Birthdaying With Chronic Illness

A photo of balloons in a living room, with the post title in the centre.

Pass the party poppers & grab a slice of cake. It’s time to talk birthdays, and ageing is one thing we all have in common. 

It’s different for everyone: A time of celebration, ‘just another day’, or a time of anxiety, disappointment and loneliness. With chronic illness, birthdays can be doubly challenging to navigate. 

The Having-Fun-Hype

There’s a lot of pressure on birthdays. You need something Instagram perfect and this is very pronounced on social media. As you get older, this transforms and the focus seems to be a lot more on having people close to you, a partner, your own children, dear friends. 

Photo of pineapples having a party, wearing sunglasses and party hats, surrounded by balloons.

Chronic illness changes the playing field in various ways. We can lose friends, our jobs and therefore our colleagues. We may not be well enough to go out. It may not be possible to plan an event in advance, or we may have to cancel at the last minute. Even those without illness can empathise with things like being alone and feeling lonely, the feeling of impending doom over ageing, feelings of regret, disappointment, frustration or worry. 

We want connections, perhaps even more so if we’re feeling low on a birthday. Not passing acquaintances or fair weather friends. Chronic illness can be isolating. We can yearn for those we want to spend time with, that cheer us up, that we can have deep, honest conversations with. Birthdays have a way of painfully showing us if we’re lacking those true connections. 

We feel we ‘should’ be doing all the things we hear about being birthday appropriate: drinking, eating cake, partying, interesting days out, activities with friends. There are also things we might really want to do, but physically aren’t up to doing. If you’re not partaking in these things, it can feel like a let down. Like you’re not good enough. Like you’re missing out. FOMO, anyone? 

This is where we need to change our perspective, adjust our expectations, assess what’s really important to us, and find ways to adapt.

Age Anxiety 

Remember when you were 14 and couldn’t wait to be 16? After 21, instead of wanting birthdays to come around more quickly, we’re desperately trying to keep them away. There are lots of question marks over the future with chronic illness, adding to the anxiety.

I’ve talked before about social rules and expectations, and how painful such pressures can be. There seem to be unwritten guidelines on what you ‘should’ be doing and ‘should’ have achieved at certain ages and points in your life. 

When a birthday rolls around, we often compare ourselves and our situations to others. More often than not, we end up feeling like we’re lacking and that we’re behind in life. 

Maybe we think of how we thought our lives ‘should’ look by the time we reached this age. I know my life went off the rails with chronic illness, and now it looks nothing like what I’d ever anticipated. 

I’m A Party Pooper

I find that feeling down about your birthday can set off a heap of guilt. Guilt is a common element with chronic illness, so it’s perhaps unsurprising. My inner dialogue last year was atrocious. It was the big 3-0 and it went down like a lead balloon.

Guilt sneaks in anywhere it possibly can, and it’s always a no-win situation. Layered on top of that is physical pain, illness, regrets, maybe even resentment, loss, hurt and everything in between. 

Figuring out what, if anything, to do on your birthday can cause far more hassle than it’s worth, too. With chronic illness, you may not get out and do as much any more, so any time you do something there’s more pressure for it to go perfectly, and yet your health is so unpredictable it’s impossible to plan. Before you know it, you’ve tied yourself up in knots. It’s exhausting.

But none of that really, truly matters. What you do is only part of it. It’s about facing what’s bugging you, facing what the deeper problems, issues, worries, regrets and frustrations are.

That’s life with chronic illness and chronic pain. Acknowledging things aren’t what they used to be, and that as we age it’s hard not to think of the years lost due to our health. The present is difficult and the future is murky, but there’s always hope for brighter days. 

Let’s say F*ck It to the pressures, the regrets and resentment, and screw it to the “should’s” and expectations.

Ageing : Numbers Versus Muffins

I hope the saying “you’re only as old as you feel” isn’t true, though I wouldn’t look too bad for a 110 year old. 

