This has been a bit of a special week for me because it was my birthday! A day I’ve honestly come to just dread more and more each year.
I grew up in a house where your birthday was the most special day of the year, under the age of 10 I was having parties with clowns and sleepovers, and in my early teens, I was treated to a DJ in my back garden and even fireworks (does anyone remember the Celtic Tiger?).
My parents spoiled me to the point where I’ve grown up having wild birthday expectations.
It’s been a long time since I’ve truly felt “special” on my birthday, and that’s a mixture of being let down by the people I love the most, and maybe just because I’ve been single for a lot of birthdays too.
Every year I’ve tried to do something big for myself, to make myself feel special. I’ve had balloons delivered, I’ve taken trips and I’ve organised outlandish parties.
On my 25th birthday, I went to Las Vegas for 5 days, saw Britney in concert, flew through the Grand Canyon in a helicopter at sunrise, and partied the nights away.
For my 28th birthday, I did three birthday dinners in three different cities: Vancouver, LA and New York. I just always want to be anywhere else but here when the 9th of November comes around.
Things kind of went downhill when a birthday in Dublin three years ago really didn’t go to plan, and I’ve found it hard to get excited about my birthday ever since.
Maybe I should just get over myself? Maybe birthdays aren’t meant to feel like you’re living in a fairytale for a day.
Or, maybe I could just go to Disneyland….so yeah, I did that instead.
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Instead of feeling sorry for myself and sitting at home hoping certain people would send me a special gift or send me flowers, I got my ass off my couch and took my first flight in nearly two years.
I’ve been to Paris six times now, but the magic never dulls for me.
I had always wanted to spend my actual birthday in Disneyland, and honestly, it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made.
It’s hard to have the birthday blues when you’re surrounded by Disney characters, when you see the infamous Sleeping Beauty castle in the corner of your eye, and when you’re screaming at the top of your lungs as you’re thrown around on Space Mountain.
After hours of laughing, smiling and screaming, the sunny day started to wind down, and I had layered on a new Disneyland jumper and suddenly had a Minnie Mouse balloon in my hand. I honestly couldn’t have been happier.
I left the park a happy girl, I felt like a lucky girl, and it’s the one place in the world you can truly feel like a birthday girl. And no one did it for me, no one brought me there, I did this for myself.
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Aside from the pure childhood magic that Disney has to offer, we also got to enjoy some stunning food and views around Paris during our two-day trip.
From croissants and coffee on the Champs-Élysées, to having lunch at Terrass Hotel overlooking the Eiffel Tower, to sipping on prosecco as we sailed down the Seine on the Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Gourmet Dinner & Sightseeing Cruise, we really got to experience so much in such little time.
I landed home to an empty, cold house, I felt a rush of panic, expecting the birthday blues to come rushing over me like a tsunami, but this year they weren’t that bad.
I think everyone can start to question where they are in their “life plan” when they become another year older. And I’ve yet to meet anyone who truly feels like they’ve done or they are doing everything they planned to do.
So instead of lamenting the things I don’t have this year, I felt grateful for all the things that I do. Instead of feeling sad about all the bad things that have happened, I looked at all the good that showed up after.
For example, this will always be the year I told my story about Intimate Image Abuse, at this age I became an Ambassador for the Department of Justice, I finished the first year of my law degree and when I moved into my dream house.
I could easily list out the commercial deals I didn’t win, or the people who let me down or the difficulties I went through reliving what happened to me six years ago, but there is always so much good if we just change how we look at things.
If it’s your birthday this month then I’m glad a fellow Scorpio is reading this, and all I can say is be happy for all the great things in your life, what is meant to be will be, and if you want to have a fairytale day, you do you!