However, I've never liked birthday celebrations that are all about me. This year, I wanted all the good things that come along with a celebration--festivity, laughter and community, but I didn't want the focus on me. So, instead of having my friends or family throw a party in honor of me, I threw a party in honor of something very important to me: women.
This birthday party in which I focused on celebrating a group of people I feel passionate about was a perfect solution--it allowed me to celebrate a community I love and myself, at the same time.
Here are some tips to plan your own birthday party premised on one of your passions:
- Think about the identities that define you the most. Are you a painter? A triathlete? A gardener? What communities do you belong to? Think about which activities make you feel most yourself when you're doing them. If you're drawing a blank, start out by making a list of your five primary identities and choose one to inspire your birthday theme.
- Decide on an activity. It may be related to the identity of pursuit you want to celebrate, like a day in the garden with your gardening friends. Or a studio night with your artist friends. Maybe, it's simply a shared meal together or a good old-fashioned party.
- Choose an aesthetic theme for your celebration. If you're a gardener, maybe the theme is green. If you're a writer, maybe you'll incorporate words. If you're a world traveler, you could start by replicating the aesthetic from one of your favorite countries. Because my theme was women, I decided to throw a dinner party where everyone would be free to chat and connect without distraction. I set a feminine table incorporating fresh cut roses, my finest linens, my most delicate china, beautiful crystal stemware and antique silverware. The guests oohed and ahhed, appreciating every element on the table.
- What time of day should this party take place?
- What kind of music fits this theme? Which kind of menu will enhance the party the most?
- In lieu of gifts, is there a project or activity related to the theme that we can do together in honor of my birthday?
*Photo by John Granen courtesy of Coming Home: A Seasonal Guide to Creating Traditions. Published by Abrams: Stewart, Tabori & Chang