I just turned 25, and this year, I celebrated my birthday by enjoying more time with myself.
In the months, weeks, and days leading up to the milestone birthday, a lot of friends and family reached out asking how they could help me ring in a new year of life. But something about spending the moment with others didn't feel like something I really wanted to do.
Even though in the past I've been more of a self-proclaimed birthday-plans-making extraordinaire, this time I was much happier making the decision to spend my birthday alone.
In lieu of searching through best brunch restaurants in NYC lists (because nothing says happy birthday like a bottomless mimosa special), trying to pick one that fit everyone's budget, securing a reservation and then scolding my friends about arriving on time, I choose a much simpler plan. I did what I wanted to do all by my damn self.
And let me tell you something—it was everything!
I cashed in two days of vacation time from work to fully immerse myself in the start of a new dance around the sun. I made a list of 25 small, simple and significant self-care things that I could do to usher in a new year of life that put me, myself and I at the top of the priority list.
What was on this epic little list for me and could totally be for you too? Well, I’m glad you asked!
Here’s what I did:
1. Cooked My Favorite Breakfast
I woke up on my birthday and made grits and scallops and bacon bits.
*both salt and sugar were used in said grits, fight your mother about it*
2. Bought A Bouquet Of Flowers
I’m particularly fond of Gerber daisies to brighten up any room.
3. Danced around my living room in my underwear
Any true Grey’s Anatomy fan knows that this is always a good idea.
4. Made a playlist of only songs that make me happy
“Adorn” by 2018 ESSENCE Fest performer, Miguel may or may not have been played 25 times. (sorry, not sorry neighbors)
5. Cleaned my house
Call me a grandma or blame my mother for raising me right but something about the smell of Pine Sol gives your girl a good feeling.
6. Bought a new pair of shoes
Can I ever have too many pair of shoes? My bank account would say yes. My tiny Brooklyn closet would say yes. But I am content with ignoring both of those things.
7. Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge
It’s been on my bucket list of things to do ever since I moved to the city and my birthday seemed like the perfect time to pop that cherry.
8. Treated myself to a massage
Shoutout my girl Vinca at Red Door Spa who had me drooling like a newborn after a bottle with my aromatherapy deep tissue massage.
9. Explored my neighborhood
When I moved into my first big girl apartment in Crown Heights in December 2016, I wasn’t all that pressed to walk around the growing gentrified neighborhood in the dead of winter. Now that the sun is out, I’m super into my walks amongst the gorgeous brownstones I see.
10. Got an iced coffee
I’m one of those people who needs a daily cup of coffee who survive and thrive. Thank you to my new fave spot, Cafe Con Libros, for hooking ya girl up with that iced latte. (Plus it’s Black woman-owned and nothing beats that).
11. Splurged on a mani and pedi
You know what they say, a foot scrub and a cuticle clip can change your life!
12. Went out to brunch
Although I didn’t plan a brunch for myself, a fellow friend celebrated turning 25 one week before me and I was more than happy to join in her celebration. Plus, I love brunch just as much as Oprah loves bread so I’d never turn down an invitation!
13. I tried a new recipe
I inherited my love for the kitchen from my dad and his mother, who once was a cook for President Reagan. I took to Pinterest and cooked something new and didn’t burn my kitchen down in the process. Hallelujah!
14. Took myself out to my favorite food fix for lunch
Empanadas are the way to my heart.
15. Binged a new series
All I have to say is: 13 Reasons Why season 2.
16. Watched my favorite movie
I can quote Miranda Priestly in my sleep and nothing makes me happier.
17. Started a new book
Before The Hate U Give staring Amandla Sternberg drops in theaters later this year, I had to read the book.
18. Bought candles
Again, can a girl ever have too many?
19. Walked aimlessly through Target
Target *is* my happy place.
20. Had a slice of amazing red velvet cake
A birthday requirement--plus it's my favorite!
21. Wrote myself a love note
Because taking the time to write a letter of appreciation for yourself and a few wishes for the new year of life is something everyone should do. After you write it, seal it up and read it when you turn another year older. You'll be surprised at how much you've grown...I always am!
22. Talked to God on the subway platform
This is a New York City past time of mine that has become somewhat of a ritual. There is something calming about being surrounded by strangers and taking a moment of silence to practice solitude.
23. Watched a new movie
I highly recommend Catching Feelings on Netflix. It’s a South African rom-com I never knew I needed!
24. Turned off my alarm clock
Never ever ever underestimate the power of sleeping in and not feeling guilty about it.
25. I cried
It wasn't a sad cry, it wasn't a happy cry. It was a flushing my system of all the things that no longer needed to be rooted in my spirit. A shedding of things that I no longer needed to hold on to. A weeping of gratitude for seeing another year.