Tag Archives: Celebration

Birthday Edition: It’s All About Celebrating Life!

Celebrating Happy Birthday-Image
Celebrating Happy Birthday-Image

Life should not only be lived; it should be celebrated.”


Have you ever wondered how the tradition of celebrating birthdays came about? I have. So, I did a little digging and found some fascinating fun facts about the history of celebrating birthdays. And since my birthday is just a few days away, I am dedicating this article to all thing’s birthdays- the history of celebrating birthdays, how that tradition has evolved and the importance of celebrating these anniversaries and other important milestones.  

From my research I learned that:

  • Birthdays didn’t begin until calendars were created.
  • Birthdays started with the Egyptians.
  • The Greeks came up with the birthday candles.
  • Birthdays first started as a form of protection.
  • The ancient Romans were the first to celebrate the birth of the common “man.”
  • Birthdays were first considered to be a pagan ritual in Christian culture.
  • German bakers invented the birthday cake as we know it today.
  • The Industrial Revolution made a way for everyone to enjoy sugary cakes.
  • The tune of “Happy Birthday” was a remix of sorts.
  •  October 5 is the most common birth date in the U.S. (Nine months before October 5 is New Year’s Eve, a common conception date.)

To Celebrate or Not to Celebrate?

Regardless of the history, today, birthdays are a time of year when friends and families come together to celebrate the anniversary of a loved one’s birth and/or when an individual celebrates life and it’s many blessings. Birthdays also provide an opportunity for people to pause and reflect on their progress and growth and intentionally think about how they want to improve and what they want their future to look like. For some people, birthday are auspicious occasions filled with family and friends, gifts and treats, the best of music, food, fashion and all the best that life has to offer. While for others, birthdays go unacknowledged, without any distinction from any other day of the year.  

But whether you choose to celebrate birthdays or not, there is no disputing that, birthdays mark significant life events and serve as important markers of life’s stages, changes and progression. According to Wikipedia, “In most legal systems, one becomes designated as an adult on a particular birthday (usually between 12 and 21) and reaching age-specific milestones confers particular rights and responsibilities.” While birthdays represent a coming of age, they also usher in fundamental rites of passage, new responsibilities and give access to certain activities such as the ability to get married, vote, consent to sex, purchase lottery tickets, drink legally and consume other controlled substances. And while this age can vary from country to country, the typical age is usually 18.

In addition to these obvious benefits, celebrating birthdays also provide some additional opportunities for you to:

  1. Express gratitude by being present and appreciating where you are in your journeys, all you have and all that you have accomplished.
  2. Celebrate you, the person you are and are becoming by practicing self-acceptance, self-respect, and self-regard.
  3. Focus on feel good and positive emotions which reduces stress, promotes happiness, and contributes to overall well-being.
  4. Practice self-love and self-care which honors your basic need to feel loved, affirmed and valued.
  5.  Take stock of the ways you can continue to grow, the things you might need to change and how to move closer towards your goals and dreams.
Tameca in Paris-Happy Birthday Me-Image
Tameca in Paris-Happy Birthday Me-Image

How I Celebrate My Birthday

For me, birthdays are super special. And as I mentioned in a previous post, November is my favorite month of all. It is the month I celebrate my birthday, the month I relocated to the US, and come to think of it, it is the month I conceived my one and only child. That said, I take birthdays seriously, and really try to celebrate myself on my birthday and honor my friends and loved one on theirs. My intentionality around celebrating birthdays, probably stems from the fact that I never had birthday celebrations while growing up. So, I promised myself that I would always celebrate me, once I got to the age and stage where I could do something about it.

In fact, I remember that, during my college years, every birthday I would get dressed in my nicest outfit and go to the mall where I would treat myself to a movie and my dessert of choice (cheesecake back then). And once I started working, I also promised myself that I would never work on a birthday. The way I see it is, if you have paid leave, your birthday should be included in one of those days. Plus, I also plan all my summer vacations around my daughter’s birthday, so I never work on her birthday either. Another thing I decided a long time ago is that, I would not allow myself to get upset on my birthday and would only entertain positive people, vibes and feel-good emotions on my special day. Anything else will be handled the following day.

That said, ever since I moved to the U.S., one of my biggest pet peeves is that, my birthday frequently falls on the Thanksgiving Holiday. And because this is such a prominent holiday, my birthday tends to get overshadowed by people who wish me Happy Thanksgiving first, instead of Happy Birthday. I am so annoyed by this practice that, when I realized my 40th birthday would fall on Thanksgiving Day, I decided to leave the country, and go on a solo trip to Europe. And there I experienced one of my best birthdays, and spent 12 memorable days exploring London and Paris.  

