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  #1  
Old 09-16-2011, 06:37 PM
Romeo and Whatsherface Romeo and Whatsherface is offline
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How to Best Celebrate A Birthday Alone?

The quick back story: divorced female; small, remote town far from siblings; empty nester. It's also my first birthday since my mom died last winter; she always called on my birthday and reminisced about the day I was born. My friends usually get together when one of us has a birthday, but they forgot mine this year--everyone's busy. I'm not taking it personally. My birthday is Tuesday, and I'll be working that day, then working out. Then what? I'm not someone who feels comfortable eating out alone--especially, for some reason, on my birthday. There's no place around here to volunteer my time on a Tuesday evening, and I don't know any shut-ins I could visit.

What are some fun things I could do on my own that night? I want to keep busy enough so I'm not focusing on my mom's absence or just being pathetic. (You know, playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey and yelling, "Hey, I won!" or wearing a birthday hat and singing, "Happy Birthday to me.") All suggestions welcome.

Have you spent a birthday alone? What did you do?
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2011, 06:47 PM
PSXer PSXer is offline
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drink
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  #3  
Old 09-16-2011, 06:52 PM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is online now
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I've spent nearly every birthday since my 18th alone, because I don't have many friends, and I don't like to tell people my birthday is coming up and obligate them to do something about it. I also am not the type to throw my own birthday party.

I like to get a cookie cake and do whatever I want. Which is pretty similar to every other non-birth day, except for the cookie cake to make it a little special.

Last edited by Rachellelogram; 09-16-2011 at 06:52 PM..
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  #4  
Old 09-16-2011, 06:53 PM
Zago Zago is offline
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I treat myself to an indulgent meal (either cooked at home or ordered for take out). I eat at home and have a nice bottle of champange on hand. Candles too.
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  #5  
Old 09-16-2011, 06:55 PM
Arnold Winkelried Arnold Winkelried is offline
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Call in sick at work, and do something you wouldn't usually do. Go see a play or a concert. Go for a drive to some local point of interest (museum, monument, national park). Climb a mountain or hill in your neighborhood and see the world from the top. Think of what your favorite meal is and make it for yourself at home (if you've never made it before, learn how to make it.)
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  #6  
Old 09-16-2011, 07:23 PM
Romeo and Whatsherface Romeo and Whatsherface is offline
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Originally Posted by Arnold Winkelried View Post
Call in sick at work, and do something you wouldn't usually do. Go see a play or a concert. Go for a drive to some local point of interest (museum, monument, national park). Climb a mountain or hill in your neighborhood and see the world from the top. Think of what your favorite meal is and make it for yourself at home (if you've never made it before, learn how to make it.)
Love these suggestions, but I live in a small town--one museum only (I have it memorized), no plays or concerts, not even a shopping mall. I do love to hike mountains but out here, only idiots hike alone--bears and mountain lions abound. If I had someone to go with, I'd do it in a heartbeat--though I love my job and hate to miss a day. It's the part of my birthday I'm looking forward to, actually.
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  #7  
Old 09-16-2011, 07:42 PM
6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast 6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast is offline
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Carve into two separate candles symbols for: all the things that you'd like to have, achieve and feel in the following year; and all the things you're grateful for - including all that make you the fabulous person you are. If you know what time you were born, light them then.

Light them every day until they've completely burned out.

Spend the day being aware of the beauty in things. Something delightfully surprising will happen that will make you laugh out loud, and it will be a great day.
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  #8  
Old 09-16-2011, 08:04 PM
Becky2844 Becky2844 is offline
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Buy something you really like that you wouldn't ordinarily splurge on. Your mom would want you to have something nice.
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  #9  
Old 09-16-2011, 08:04 PM
Rhiannon8404 Rhiannon8404 is online now
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If you lived near me, I'd take you out!

This year, my mom ended up spending her birthday on her own. She spent the day getting her hair done, a facial, nails...and tattoo. A pretty little star on her foot.
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  #10  
Old 09-16-2011, 08:19 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is online now
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You could go to the library and get some DVDs of stuff that no one but you would like.

Buy yourself the most delicious single-serving bakery item from the grocery store or a local bakery.