The sceptics would say that birthdays were invented by Hallmark to sell cards. It’s probably not far off in the sense that birthdays are social constructions. 

You get a new number each year. Personally, I think we should get survival medals rather than numbers. 

This number comes with it a heap of emotions, thoughts and expectations. But imagine instead of a number, you’re assigned a muffin flavour. If you’ve just turned Berrylicious Blueberry, next year you’ll be Banana. It seems far less anxiety-ridden when you take away the insignificant number, doesn’t it? 

Surprise!

Forget the numbers. On Friday (9th August), I’m turning Chocolate Chip! It’s going to be a very quiet one I imagine, but I have a new book to start & I’m grateful for home comforts.

I considered turning off the comments for this post as I’m not trawling for birthday wishes, but I’m interested in what others think of the birthday hype and how you navigate the challenges of birthdaying with chronic illness/pain. I’m also writing this to pull myself out of a bit of a funk, because I’m better at giving opinions and suggestions than ever taking my own advice! 

I’m hugely grateful for the blogging community and for the friends I’ve made here. Thank you. I’d be honoured if you’d join me in a piece of imaginary, but damn tasty, cake (gluten & dairy free if required) and a glass of something delicious. Cheers!

Photo of a cake on a stand, which is on a rainbow striped tabled. The cake is large with pink icing, and a silver unicorn on top.
Pretty, but I’m odd & don’t like cakes with jam. Mine is just chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate everything.

Tips for Birthdaying With Chronic Illness

Here are just a few thoughts on ways to better manage birthdays when living with chronic illness and/or pain :

  • Instead of trying to cram too much into one day, consider it a birthday week, or even a birthday month.
  • Think big (like a day trip, a get together, going to the cinema) and small (like a drink in your favourite coffee shop, a whole afternoon to snuggle with a good book, a special film night with snacks). Those small things can often be far more valuable to our wellbeing and mental health, while also being more budget-friendly.
  • The main point is to find things you can enjoy that are manageable, whatever they are. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.
  • Forget what you feel you ‘should’ be doing or what a birthday ‘should’ look like. 
  • As on any other day, prioritise rest and self-care. 
  • If you have friends & family who want to help you celebrate – Speak to them about any concerns you may have with their plans. You’re not letting anyone down, and they may not realise how you’re feeling. You can try to find ways together to manage any get-togethers or activities; they’d rather work around your health needs than have you struggle.
  • If you don’t have others to celebrate with – Enjoy your own company and see it as a chance to do whatever you want, whenever you want. 
  • If you feel lonely, reach out. Don’t suffer alone. The mental barriers of guilt and feeling unworthy can compound negative thoughts and feelings around birthdays. Samaritans has a free phone number – 116 123 – you can call any time. Speak to your tribe online, through blogs or social media groups. I’m always here if anyone needs to talk, too. 
  • Remember : You’re worth it. Give yourself permission to feel however you’re feeling. Practice gratitude. Treat yourself. Most importantly, be kind to yourself.

To all those with birthdays around this month – Happy Birthday!

Do you enjoy birthdays? How do you deal with the challenges of birthdaying with chronic illness and/or chronic pain?

Caz  ♥

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95 Comments

  1. August 8, 2019 / 3:46 pm

    I’m one of the lucky ones that have had good health all my life. I’m looking at 70 in a couple of years. My 30th birthday was the hardest birthday and after that I was good.

    Great tips on how to do birthdays with chronic illnesses. Things that many don’t even thing about.

