I loved turning 30.
It wasn’t because by that age I’d accomplished all that I had hoped; I was single, expecting to have been married years earlier. It wasn’t because I relished reminders that within a decade I’d reach middle age. I loved my 30th birthday, because I celebrated it well.
A few years before I turned 30, I heard an inspiring story about my friend’s single sister. She was really into theater and a few of her good friends “kidnapped” her and took her to New York City for a weekend to celebrate. I remember thinking I would love to ring in 30 in a similar way. When people ask my advice about facing a milestone birthday that has the potential to induce gloom, my suggestion is always the same — celebrate.
Here are 5 ways to celebrate a milestone birthday:
- Get out of town. After I heard about my friend’s sister, I couldn’t get the idea of going to New York City out of my mind. So about six months in advance of my birthday, my sisters and I started planning and saving to take a trip there to celebrate my 30th. We saved, planned and found a few deals, so that we could enjoy the city without breaking the bank. That trip is one of my fondest memories with my sisters. A milestone birthday can be a great excuse for taking that cruise you’ve always longed to take or taking a Holy Land tour.
- Tackle a challenge. A milestone birthday can be a perfect time to check a goal off of your bucket list. A friend of mine trained for a bike race for her 30th birthday. “It’s my way of showing 30 who’s boss!” she told me with a smile. Accomplishing a goal on your birthday is not only a memorable way to celebrate; it’s also a reminder that growing older doesn’t mean you’re going to stop having fulfilling experiences.
- Be with people. I’ve always had a little quirk. When it comes to my birthday, if I want a party, I plan a party. Oh, I may ask a friend to run point on it, but I love a good party and see my birthday as a great excuse to get friends together. When I turned 30, my friend helped me organize a 70s-themed party (I was born in the late 70s) that incorporated a few things I’d always wanted to try: a progressive dinner, karaoke and a chocolate fondue fountain. (Hint: Be on the lookout for your friends’ milestone birthdays and offer to throw a party or organize a get together for them!) Nothing feels better than spending a significant birthday with people you care about.
- Reach out. A friend of mine celebrated her 30th birthday by going on a missions trip. She planned it out ahead of time, knowing that doing something service-oriented would help her focus on others rather than just focus on getting older. My spring birthday occasionally falls on Good Friday or Easter Sunday. Some of my best birthdays have been spent worshiping and serving at church. Serving is a good reminder of what God created me to do and the primary reason He sustains my life.
- Be thankful. Reaching a milestone birthday is a big deal. God has given you many days to enjoy life and know Him. Take some time for reflection and write down some of the things He’s done in your life through the years. You may want to make a timeline of your life and put a star by three or four events that God has used to prove His faithfulness to you and to mold you into the person you’ve become.
While many people lament turning 30, it was one of my best birthdays. By planning ahead, spending time with people I loved, and being thankful for all God had done in my 20s, I made irreplaceable memories. So if you have a birthday coming up — especially a milestone birthday — here’s my advice: celebrate.