Sit in your underwear in front of your computer and just watch random crap on YouTube until bed time.

Give yourself a pedicure.

Go out for ice cream and eat the ice cream at the ice cream place while people-watching.

Get take-out from any restaurant in the area that is good and does take-out.
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  #11  
Old 09-16-2011, 08:29 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
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Yep, either cook a nice meal or get something you like take-out. I would either buy a new book to read, some yarn to knit myself something nice, or rent a movie that I've been meaning to see.

I'm quite a homebody so being alone that way wouldn't bother me much but I would do something that I enjoyed. (As opposed to a) nothing, or b) chores like cleaning the toilet or something).
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  #12  
Old 09-16-2011, 08:39 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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It's been years since I've had to celebrate a birthday alone. But from what I remember, I treated myself to a special meal and then went to a bar that would give you a free pitcher of beer if it was your birthday.

Or was that volunteering to serve soup for hobos? I can never remember.
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  #13  
Old 09-16-2011, 09:00 PM
DocCathode DocCathode is offline
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I live in Philadelphia. My family lives in Florida. My friends have become too scattered to gather together. So, every January twenty second I put on my Cthulhu helmet and walk to the local convenience store to buy some junk food. I've been doing this for a few years now. I never explain why I'm wearing the helmet, or what it is. So far, only one person has bothered to ask. The employees at the store treat me just like any other customer.

Here is a photo of me in helmet and robes.
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  #14  
Old 09-16-2011, 09:32 PM
Moonchild Moonchild is offline
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This might sound dorky as all get-out, but if you have a Facebook account, I think it's wildly underrated how pleasing it is that so many "friends" wish you a happy birthday. You can always reply back and maybe you won't feel quite so alone.

I was in Paris watching a fireworks show at the Eiffel Tower on my birthday (which is Bastille Day) and I swear I got more fulfillment out of the Facebook wishes.

Wow, I'm feeling dorkier and dorkier as I write this!
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  #15  
Old 09-16-2011, 10:35 PM
twickster twickster is offline
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No, the FB wishes are definitely nice.

When I spend my birthday or a holiday alone for whatever reason, I generally make something nice for dinner and create a little film festival of a bunch of my favorite movies.
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  #16  
Old 09-17-2011, 12:28 AM
Jaledin Jaledin is offline
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You spend that birthday like a man! Er, woman! I hate birthdays in general -- mostly mine but I tolerate others politely and with good cheer -- but friends or family always want to do something, so I say, "no, no, no." Have a nice quiet night in, maybe go for a walk or to a zoo, watch some movie you always wanted to watch, maybe open up some top-shelf hooch and get maudlin if that's your thing. Write a letter to somebody you've wanted to write for a while but never got around to it. I like buying yourself something nice -- doesn't have to be fancy. Just something you normally wouldn't get yourself. Also, call some of your peeps on the phone.

You'll be fine, kiddo.

Last edited by Jaledin; 09-17-2011 at 12:32 AM..
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  #17  
Old 09-17-2011, 12:36 AM
Jaledin Jaledin is offline
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Or go out to a nice restaurant solo -- some kind of food you haven't tried before. Or go to a movie in a theater by yourself. Something must make you happy on some level! Find out what that is and go do it!
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  #18  
Old 09-17-2011, 12:51 AM
Sam I Am Sam I Am is offline
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If it were me, I would:

Have an easy but good dinner (probably some form of takeout, or gourmet soup and fresh bread), and a decadent dessert.

Eat while watching a movie, then finish watching the movie during a long bubble bath.

Spend some time on my hobby, or start a hobby if I didn't have one.
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  #19  
Old 09-17-2011, 08:23 AM
elbows elbows is offline
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I would, arrange to pick up something yummy from a restaurant, on the way home from the gym, pick up some fancy mags I don't usually buy, rent a couple of lighthearted movies to maybe watch, have a long hot shower and put on my, somewhat expensive ish, new pajamas. Have my favorite sweets and crisps on hand for movie snacking. Just shop up the pj's and snacks ahead of time, fresh flowers and beverage of choice would round the whole thing off nicely, to my mind.