    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday Dear Caz,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you.♪♪

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

    • August 11, 2019 / 10:24 am

      It’s heartening that after your 30th you found it smooth sailing on the birthday front. Thank you so much for the birthday song dear Sandee!  ♥
      xx

    • Marilyn Long
      August 14, 2019 / 5:59 pm

      Really interesting comment you made. I’ll be 69 next month and turning 30 was the only milestone I wasn’t exactly looking forward to. Anything to do with being a true 60s teen? Getting older – really old – still meant blue rinse and twin-set. Perhaps by 40 we knew that did not have to be! 😉

  2. August 8, 2019 / 3:47 pm

    Great advice, Caz! I love the idea of turning a different muffin flavor instead of a year older. 🙂 I also love the idea of thinking of small ways to celebrate along with the big ways. My birthday is coming up on the 19th, so I will be keeping this post in mind as I think of how to commemorate it. Sidenote–I wouldn’t have guessed you were 30. Happy Birthday!!

    • August 11, 2019 / 10:26 am

      Glad you like the muffin flavour idea, it really is more appealing than a number. Oooo not long until yours either then, Happy Birthday in advance! I’m 31 this year, aka chocolate chip. What flavour will you be? Thanks for the comment lovely  ♥
      xx

  3. August 8, 2019 / 4:05 pm

    Aww I totally get this, Caz. These are great tips for managing birthdays. I think getting rid of the word “should” is a big one! I also like the idea of spreading your birthday out and not just making it about one day. Therefore avoiding pressure and managing expectations. Wishing you the happiest of birthdays, however you choose to spend it xxx

    • August 11, 2019 / 10:27 am

      ‘Should’ is a loaded word and I think it should be thrown out of our vocab when dealing with chronic illness. Thank you for the lovely comment & birthday wishes. I hope you have a good week ahead, Emma  ♥ xx

  4. August 8, 2019 / 4:22 pm

    Happy chocolate chip day! Not sure how you knew that was my favorite (anything chocolate)but I’m taking advantage. I stopped counting years ago but I pick up the phone (yes phone) and talk to the very few close friends I have on that day, or anytime I need a lift.
    It’s not Happy Birthday! It’s more like Glad To Hear From You Day. Also, I’m washing my hands because a cake-like yours is finger-licking good. I’ll be asking for a piece to go. Hey, I’m spending the next few days at KaylaAnns blog party. Stop by for a minute and bring that cake. I’m reblogging the address tonight if you don’t have it.
    Living with a chronic illness is a bummer, but the support you created is THE BEST! Now, take advantage of your hard work and follow those wonderful support ideas you gave us!
    Happy Glad To Hear From You Day Caz! 😘

    • August 11, 2019 / 11:02 am

      You can have as much cake as you like dear friend! Catching up with friends on your birthday, or times you need a lift, is a lovely idea, we need those kinds of connections. Your comment has lifted my spirits & warmed my heart, it means a lot. Thank you! xx

  5. August 8, 2019 / 4:41 pm

    I’m with you- birthdays can be tiring! I get the isolation thing but I struggle with even just my partner and my dad being two people who want to see me on The Day and feeling like I’ve got to be on form for both of them. What about myself, eh?
    Love the idea of being a different flavour. I’ve just turned vegan and have found an *amazing* gooey chocolate cake so I’m with you on the no jam front! It is just another day though…I wouldn’t wasn’t too be as old as I feel sometimes but with age comes wisdom and I think us spoonies are pretty wise 😀

    • August 11, 2019 / 11:39 am

      I’m sorry you know all too well what it’s like to struggle doing things, and even the basics with a few people close to you can be tough. Ooo gooey choc cake, sounds good! Is it home made? Absolutely agree there, us spoonies are wise & I think pretty darn tough, too. Thanks for the comment lovely!  ♥
      xx

    • August 11, 2019 / 11:49 am

      Aw the video was sadly ‘unavailable’ but I’m sure it was very thoughtful, so thank you! I hope you have a good week ahead lovely 😊
      xx

  6. August 8, 2019 / 4:48 pm

    First of all, Caz, here’s wishing you a very happy chocolate chip day! I hope your birthday is what you want and need it to be, whatever that is.