Although some people prefer big birthday parties and grand celebrations to mark the occasion and nice gifts (Nothing wrong with that), I prefer having an opportunity to experience something new, travel to a new country or destination, eat at an expensive restaurant or try something I’ve never done before. And I also use my birthday to reflect on the past year and assess how I am progressing physically, emotionally, financially, professionally, and spiritually and set new goals and intentions for my next 365 days around the sun.

So, what about you- what do birthdays mean to you? And how do you celebrate your birthdays? Share and let me know.

Until next time, Remember, ItsALearningLife

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It’s Celebration Season: 9 Top Tips for Navigating Change!

9th Year Anniversary Celebration-Photo
9 Year Anniversary Celebration

It’s not an easy road

And many see the glamour and the glitter so them think a bed of rose, mi say

Who feels it knows, ooh

Lord help me sustain these blows

I cry!

Not An Easy Road- Buju Banton

November is celebration season for me! It is the month the earth was blessed with my presence (Birthday Edition Loading), the month I made the big change to move to America and the month some of my favorite people were born. So, for the month of November, I’ll be sharing lessons and insights based on my key milestones, and the deep sense of gratitude I feel at this stage of my life for all the experiences I have had and the people who have journeyed with me so far. This post will share my reflections about the top 9 tips I have learned on this my 9th Year Anniversary of moving to America.

November 1st, marked 9 years since my daughter (then two years old) and I migrated from Jamaica to the United States. As we celebrate the milestone, I find myself reflecting on that big change I made nine years ago and our journey over the years. For me, the title of (International singer /songwriter) Buju Banton’s song “Not An Easy Road, succinctly captures the struggle and  hardships I have had to overcome over the last 9 years to be where we are today. In fact, I have often told people that I cried more tears in the first 5 years of making the transition, than I did in my entire life- before or since. So, when I think of the lines from the song, I’m reminded of God’s goodness and faithfulness and how he has always provided for us and protected us.

Why Change is Hard?

I know you will agree with me that change is hard. This is true whether you are an immigrant to another country, just made an important life decision to get married, divorced, have children, change career, move to another city, sell or purchase a home, lost a loved one or are dealing with a scary health diagnosis.  According to Psychology Today, one reason that makes change difficult  “is that we are not ready and willing for change. We may be comfortable where we are and even scared to step into the unknown. If our current state provides us with comfort and security, making the change will be difficult.”  

Nevertheless, change is a constant and necessary part of life- personally and professionally. Our abilty to deal with change (See previous post based on Who Moved My Cheese)at work and at home will directly impact our progress in life, the quality of our relationships, our stress levels and whether we will thrive or merely survive.

Stepping into Comfort Zone vs Risk Zone
Stepping into Comfort Zone vs Risk Zone

9 Top Tips for Navigating Change

That said, there are huge benefits to celebrating milestones such as birthday and anniversaries. Celebrating significant events in your life provides you with opportunities to remember all the difficulties that you have had to overcome; take stock of your life and assess the progress you have made in key areas; think about the future and begin to plan for what lies ahead. And while this is uncomfortable and difficult for many, it is necessary for personal and professional development growth.

As I reflect on my journey so far, I am deeply aware that our testimonies, lessons, and experiences are not just for us. Sometimes we go through difficult periods in life that cause us to struggle with self-doubt, insecurity and that can drive feelings of despair and discouragement. And when we get through them, some of us are inclined to keep them a secret to keep up appearances that all is well or because we are ashamed of these painful experiences. When in fact, these experiences taught us crucial lessons to inform the way forward and that we can share and use to encourage other people who might need encouragement and wisdom to walk through their own valley moments.

So, if you are navigating your own life events and challenges, here are my top 9 tips and takeaways for dealing with change and navigating transitions:

  1. .Don’t ever let fear prevent stop you from taking a bold and brave leap toward the direction of your goals and dreams.
  2. Have a clear vision for yourself and the life you hope to have. This will help you on the days when you feel desperate, discouraged, and tempted to settle for less than you deserve or need.
  3. Dreams might be deferred but not forgotten. Be careful not to hold yourself hostage to specific timelines. Have faith throughout the journey and trust the process.
  4.  Preparation is important, but it never guarantees the desired outcome. The best laid plans might go awry but be prepare anyways.
  5. Be humble enough to embrace the discomfort of starting over, trying something different and learn something new.
  6. Relationships are the most valuable currency you have. If you build and invest in positive and supportive relationships, they will show up for you when times are good and bad, and you’ll always have a shoulder to lean on.
  7. Always show up as your best self. This means you must commit to keep learning and growing and making the changes that will help you become the best version of yourself.
  8. You are not your failures or your mistakes. When you fall or fail, cry If you need to but always pick yourself up and try again. You are stronger and more resilient than you know.
  9. Pay it Forward: Your gifts, talents and resources and experiences are not just for you. They are intended for you to help and support others. Give back, serve and help others.

I’m so excited for what the #NextNine years will bring!

What milestones are you #celebrating?  Share and let me know!

Until next time Remember, ItsALearningLife!