Last edited by elbows; 09-17-2011 at 08:24 AM..
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  #20  
Old 09-17-2011, 09:53 AM
Ca3799 Ca3799 is offline
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I'd got to hang out at Barnes and Noble and drink a fancy Starbucks.

Last edited by Ca3799; 09-17-2011 at 09:53 AM..
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  #21  
Old 09-17-2011, 10:10 AM
blondebear blondebear is online now
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I try to spend some quality time in the outdoors on my b-day. A couple of hours of peace and quiet in a natural setting is one of the best presents I could ever hope for.
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  #22  
Old 09-17-2011, 10:24 AM
Farmer Jane Farmer Jane is offline
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I really like the pedicure idea. Or a massage or a hairdo (or just a wash and style).

Do something for yourself.

And eat junk food!
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  #23  
Old 09-17-2011, 10:32 AM
AndyLee AndyLee is offline
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I'd go to the zoo. Being with all the animals will make you feel better
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  #24  
Old 09-17-2011, 10:50 AM
monstro monstro is offline
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I'm not a big "birthday" person. Maybe it's because of how I was raised, but I just don't see the big deal.

That said, just think about the things you normally resist during a regular day and indulge in them. If you don't want to work out, don't. If you want to eat a large pizza all by yourself, do it. If you want to sleep in late, call the job and say you're be a couple of hours late. Buy yourself something you think you might at least kinda-sorta like.

There's no need to feel sorry for yourself (not saying you are, just saying it for GP). Chances are this is going to happen again...such is life. Adults who feel entitled to a big smash on "their" day always kind of irk me, although I guess if I had friends and they always did a "thing" for someone else but had forgotten me, I'd feel a bit peeved.
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  #25  
Old 09-17-2011, 11:10 AM
Eve Eve is offline
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Originally Posted by Romeo and Whatsherface View Post
It's also my first birthday since my mom died last winter; she always called on my birthday and reminisced about the day I was born.
Ouch. I have the same problem. And most of my friends are scattered worldwide. So I just don't celebrate--I think we all reach that point, A birthday is just another day to me. I don't buy so much as a cupcake with a candle in it.

I don't mean "I refuse to acknowledge it!" or a denial of aging; just more of a "feh" reaction.
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  #26  
Old 09-17-2011, 11:28 AM
Jaledin Jaledin is offline
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Adults who feel entitled to a big smash on "their" day always kind of irk me, although I guess if I had friends and they always did a "thing" for someone else but had forgotten me, I'd feel a bit peeved.
Hey, didn't Tony Perkins make a big fuss over his birthday cake his wife forgot in Psycho III -- whichever one where he calls into a radio talk show and creeps everybody out. Nuff reason to stay chill on the ol' birthday. That line always stuck in my head "What about my cake?" or something like that, talking to his wife on the phone.

All kinds of good advice. I like mine about writing a letter -- you'll wake up in the morning having done something really excellent, and you won't remember your "big day" as having just been circling the drain, but having been awesome.

Last edited by Jaledin; 09-17-2011 at 11:32 AM..
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  #27  
Old 09-17-2011, 11:32 AM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is offline
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Since you're planning to go to work anyway, why not take in some treat to share with your coworkers. You don't have to tell them why - it can be your secret birthday party! And they'll all love you for the cake/brownies/donuts/bagels/whatever.

I tend to ignore my birthdays just because, well, who cares? It's not like I did anything to be born in the first place, and surviving one more years isn't so hard where I live. Of course, I'm just an old grouch anyway...
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  #28  
Old 09-17-2011, 02:41 PM
Romeo and Whatsherface Romeo and Whatsherface is offline
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Wow, TONS of good suggestions from so many clever people! Better than a birthday party!!

I am taking home-baked cookies to work. I do this every year. Also candy for my students. I do tell people who ask that it's my birthday, but I always explain that ever since I was a kid and read that Hobbits celebrate birthdays by giving OTHER people gifts, I like to celebrate that way. And I bring in candy for my students. Even cynical teens love getting treats, and their happiness makes my day. Hope that doesn't sound too sappy.

