Like it’s your birthday

I have a little policy.  I don’t work on my birthday.  I’ve had this deeply personal policy since I was about 14 – much to my Mother’s chagrin, because it meant that I skipped school that day.  Just didn’t go. I did whatever I wanted to instead of science or history.   I’ve explained this at job interviews, I’ve blown off tests – I don’t work on my birthday, and I felt strongly enough that I’ve prearranged that, and I haven’t. If it was optional on my birthday, I haven’t done it unless I wanted to.

portludlow 2015-06-14

This policy has brought me a lot of happiness. It’s not that I think that birthdays are all that, and I’ve never particularly wanted a screamingly huge party, or a thousand presents, or anything like that – but I do like the idea of a day where everyone (including you) are just happy you’re here, and everything goes your way, if it can.  Your favourite breakfast, your favourite things to do, your favourite people around you.  It’s my idea of lovely, and I’ve always arranged to have just that on my own Birthday – until today.

bathtime 2015-06-14

This year is the first time in all my 47 birthdays, that I am working on this day. I admit to trying to have a bit of a pout about it when it was first arranged, but it was me arranging it, so I couldn’t really get too bent.  There was no other weekend that it was possible to have this retreat, and so I put on my grown-up pants (what the hell, I’m turning 47) and I did it.  It’s just one day, I said. It doesn’t matter. (I was lying a little bit.)

Last night though, I was sitting with Judith and Debbi, and we were having a glass of wine after a beautiful day – I mean, a really beautiful day.  I don’t know what’s going on with the retreat this time, but everyone here is so lovely, and the weather is perfect, and the vibe is fantastic, and I realized that if I thought about it right, this is almost exactly where I want to be.

paint 2015-06-14

Sure – would I rather be with my family, yes.  I love them, and let me tell you, I’ve been waiting months to hear Luis sing me “Feliz Compleanos.” Joe would make (or arrange, to be more realistic) my favourite foods, I’d sit in the garden and knit – it would be a pretty spectacular day. This though – being here, and doing this work instead? It’s suddenly filled me with a pretty overwhelming and slightly mushy sense of gratitude.

fabric 2015-06-14

Yeah, I’m going to work a 12 hour day on my birthday – but oh man.  I’m so lucky that this is my work. I’ll be surrounded by people who have set aside a whole weekend to learn to make things, and celebrate being someone who makes things, and the whole day we’ll talk about knitting, and how it works and every person here, every one of them, thinks that’s not stupid. They’ll spin and weave and paint and stitch and knit and ….

yarn 2015-06-14

It’s not what I would have chosen, and last night, I realized that was too bad.  I’m glad I didn’t get to pick, because this IS a day I’ll spend doing so many of my favourite things after all, and I think it’s going to be an awesome day.

makers 2015-06-14

Make way for the makers, and Happy Birthday to me.

(PS. Thank you all for the good wishes. All I really want for my birthday is to spread the love around.  If you’re so compelled, I’d love to make my goal for the bike rally. A donation would be a great gift. )

102 thoughts on “Like it’s your birthday

  1. I’m going with ” Chose a job that you love and you”ll never work a day in your life.”
    Many happy returns of the day.

  2. hippo birdie two EWES
    hippo birdie two EWES
    hippo birdie dearrrrrr Stephanie
    hippo birdie two EWES!

    have a wonderful making day

  3. What a wonderful way to spend the day – may you have many more happy birthdays, and continue to do whatever you want even if it is “work”. Who was it who said if your job is something you love, you will never have to work a day in your life.

  4. Happy Birthday! It’s a lovely policy you have, but what a great way to flexible about it. And that’s really what being an adult is, isn’t it? Being flexible about the situation. Luis can sing to you when you get home, after all. And then you can take a whole day off. It could be delayed gratification.

  5. Happiest of Birthdays to you!! May we all be toasting you on your 147th birthday.

    Isn’t grand to be doing work you love? You are too lucky to be finding this out at 47. Some of us take 50 or 60 years to find work I (oops, they) love. Some people never find it.

