Taking My 31st Birthday to Chill, Reflect and Enjoy


This was like me on my birthday—except I was in sweatpants and sitting in my living room. Credit: Kashirin Nickolai

Last year, I made a big deal about my birthday. I was turning 30 and entering a new decade, which both excited and terrified me, so I think I really wanted to make it something special to commemorate with friends, family and general overindulgence. But this year? Well, I just turned 31 years old last week, and it was probably one of the quietest birthdays I’ve ever had. Which was just how I wanted it, truly.

I’ve always been one who’s prone to do some self reflection, be it by meditating, reading something inspiring or doing some yoga. And I especially take time out to do so on my birthday. More so than the New Year, I like to look at where I’ve been and set intentions for where I’d like to go—and how I’d like to go there (with more compassion, passion, etc.)—during my next year of life.

Instead of taking a full Saturday or Sunday to do this, which has been my previous modus operandi, this year I took my whole birthday to, well, celebrate myself. As self-indulgent as it sounds (and it was!), I took an entire day off of work (mostly—I did pop in on FBG’s social media here and there) and set up a “schedule” for myself. It went a little something like this:

7 a.m.—Wake up, eat a healthy breakfast involving my Vitamix and leisurely drink coffee
8 a.m.—Chat on the phone with friends and family
9 a.m.—Meditate, read, check email and social media
10 a.m.—Easy yoga
11 a.m.—Watch Oprah, while cutting out images of magazines for my dream board
Noon—Healthy lunch
1 p.m.—Walk the dog
2 p.m.—Make my dream board while listening to pop music, dance wildly from time to time
3 p.m.—Write down my intentions for the year, paste on the back of my dream board and hang in my office
4 p.m.—Do a little work, eat a cookie
5 p.m.—Foam roll, then meditate some more
6 p.m.—Go out to dinner with my husband and have one too many glasses of red wine, plus tiramisu

After dinner? Well, that’s just none of your business on my birthday. Hehe.

The whole day was pretty glorious, I have to say. I didn’t become enlightened or anything, but I feel more focused and ready to take on a new year of life as a slightly more evolved person than I was last year. And, really, isn’t that all you can ask for when it comes to birthdays?

Are you like me? Do you like to reflect and take extra time for yourself on your birthday? —Jenn

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  1. Kimberly says:

    Hi Jenn,
    What a great idea!
    My birthday falls between Christmas and New Years, and as a result is usually ignored. This year I think I will follow your example and take some time for myself – it sounds so peaceful.

  2. Kelly says:

    I especially like eat a cookie! I am planning I real nice quiet birthday celebration in April since I will cross over int a new decade and I am ready to embrace it!

  3. Jamie says:

    Hi Jenn, I’m turning 31 in March and I definitely want to take that day and regroup. I usually journal my thoughts, but I like your idea of adding to your dream board. Nurturing my creative side is probably the best gift I could give myself that day!

  4. Jen says:

    I also love how you wrote “eat a cookie” in your schedule. I’ll be 30 next week an am adding that to my b-day schedule now, perhaps more than once that day 🙂

  5. I’m so happy you had such a lovely birthday. Nobody deserves it more.