I really wish I could go to the zoo, but the nearest one is about an 8 hour drive. I DO think being around animals would be a happy experience. I can't have pets in my rental house, but I'm going to bring treats to the neighbors' dogs (have already got the OK), and that will be fun. Dogs have just the right attitude about birthdays: Huh? Oh, treats?!

Yes, Mom would have loved it if I got something really nice for myself. I know I'll probably get a little teary when I think of her--she was a fantastic mom and the whole reason I have a birthday to celebrate--but she would have hated it if my missing her made me unhappy (She ended every phone call with, "Be happy!"), so I'm going to try hard to count my blessings and be upbeat.

Doc, I loved that photo of you in your helmet! It totally cracked me up. If I had such headgear, I would wear it all day. But how do you keep the women off you when you've got it on?

FB wishes WILL be nice--that wasn't mawkish at all! And I will write a letter to an elderly WWII vet friend who lives on his own and far away.

Thanks, everyone!
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  #29  
Old 09-17-2011, 03:24 PM
gwendee gwendee is offline
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Is voting closed?

When I'm celebrating solo I use the real silver that was my great aunt's, or fix myself a pot of tea in another heirloom, and drink my icewater from crystal stemware. I might only have scrambled eggs and toast, but I use the good china.

Treat yourself right!
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  #30  
Old 09-17-2011, 03:33 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Bake yourself a cake.
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  #31  
Old 09-17-2011, 04:43 PM
Romeo and Whatsherface Romeo and Whatsherface is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwendee View Post
Is voting closed?

When I'm celebrating solo I use the real silver that was my great aunt's, or fix myself a pot of tea in another heirloom, and drink my icewater from crystal stemware. I might only have scrambled eggs and toast, but I use the good china.

Treat yourself right!
Voting is still open, and in the great Chicago tradition, you can vote more than once! I am going to take your suggestion. My colorful aunt left me some champagne glasses with gold confetti in the glass--a little tacky, maybe, but they remind me of good times with her. I'm going to use one on my birthday.

You know, I've always wanted to bake my own birthday cake, but that's too much cake for me, Johnny. Want to come over and help me eat it?
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  #32  
Old 09-17-2011, 09:12 PM
Becky2844 Becky2844 is offline
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And after working all day (which you enjoy) and stopping for some good take-out, come home, sit on the Dope and we'll talk to ya...
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  #33  
Old 09-17-2011, 09:47 PM
Buttercup Smith Buttercup Smith is offline
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Hey my birthday is on Tuesday too! Happy Birthday. I have decided to take the day off and will be alone for the most part but I have not decided what to do yet if anything. Birthday's are not a big deal for me.
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  #34  
Old 09-17-2011, 11:29 PM
Cheez_Whia Cheez_Whia is offline
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Me, three! Happy Birthday to us! I expect no presents, but hubby will either take me to a restaurant or cook me a steak dinner.
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  #35  
Old 09-18-2011, 04:35 AM
shantih shantih is offline
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Originally Posted by Romeo and Whatsherface View Post
Doc, I loved that photo of you in your helmet! It totally cracked me up. If I had such headgear, I would wear it all day. But how do you keep the women off you when you've got it on?

I imagine that's what that cool staff he's holding is for.

I think you have a great plan for your birthday! Just be sure to do things that make you feel happy that day, and go about with a smile inside. I hope you have a terrific day!
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  #36  
Old 09-18-2011, 04:20 PM
Uncle Brother Walker Uncle Brother Walker is offline
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My birthday is waaaaay early in January. Back when I used to be in the Army, I had the luxury of living all over the world. I would spend every New Year's Eve in a different city/country. Then I would head back to wherever I called home for my bday and spend the day in solemn reflection about my life. Giving thanks that I was still alive, wondering what mistakes I've made in the past year (and trying to figure out what I could learn from said mistakes) and reviewing whatever goals I would have for the coming year. It was a pretty fun annual event.

Now that I'm stuck in Maryland, I had once connected with a group where there was a self-professed "Queen of the Calendar" who would remember everybody's birthday and make sure it was an event. Except mine. For ten years, I was "forgotten". I don't hang with these people anymore. Thanks, Monstro, for the memory. *

Nowadays I simply celebrate my birthday with a vacation day. As well as Veteran's Day. I do like to drink at 10 AM on a Wednesday. Feels like playing hookey with a paid day off.