    • For a person that we all know likes a nice bath, you picked a place that has a great bathtub. Probably some nice cushy bath towels. Hope you fit a great birthday bath in there somewhere during such an amazing trip

  6. Happy birthday!!! Hope your retreat goes well. I didn’t realize until today that you and my mother share a birthday. You guys must be opposites or something because she rarely gets her favorite meal or gets things to go her way on her bday (the curse of having selfish children) Today is the exception. She’s being treated like a queen. Maybe your roles reversed this year? Anyway, hope the day brings joy to you!

  7. Have a happy birthday. Sometimes it’s nice to do something completely out of the ordinary on your special day. At least you are surrounded by all kinds of people who think you the cat’s pajamas!!!

  8. The very happiest wishes! 47 seems the perfect abberational working birthday, what with the prime number and all.

  9. You lost me at Judith! Who better to work with on your birthday if you have chosen to work on your birthday? I think that means you get two free days just for you!

  10. Just think of it as an extended birthday, because when you get back to your family you’ll be celebrating all over again. I have a friend who turned 90 and celebrated with various friends and family for nearly a month! Happy (first day of your) birthday!

  11. Oh my goodness, if you can’t do your usual on your birthday, that’s a damned fine Plan B.

    Beautiful, just beautiful.

  12. I’m wishing you a Happy Birthday on this, our Flag day in the U.S. we’ll fly the flag and I’ll think of you, my Canadian idol.
    BTW: I’m married to a wonderful import, I’m a lucky woman. He’s from Vancouver. Love, your friend, Pat Vigen

  13. Happy birthday to you and me too! I have had the kind of day you like best, family and lots of laughter and love. The best! Hope your day has been wonderful!

  14. Since you have the same birthday as my granddaughter, or she has the same as you, I keep hoping to transform her into a knitter. That’s not bad, right? And Happy Birthday!

  15. I’d forgotten that we share a birthday! I’d prefer not to work on my birthday, too. My occupation is work-at-home mom, but I’m definitely more mom than work-at-home. And since I have four kids eight and under, there was definitely work that needed to be done today, just like there is every birthday, and every Mother’s Day, and every other holiday and day of the year. But like you, it’s good work, and they gave me such lovely hugs and kisses and pretty rocks as gifts, I’ll take it. 🙂

  16. I hope you had an amazingly fantastic birthday today. Enjoy being with old and new friends doing the things you love.

  17. Happy birthday, Stephanie…if you have to work, I’m glad to be here with you at the retreat. You are my hero and when I was working in a law office, your humor and generous spirit often got me through a long long day. Now I’m retired, I get to do this retreat with you and 45 or so new friends. It is amazing and I don’t want it to end ….everything has been incredible. Thank you, thank you for all that you do and say and a special extra big thank you to you and Debbi for pouring so much of yourselves into this retreat.

  18. I like to take the day off on my birthday too. This year that didn’t work out, and I just had a regular day of going about my normal routine. But it was a pretty great day nonetheless, and made me appreciate how wonderful my everyday life is. I’m so glad you were able to enjoy your birthday too and that it was spent doing wonderful things. Many happy returns!

  19. What a blessing to be able to “work” at something you love and would choose anyway. I wish that for myself and everyone! Thanks for doing what you do – thanks for loving knitting and uniting all of us.

  20. We at Port Ludlow are thrilled that you were willing to spend your birthday with us! I hope it turned out as awesome for you as you made it for us. Happy Birthday!

  21. I have always had the same policy, and I’m working on my birthday this year too. Sadly, the day job isn’t nearly as fun as your work looks! Happy Birthday – I hope you have a fabulous time! xx

  22. I think you are authorized to take two days off when you get home. Because you “missed” your birthday (poor, poor thing….we can all see how you suffered)

    It’s only fair. A bank charges interest. Why shouldn’t you? >:-) Happy birthday, you lucky duck!

  23. Happy Birthday!
    You could call Luis and have him sing to you via Skype, not quite the same– but I bet he’d get a kick out of seeing his Aunt on “T.V.”.
    Or just wait until you get home– little ones love to sing Happy Birthday and blow out candles no matter what the actual day is.
    Glad you are making the world a better place by just being you.