    You make an excellent point about the whole social media thing and FOMO regarding birthdays because of it. As you know, I’m a *few* years older than you, and have never felt that pressure around birthdays. My sweet hubby always does something special for my birthday, but we often spend our birthdays quietly, just a nice meal out if we feel up to it, and I always make him his choice of birthday dessert. We’re not as big on birthday cakes as some other things. This year he chose ‘dirt’ which sounds terrible but tastes delicious.😊

    Thanks for sharing another great post. Sending love and hugs your way!

    • August 11, 2019 / 12:59 pm

      Aww thank you, that’s very kind! I didn’t do anything for my birthday but I did start a good new book & had a slice of cake, so that was nice. It’s great you don’t feel pressure around birthdays and can enjoy the time with your hubby, who sounds like a keeper 😉I have to ask though, what’s ‘dirt’? I’m intrigued! I hope you’re keeping as well as possible, Terri, and that the week ahead treats you kindly  ♥
      xx

      • August 13, 2019 / 3:30 pm

        ‘Dirt’ is a mixture of French Vanilla pudding, cream cheese, and whipped topping mixed together. Once you have that bottom layer in your dish, you cover that with Oreos that have been processed in the food processor to look like dirt. When my son requested it for his birthday when he was young, I put gummy worms in it.😁 I’m not a huge fan of Oreos because I’m not crazy about that big blob of filling, but when they’ve been pulverized and put on top of the pudding mixture they’re delicious!

  7. August 8, 2019 / 5:00 pm

    I’m with you on the having a survival badge. I’ve always considered it a testimony to God of how many He has allowed us to survive. Don’t hide an age! Claim those years! 🙂
    I personally dread birthdays. There is always that strenuous weight of expectations of the plans others have for you that I really do not care for. I love the idea of just taking it easy and enjoying some kind of time together. Like even just going to a favorite place to eat or staying in and watching a favorite movie.
    Our family does have one stress relieving plan in not considering it just THAT day one to celebrate. Lives can be so busy and health too unreliable. The PERSON should be celebrated.
    I pray you have a blessed Chocolate birthday, Caz! Eat the whole cake! You can’t get sick with that one so you can actually “have your cake and eat it too! 😉 Me and God love you!

    • August 11, 2019 / 1:01 pm

      That’s a good way of viewing it, claiming those years & celebrating the survival and gift of life. I’m sorry you know the pressures and expectations that come with them though, but you’re right, with not focusing on just one day, and that it’s the person not what you do that counts. The cake is going down a treat, I’ll save you a slice! Thank you for the lovely comment, I hope you have a good week ahead  ♥ xx

      • August 20, 2019 / 10:29 am

        Sorry I missed this comment! I didn’t see it in my notifications! 🙁
        Hope you enjoyed your cake, Caz! Thanks for saving me a slice! 🙂
        And I don’t think I properly said, Happy Birthday! Me and God love you! <3

  8. August 8, 2019 / 5:18 pm

    Happy Birthday!!! great tips here even for those without any physical issues. I do hope you have a fabulous, amazing, blessed birthday!!! much love to you, happiness, health and prosperity.

    • August 11, 2019 / 1:06 pm

      I’m glad you liked the tips, and thank you for the very kind wishes! I hope you’re as well as possible, Masha. Enjoy that book you discovered recently! 😊 xx

  9. August 8, 2019 / 5:31 pm

    A very happy birthday to you, Caz! 🥳🎈🎂

    I get to sing to you now! 🎵

    Happy Birthday to you,
    Happy Birthday to you,
    Happy Birthday dear Caaaz,
    Happy Birthday to you!

    Hip hip hooray! Oh, for she’s a jolly good fellow… 🎵

    • August 11, 2019 / 1:12 pm

      Aww I loved the singing, thank you! That put a smile on my face. Thank you lovely. I hope you have a good week ahead 😄xx

  10. Ashley
    August 8, 2019 / 5:39 pm

    Yay for chocolate chip! I could certainly go for one of those!

    • August 11, 2019 / 1:12 pm

      Mmm nom nom! 😄

  11. August 8, 2019 / 6:17 pm

    Dear Caz, a very very happy birthday to you! How fortunate we all are to have you in the world with us!!!

