There’s one surefire, tested and proven way to make your own birthday better.

Is your birthday ever hard for you? Do you find yourself moody, disappointed, excited, happy, tired, sad, or a nap magnet as your birthday gets closer?

Doesn’t it feel like birthdays not only make you brutally aware of your actual age, but ALSO bring up issues from previous ages? Did you feel lonely on your 8th birthday? Surprise! The 8-year-old-you is coming to visit on your 28th Birthday as you sit on the bathroom floor quietly singing, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.”

You know how in sci-fi movies about time-travel, one character will take a piece of paper and carefully fold it in pleats in order to explain to the newbie character, “See? THAT’S how it works. This point touches this point and you can just directly GO TO THERE.”  Well, birthdays are like that: the point in those pleats that lets you travel back in emotional time.

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It is almost my birthday.

Every birthday I find my blood pumping and giving me energy as I simultaneously long to climb in bed and hide til it’s over… I want to work like crazy to accomplish #allthethings and I also want to climb under my cozy nap blanket and wake up in a month… NOT just because I am getting older. No. No good comes from regretting my years. I have lived all of them to the best of my ability and I cannot deny living any of them. Each year adds to the patina of Me.  I am the age that I am.

No, I find my birthday difficult because my childhood ME comes to visit.

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I struggle with the level of influence and worth I have in the world. I do. I always will. It’s not something to solve like a puzzle anymore. It’s more like a tough yoga pose that I come back to and let work in me; causing a discomfort that opens and strengthens me if I can manage to breathe instead of shutting down.

I have always struggled with feeling like I mattered.

I remember sitting on the floor of my living room as a kid, on the orange carpet we pretended was lava. I would look around at my family – each doing their own thing – and get this sucking feeling in my stomach. It was like nausea but worse.

Its source, I finally figured out, was that I believed a strong, debilitating lie:

It did not matter that I was alive. Nothing was different with me in the world.

Of course, my mom and sister would disagree with that statement, but it felt so real and the desire to matter became a life-long black hole that I wrestle with to this day.

Most days I can be content and loving, but at my birthday, that black hole SUCKS.

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So, I started a tradition five years ago that has completely changed how I feel at my birthday. I want to share it with you.

If you struggle at all at your birthday…

This is the #1 thing I can recommend to make your own birthday better :

Write {Reverse} Birthday Cards. On your birthday, GIVE cards to the people in your life who matter to you. 

When we give, we finally gain a little distance from our own black-holes-of-need.

As I write each card, I remember how much that person matters to me and how much richer my life is because they are alive and in my life. This totally takes the focus off of me {my fears, expectations, disappointments} so I can relax and enjoy the life I have.

Actively loving other people, fills my own black hole of need!

Try it at your birthday or any time you feel that black-hole-of-need start opening in you. Giving to other people will be the best present you ever give to yourself.

Happy Birthday!

Reverse Birthday Cards