  24. At my retirement party I told my friends and colleagues that I had been blessed with work I loved to do, people I loved to do it with, and got paid for it. It doesn’t get any better than that. Happy birthday, Stephanie!

  25. Hope you had a happy day on what would have been my parents’ 79th anniversary! And enjoy whichever day you get to celebrate with your family when you get home.

  26. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! For your birthday I have donated another $20. to the bike ride. I hope you make your goal and I am glad I can help if only a little at a time.

  27. I’m happy that even though you worked on your birthday, it was fun work with fun people. Many good wishes for a splendid year ahead, Steph!


  28. Happy Birthday for yesterday. What a way to spend it, with lots of fibery goodness. Hope you had a fabulous day!!

    Maybe Luis will have made you a yarn bday cake.
    It will be very cute when he sings you Happy Birthday.

  29. Happy Birthday, Stephanie. Geminis are a bargain for their spouses, Two persons in one. My birthday is the 16th. I’m way south of 47 though, along with some of my body parts that used to reside farther north. Life is good.

  30. I agree wholeheartedly with your policy. Happy Birthday. Soon after I had my daughter I decided I would work my birthday as it seemed too indulgent to take leave when I could use it for child care. I was in a job I really liked and figured I needed to ‘go in an adult way!’ Ughhhhhh the worst decision ever – I sent the day doing mundane things and hating the fact I was there.

    Valuable lesson learnt. I deserve a day off for me. I deserve to spend my birthday How I want to. Which typically, like you, is low maintenance happy on the sofa with my knitting. Oh yes my daughter will be taught this too.

    Big hugs have a fabulous birthday and many many more.

  31. I’ve had to travel for work on quite a few birthdays and I certainly don’t love my job. I must admit that I felt a tad sorry for myself that I had to travel for both of the last “big” birthdays (ages ending in 0). However, as a friend told me about celebrating birthdays, “anything within 6 months is fine”. So I took myself out to dinner (twice) 2 months after my last birthday. (yes, out by myself)
    Happy Birthday!

  32. Happy Birthday! The 14th is my birthday also and DH drove me to Central New York Fiber Festival (my car is ill) and patiently waited while I browsed and caught up with friends. Definitely a good day here!

  33. Happy happy birthday! I’m pretty stoked to say that yesterday, while you enjoyed a beautiful working birthday, I did too – birthing my 3rd baby – 3rd daughter, even! So you guys share a birthday! Awesome! And yes, at some point yesterday she was wearing knitted watermelon stripe socks that I knit for her. And, since I think you’d be excited, she has a great (and pretty much instant) latch ;-). Her name is Emily. 🙂

  34. Happy birthday ! I’m 61 and since I’m sixteen I followed the same rule as you ‘no working on my birthday’. It’s my dad who started this, he invited me to the restaurant for lunch during a school day. I felt so grown up! Still have my day off on my birthday, couldn’t disappoint my father, could I?

  35. Happy birthday, I’m glad you were born on that special day! I thought the bowl of green yarn was a bowl of pasta with pesto sauce…just sayin….you see where my mind is…lol.

  36. Your Passion is your Birthday treat. I will demo Machine Knitting at the State Fair on my birthday later this month. Sounds like a Party starter to me. Glad you enjoyed!

  37. Happy Birthday. Focus on the treats: that beautiful location, someone else cooking up great treats, nice soaking bathtub, and all things and people yarn.

  38. A very happy birthday to you, dear Stephanie! Here’s to many more birthdays filled with such joy and things that you love. 🙂 The world is so blessed having you in it and all the entertainment and inspiration you share with us, your knitting fans. My life is much richer in spirit, thanks to your being!!

  39. It sounds like you had a wonderful birthday!

    Even though you had to ‘work’ on your birthday it seems like, just maybe you may have enjoyed it!

  40. Happy birthday a few days late!

    Thank you for being on earth. I know you had very little to do with that (and so I thank your mum for growing and raising such a fabulous person), but this blog has gotten me through–or helped me get through–stuff, and been something that’s always, reliably, there, and I appreciate it and you and your lovely writing. It’s cozy… pretty much like the knitting you write about. I’m glad you’re you.

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