    I started to copy a few of your lines so I could paste them here & tell you how much I loved them — then realized I’d be copy/pasting the entire post! You definitely have the wisdom of a 110-year-old 🙂

    dunno if we have samaritan phone no here in the states – what a marvelous thing — how does it work?

    since I had cancer, have learned that happiness is something to fight for, & that every day is a gift. that said, I have my moments… we’re all human… I am soooo hard on myself — I can easily feel upset with myself over feeling upset, which is why these types of honest heartfelt posts are so valuable.

    as for having to keep plans tentative, I’d like to write from the standpoint of being fortunate to be in great health: I find that I truly can’t emotionally handle friendships where people keep me hanging. by that, I mean that it’s ok so long as there’s lots of consideration & communication — lots of real attempts to not forget about me, write me off in favor of the crisis of the moment. if a friend says, ‘I’m not sure how I’ll feel — can I let you know by such & such time’ works wonders! also, as much lead time as possible when someone realizes that things aren’t going to work out

    you truly are a dear, dear Caz!!!

    • August 11, 2019 / 2:50 pm

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart for such kind words, you’re a beautiful soul 🌷I’m sorry you know what it’s like with that back and forth guilt and upset cycle, and as you say, there can be good days and bad days where it gets a bit overwhelming. I want to be honest in my posts, because I think we can all struggle, and that’s okay. The Samaritans is a charity with phone lines that are run by amazing volunteers; if you’re lonely, feeling low and just need someone to listen, there’ll always be someone there to answer. I hope you have something similar in the States. Thank you again for your lovely comment, you rock! I hope the week ahead treats you kindly  ♥

  12. August 8, 2019 / 6:22 pm

    That cake sucked!!!!! Gluten Free……I’m going for the chocolate chip cookie! I understand, last month I turned 56, numbers don’t matter to me because if I went with how I felt we would be in triple digits. This year I was getting ready for my surgery and in loads of pain. When my husband asked me what I wanted…I said money. He put money in my account, bought a card and a cup cake. That was perfect for me. I haven’t had a go out celebration dinner in over seven years. I don’t recall the years due to my dementia but I don’t think I missed anything. My husband was there and when my grandparents were alive they would call and sing happy birthday. I do miss their call.
    Send you air hug!

    • August 11, 2019 / 2:54 pm

      I’ll save the cake for myself & send you a batch of cookies, and because I’m a nice person I’ll buy them from a shop rather than attempt to make them myself and risk giving you food poisoning 😉 I think money can be a good option when it’s something that’s needed and can be useful, rather than buying something just for the sake of buying. The valuable gift after that is the time with that person. I’m sorry you don’t have the call from your grandparents any more, but I hope you can think of them singing to you even though they’re not here & remember how much you’re loved. Thank you for the heartfelt comment. Much love to you, dear Melinda  ♥
      xx

  13. August 8, 2019 / 7:24 pm

    Have a wonderful chocolate chip day, dear Caz! Like you say, the most important thing is to have the birthday we feel at ease with.

    • August 11, 2019 / 2:55 pm

      Thank you, Viola! For me it was a good new book, blankets & cake 😊 I hope you have a good week ahead! xx

    • August 11, 2019 / 2:55 pm

      Aw thank you Heather, and you too, Dizzy! Hope you’re both well & having a relaxing weekend  ♥
      xx

  14. August 8, 2019 / 8:31 pm

    Happy chocolate chip birthday and be like The Queen – have two birthdays; no pressure to have a special day go well because you have another one coming up later.

    • August 11, 2019 / 2:56 pm

      Birthday like the Queen, I love that idea! Good thinking 😉
      Thanks, Janet – I hope you have a lovely week ahead xx

  15. August 8, 2019 / 9:49 pm

    Caz, I for one, am grateful that you left this post open for comments.

