feel right now, this moment.
I suspect you’ve already felt a wave of happiness wash over your spirit (see, I told you I could prove it to you).
The next step is to take that feeling you have and harness it toward the people that matter most to you, and not just in theory, but right this moment.
Here, I challenge you to do another little experiment.
Think of someone that matters to you (husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, child, grandchild, co-worker, friend, neighbor, etc.). Now pretend that it’s their birthday, and that you are going to greet them with a “happy birthday” disposition.
I suspect negative thoughts such as anger, fear, jealousy, envy, etc. are not part of that happy birthday disposition. Rather, I suspect that positive thoughts such as gratitude, joy, delight and pleasure now animate your spirit.
Now, take that duly animated spirit and contact one of those people right now and wish them a great day. Heck, why not even wish them an early happy birthday? I mean, even if their birthday just passed, there will likely be another one in no more than 364 days.
So, today, I challenge you to channel that positive disposition that comes with celebratory well wishes and go out and make every day someone’s birthday.
And if today is that special someone’s birthday, as today is my mother’s birthday, then make sure you treat that person with the love and kindness they deserve. Because in addition to making them feel great, you will make yourself feel equally great — and that’s a present you can give yourself any moment you want.
Be A Beginner
Before the world slammed us shut
Before we knew way too much
Didn’t worry about what we didn’t understand
Swam out so far didn’t see land
Before the brain got involved
When it was heart and that’s all
Close your eyes and try to remember
When we were beginners…
–Matt Nathanson, “Beginners”
The brilliant songwriter Matt Nathanson has been quoted multiple times in this publication, and the reason why is because he so often touches something within me that I suspect will resonate with you too. In the newly released song “Beginners” off his fantastic new album, “Boston Accent,” Nathanson reminds us to not overthink the moment, and to enjoy the adventure, the feel and the taste of existence as if we were just beginning to discover it. So, whenever possible, allow yourself to be a beginner.
Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.
In the name of the best within us,