*=Just kidding. I know it's not your intent to insult.
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  #37  
Old 09-18-2011, 05:11 PM
Romeo and Whatsherface Romeo and Whatsherface is offline
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OK, I'm going to check back in here Tuesday night and hope to see everyone who's having a birthday that day along with everyone who wants in on virtual birthday cake and champagne. Or quaff your favorite actual beverage. We'll conduct an SD-style experiment and see if the typing gets worse as the evening progresses.

I'm having a great time already. Thanks, Dopers!
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  #38  
Old 09-18-2011, 08:54 PM
Cheez_Whia Cheez_Whia is offline
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See ya on Tuesday!

Last edited by Cheez_Whia; 09-18-2011 at 08:55 PM.. Reason: spelling...
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  #39  
Old 09-18-2011, 11:07 PM
ArrMatey! ArrMatey! is offline
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If it's not too late to suggest:
Before bed, take the book- the one that got you interested, the one that you loved to read. Take the book that was special to you when you were young. Sit in bed and read it. Smile as you did when you used to read it over and over. Then put it aside, turn off the lights, and sleep.

(Milne and LeGuin both sit on my nightstand for this purpose.)
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  #40  
Old 09-19-2011, 01:11 AM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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Jerk off? I dunno, maybe that's more of a guy thing. And really, there's no need to wait for your birthday!.
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  #41  
Old 09-19-2011, 01:30 PM
tr0psn4j tr0psn4j is offline
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drink
This.
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  #42  
Old 09-19-2011, 01:42 PM
Scubaqueen Scubaqueen is offline
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book yourself a day at the spa getting yourself pampered, which means seaweed wraps, mud baths, mani/pedi, hair cut and color, and whatever the heck else feels good to you.

afterwards go all out and treat yourself to a couple of good bottles of champaign and lots of indulgent foods you normally wouldn't buy for yourself. use the linen napkins, the good bone china and those fancy champaign glasses you've been saving for a special occasion. YOU are the special occasion!
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  #43  
Old 09-20-2011, 01:47 AM
shantih shantih is offline
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Happy Birthday, Romeo and Whatsherface! And Happy Birthday to Buttercup Smith and Cheese_Whia as well!
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  #44  
Old 09-20-2011, 07:25 AM
Cheez_Whia Cheez_Whia is offline
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Happy Birthday to all of us!!! Thanks, shantih!
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  #45  
Old 09-20-2011, 09:17 AM
6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast 6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast is offline
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Happy Birthday, Romeo and Whatsherface! And Happy Birthday to Buttercup Smith and Cheese_Whia as well!
I sang it. Stevie Wonder style. And I made up some words as well.

You birthday peeps got it good..!!
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Last edited by 6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast; 09-20-2011 at 09:18 AM.. Reason: Made a birthday cake and ate it
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  #46  
Old 09-20-2011, 09:30 AM
Grrlbrarian Grrlbrarian is offline
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Happy Birthday, Romeo and Whatsherface!

(BTW - I had whatsherface! Juliet! So as your substitute birthday mom~)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LOVE!

{{{{{ }}}}}
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  #47  
Old 09-20-2011, 09:54 AM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
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Happy birthday!
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  #48  
Old 09-20-2011, 10:47 AM
Quercus Quercus is online now
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Hippo Birdie, two ewes!!
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  #49  
Old 09-20-2011, 12:43 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is online now
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Happy birthday, sweetheart! Hope it's a good one.
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  #50  
Old 09-20-2011, 02:56 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is online now
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I celebrated my 30th birthday alone. Having no one else around, I went out to a Good restaurant (a French restaurant -- I don't think I'd ever been to one before). When I got home I had my favorite dessert and watched my favorite movies on video. A friend stopped by, briefly, knowing I'd be alone, so it wasn't entirely on my own, but he didn't stay long.




If you're looking to spend it with people, and/or you want to do something meaningful, you could do what some friends suggested when I spent one Thanksgiving alone -- you could do volunteer work somewhere, ideally somewhere serving food.
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