    I don’t have a birthday coming up, but this advice is fitting for any and all special occasions. In January 2013, I had a slip and fall accident that ruined 9 disks in my back. Ever since that moment, I have felt severe pain in my lower back and excrutiating pain in my neck from a whiplash affect as I was falling. I don’t remember how it feels to be pain free. Yet I consider myself a lucky man, because I got up and walked away on my feet.

    Doctors recommended opiates, two doctors wanted me to inject morphine nightly. Of course, I rejected their insane suggestions.
    I have learned to accept it and release (express) my pain through poetry.

    I am very grateful for this post. Reading it, I felt as if you wrote it just for me. It breaks my heart that a young beautiful woman (no disrespect intended) such as yourself suffers from any pain. You are an amazing example for women. And for anyne who is painfully challenged. If pain could be transferred I would happily take on yours so you could live painfree. (Mine really couldn’t be any worse).

    From the deepest cavern in my heart, I wish you a wonderful Chocolate Chip Day. May the day provide you with a few painless moments and peace. xo

    P.S. I purchased the facial spa for my daughter. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • August 11, 2019 / 3:42 pm

      I’m really not sure what to say to your comment, I’m deeply honoured and very touched. But I’m so sorry you have to live with such pain. That accident sounds awful, and I get where you’re coming from with no remembering how it feels to be pain free. It’s odd, isn’t it? So you don’t take any prescription painkillers..? Your poetry is so beautiful and often bittersweet, so you do an incredible job of letting the pain out through words. I wish some day you can get a glimpse of being pain-free, hell, a lot more than a glimpse because who knows, miracles can happen. If they’re going to happen, I hope they happen for you. You’re a beautiful soul. I’m very grateful to have ‘met’ you in the blogging world. Thank you again my friend. You’ve truly living my spirits today  ♥
      xx

  16. August 8, 2019 / 10:40 pm

    I love the idea of “survival medals”😂 Another blogger I saw once proposed “leveling up” like a video game! I am at level 52! sounds better than being another year older😍

    I do hope you had a great day💕

    • August 11, 2019 / 3:43 pm

      Levelling up, I love that! Congrats on levelling up to 52, that deserves a very shiny medal 😉Thanks for the comment lovely, I hope you have a good week ahead xx

  17. August 9, 2019 / 12:06 am

    Really great points and I liked your list. I don’t have chronic illness or pain, I am just a socially awkward introvert and I found I could identify with many parts here. I don’t like celebrating my birthday either – more because I hate attention but then the flip side – if it ISN’T celebrated then I get down like you mention and I go through “the should’s” I hope you find the best way to celebrate! Hope it is a happy one!

    • August 11, 2019 / 3:51 pm

      I think, as a fellow introvert, these things can be hard to navigate without the pain/illness side of things, you’re absolutely right. I probably should have included that in my post because it’s certainly not limited to those with illness. I’m sorry you know that guilt/kind of resentment side of things, too, but at the same time it’s almost comforting to know we’re not alone in feeling like that. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Robyn  ♥ I hope you & Declan have a good week! xx

  18. August 9, 2019 / 4:39 am

    Happy birthday! I have a birthday this month! 🙂 And three of my favorite bloggers (including you) have had birthdays this month too. I’m a social introvert; I like being around people every once in a while, but I still find it draining. Usually one of my big social events of the year is my birthday party at some point in mid-August, but this year it’s going to be a small crowd. I picked the date a month ago, but all of a sudden a lot of people have backed out because of other plans, and in general my social circles are shrinking and I’ve had an unprecedented number of friends moving away recently or will soon. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be lonely and depressing… and even if it is, maybe that’s what I need this time of year.

