Yesterday was The Furry Guy’s birthday, and we spent it as he requested—painting cabinet doors at the church. Yes, you read that right. The Furry Guy is in the middle of a project and needed some help. So, after a breakfast of celebratory mini-muffins during which he opened his gift and his card, we headed over to the church. With the help of a couple of other people we got the first coat of paint on all of the cabinet doors. The Furry Guy was very, very happy.
Was I happy to help The Furry Guy with his project? Sure. Is this the way I’d choose to celebrate my birthday? No, but it wasn’t my birthday.
I think people tend to plan things for others’ birthdays that they’d like to do for their own. People who have always wanted a surprise party will plan a big, blow-out surprise for their spouse/friend/sibling/parent who really would prefer a quiet dinner. They plan something they consider really fun for someone who would really rather sort of forget their birthday.
For a number of years The Furry Guy’s gift to me was a trip with my friend. My buddy had a few days off toward the end of October every year. My birthday is in early November. My buddy and I would take a couple of days to go off and shop, getting a good start on our Christmas shopping. The time away, the shopping, the freedom to just indulge myself—that made the perfect birthday gift for me.
The next time you’re planning what to do for a loved one’s birthday, make sure you’re planning what they want to do and not what you wish they’d do for you.