The Birthday Project



For me, every year when my birthday comes around I am excited. It’s because my birthday has become a great day for re-evaluating my life.  Every December 14th I write a few pages about my life.  What I love, what I hate and interesting things in between.  I’ve always subscribed to the belief that life could feel better if I keep working on the recipe.  I don’t believe that “this is just the way it is”.  Everything is open to renegotiation.  To change.  Every year now on my birthday I go back and read last years assessment.  It’s fascinating.

Do you make New Years Resolutions? Do you make the same ones every year?


One birthday a few years ago I saw the pattern.  I was complaining about the same things every year.  My wish list was the same too. I didn’t seem to be changing many of the things I declared were important.   So what to do about it?


I began to see that my life was full of habitual patterns.

Even the habits I want to change, I don’t seem to manage.  On the wish list every year? I wanted to do more yoga, find more time to read, and get back to water colour painting.  And every year I wanted less running around and less time doing work I didn’t’ like.  But, every year, it was the same.  I didn’t do more of what I wanted and I didn’t get rid of what I was tired of.  Sound familiar?


This year for my birthday I’ve decided to outsource this task.  My idea?  For the week around my birthday I made coffee dates.  I met with people in my life that I’ve known a longtime, some were mentors to me, some are new. All of them inspire me in one way or another.  I asked each of them a question.


From your life experience so far, what would you say it is important to say yes to?

What have you learned to say no to?


It’s a simple question, but the answers have been profound.   My friends would drop into themselves for a moment and I could hear the subtle click and lock in of their answer.  Each person offered me something that they deeply knew to be true.



Each answer pointed me to a bigger way of living.  It’s not about doing more yoga or eating less chocolate.  It’s about what is at the root of these choices.  How I view myself .


I’ve been writing their responses on little recipe cards. Eventually I will make a poster board and hang it in my home office.  A reminder of the wise friends I have cultivated.  But also a reminder of the life I can live.


Bring on my fiftieth year.  I ‘m ready.  And I’m changing.

Me at one and half. Same smile as always....

Me at one and half. Same smile as always….



1 Comment The Birthday Project

  1. Wendy Nielsen

    This is a great idea Beckwina and what a great way to begin the next half century. Grow old with me dear friend. xo


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