    • August 11, 2019 / 3:55 pm

      It’s a popular month for birthdays! I’m an introvert too and you’re right, it can be draining, so we come to appreciate our own company. When’s your birthday? HAPPY BIRTHDAY (in advance 😉) The party sounds like a fab idea but it’s a shame some people aren’t able to make it; you can still have a good time and less people will mean it’s hopefully more cosy, less tiring and you’ll have more quality time with those who are able to attend. If I were in the same country I’d be there with bells on! Thanks for the lovely comment, Dennis. xx

  19. August 9, 2019 / 10:15 am

    I hope you enjoy being chocolate chip!!! Next year, I think I will be apple and cinnamon. The apple used will probably have fallen from the tree and become a bit battered and bruised, but the inside is still good.

    I love your tips. I totally agree, people should do what they want, rather than what they feel they should do. Celebrations of any kind can be difficult when you have a chronic illness.

    Happy birthday, Caz. I hope you have a lovely day, whatever you do. I’ll definitely share a piece of imaginary gf birthday cake with you. Actually, I might make it a real one. Any excuse for cake.

    • August 11, 2019 / 4:02 pm

      Ooo apple & cinnamon, good choice! I’m glad you liked the post, I think it’s good to know we’re not alone if we’re feeling a bit grumpy around our birthdays when it’s a time we ‘should’ be happy and busy celebrating. Thank you for your lovely comment. Any excuse for cake is a good excuse, I’ll send some your way! 😉
      xx

  20. August 9, 2019 / 2:02 pm

    I love ya to pieces Caz! HAPPY CHOCOLATE CHIP DAY!!!!! 🎂 Gotta tell you, I absolutely adore your idea about muffin flavors vs some arbitrary number. It always saddens me when someone feels anxiety over their age. Part of the reason is because they’ve bought in to a societal lie that says “this is how you should look, feel or be.” What a bunch of crap! I tell you what – I’ve earned EVERY single one of my white hairs, body changes and anything else. We better be celebrating. Like you said, every year does deserve a survival badge. Perfectly stated!

    In all sincerity, my most heartfelt thoughts are with you today. I hope whatever you decide to do makes you feel special, loved and perfect just the way you are – because YOU ARE. No pressures – all of that mess is unnecessary and a complete waste of energy. You celebrate being awesome you, no matter what others’ uninformed opinions should ever try to be. 🤗

    • August 11, 2019 / 4:07 pm

      Aww bless you, thanks Holly! I’m glad you’re with me in saying screw it to the societal lies where expectations are concerned. Our bodies, actions, ages, should be celebrated; it’s our live, and we need to be the ones to choose how to live it for ourselves. Thank you for such a lovely comment, I really appreciate it!  ♥  I hope you have a good week ahead xx

  21. August 9, 2019 / 2:06 pm

    Congratulations on achieving Chocolate Chip.

    • August 11, 2019 / 4:08 pm

      Thanks lovely! I hope you’re as well as possible & that you’re having a good weekend 😊
      xx

  22. Svet
    August 9, 2019 / 2:14 pm

    Dear Caz,
    Happy birthday! Your beautiful writing is so inspiring. Enjoy your special day. Svet

    • August 11, 2019 / 4:14 pm

      Aw thank you, Svet, I appreciate it! I hope you’re well – Have a great week ahead  ♥

  23. August 9, 2019 / 4:35 pm

    Happy birthday Caz! 🙂 xxx

    • August 11, 2019 / 4:15 pm

      Thanks lovely! Hope you’re okay, and having a relaxing weekend  ♥ xx

  24. August 9, 2019 / 10:20 pm

    Many Happy Returns, Caz. I hope that, however you’ve spent your birthday, it’s been filled with love, laughter – and an abundance of chocolate chips. xx

    • August 11, 2019 / 4:16 pm

      An abundance of chocolate anything sounds pretty good! Thanks very much, Liz 😊 I hope you’re well and that you have a lovely week ahead xx

  25. August 9, 2019 / 11:35 pm

    First of all Happy Birthday and Congrats on making it to this level (chocolate chip). I hope you did what you wanted to do today, even if you decided to sleep. 🙂

