More birthday musings! Can you tell that this is just a ploy to keep the well wishes coming in until at least November? Even though I’m still trying to milk the fact that I’ve aged another year, I wasn’t feeling this way a few months ago. You see, I’m the kind of person that puts unnecessary pressure on myself when it comes to birthdays. I blame social media. You always feel as if you should be doing something amazing with loved ones, when in reality your big day falls on a Tuesday and no one can take time off.
After stressing myself out last year with three different shindigs on the same day, I vowed to keep things simple. In the back of my mind I saw myself having a bit of a destination birthday in Budapest, but kept getting put off by the rising flight prices and lack of Wes Anderson style Airbnbs (please book this one and I will live vicariously through you). Eventually Lucy helped me see sense and realise that I’d regret being such a cheapskate and not doing what I really wanted. At the beginning of June, I finally figured out the most reasonable flight combination and fortunately Lucy and Carrie were up for the ride.
Tip 1 – Do what you love (and don’t worry about the gram too much)
It’s pretty obvious that I love to travel. I love the experiences, the food and connecting different parts of the world together, so it made sense to do that on my birthday, rather than organising a big old shindig with friends and family. Planning trips is my thing, so even when Lucy offered to sort out logistics, I channeled my inner Monica from Friends and insisted on figuring out the accommodation, itinerary and dedicated hashtag.
I knew that there would be some level of documentation, but I tried not to be as militant as I normally am. Becoming more chilled out is definitely a trait I’ve had to learn throughout my twenties. I’ve gone from marching around destinations and having breakdowns when I can’t fit everything in to just thinking ‘ WYD?! You can always come back.’ We took things at a leisurely pace and still ticked off most of the main attractions.
Tip 2 – Pick the right people
Another thing I’d considered was inviting lots of different friendship groups, but after leaving everything a bit late (and remembering that could make things more stressful) I decided to keep things simple. After all, you don’t have to do everything and see everyone on the big day, so it’s worth spreading the fun just in case the blues set in (I still need to claim a birthday experience from my parents). Lucy, Carrie and I joke that we turn into ‘Team Birthday’ whenever needed and they outdid themselves with a colourful spread (including my beloved cappuccino), a poster full of hilarious memories and a playlist of my favourite Animal Collective songs. I’m still smiling about it now.
Tip 3 – Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
You’d think that taking inspiration from Solange would leave me feeling disappointed with my lack of dramatic desert photography, but hyping things up Bey-style actually got me energised for the trip. I’ve probably mentioned that I was freaking out about turning 30, so I kept my expectations low and had a ‘fake it until you make it’ attitude. I got my hair did, ordered a playsuit that made me feel amazing and told myself that even if we didn’t end up doing much, at least we were somewhere sunny with cheap cocktails. In the end everything surpassed my expectations. There were plenty of random moments (such as our impromptu Despacito dance routine in Szimpla) and I now have memories that will keep me chuckling until the next milestone.
How do you feel about birthdays? Do you feel pressure to plan the perfect day or are you a little more chilled with Netflix and a takeaway? I think it’s really about having confidence and conviction in whatever you’re doing, since there’s no point in arranging something just so that others are impressed. I’m tempted to travel every year now, whether it’s by myself or with like-minded friends but equally a day reading and reflecting may also appeal. We’ll see!
Check out the #KbelsBudaBday hashtag over on the gram to see what we got up to, the city guide is coming soon!