    • August 11, 2019 / 4:33 pm

      Choc chip is a tasty level 😂 I started on a good new book & had some cake, so it wasn’t too bad. Thank you lovely! I hope you’re having a restful weekend xx

  26. Larry "Dutch" Woller
    August 10, 2019 / 2:19 pm

    Happy Birthday!!.. may all your presents and the day (and every day) be filled with love and happiness!!… 🙂

    May the sun shine all day long
    Everything go right, nothing go wrong
    May those you love bring love back to you
    And may all the wishes you wish come true
    May your troubles be less
    Your blessings be more
    And nothing but happiness
    Come through your door
    (Irish Saying)

    • August 11, 2019 / 4:35 pm

      That’s a lovely saying, thank you for sharing it. And thank you for such a kind comment, I really appreciate it! I hope you’re as well as possible and that the week ahead treats you kindly 😊 x

  27. August 10, 2019 / 4:24 pm

    wishing you many happy bdays
    with or without the parties, Caz!
    i quit having them & enjoy
    being the same age every year 🙂

    • August 11, 2019 / 4:36 pm

      That’s a good idea, not having birthdays & staying forever young! 😉 Thanks lovely, have a great week ahead xx

  28. August 10, 2019 / 5:37 pm

    I’m sorry I’m a day late to your birthday, but happy birthday anyway! 🙂 What you said here is so important. I’m a party pooper, too, but I like the advice you give. xo

    • August 11, 2019 / 4:53 pm

      Aww even if you were a month late it’s very kind of you, thank you for the lovely comment and I’m glad you liked the tips, fellow party pooper 😉 Have a lovely week ahead, Kymber xx

  29. August 10, 2019 / 7:11 pm

    I totally went against the grain and just spent my birthday day with my parents and my significant other. I didn’t want a big party and they respected that. I wish you an amazing birthday year, Caz xo

    • August 11, 2019 / 5:29 pm

      I think that’s a good idea, Christy, the nearest & dearest for quality time and to keep things simple & enjoyable. Thank you for the lovely wishes! I hope you’re having a relaxing weekend 😊 xx

  30. August 10, 2019 / 7:56 pm

    Wise words as always. I hate my birthday generally. I think because it was so special as a kid but now it’s just an ordinary day.

    Happy birthday for yesterday and I wish you all the best for the coming year x

    • August 11, 2019 / 5:57 pm

      I think it can get like that as we get older, with birthdays losing their sense of awe and fun. It’s a shame. We need to bring back a little youthful energy & childish fun into our lives! Thanks for the lovely wishes, Jo. I hope the week ahead is a good one for you 😊
      xx

  31. August 11, 2019 / 1:36 am

    Luu: “We realize you’re not trawling for birthday wishes, but …”
    Chaplin: “… Happy birthday!”
    Charlee: “Slightly belated!”
    Lulu: “Now let’s talk about those chocolate chip cookies …”

    • August 11, 2019 / 5:57 pm

      Aww haha thank you very much you two! I hope you’re behaving yourselves 😉
      Have a great week ahead! xx

  32. August 11, 2019 / 10:53 am

    I love this. From the age of 16 I’ve dreaded my birthdays as I’ve always felt immense pressure to have a good time and it can get quite lonely for me as I’ve never had many friends or a close family. My last 2 birthdays I’ve been well enough to go out and do things despite the chronic illness, I know i’m lucky for that, but I still have that certain thing that stops me from enjoying myself wholeheartedly. Can’t explain it. But this post is so lovely to read! I hope you had a lovely birthday Caz, regardless of how you spent it x

    Coralle xx

    • August 11, 2019 / 5:59 pm

      I’m sorry you get that feeling too, Coralle. But, I’m glad you’ve been able to do something for your birthdays recently, even if it’s not exactly what you would have liked to do because of illness. I’m glad you liked the post, it’s just a shame you can relate. Thank you for the lovely comment. Take good care of yourself & I hope this week is kind to you  ♥ x

  33. August 11, 2019 / 4:30 pm

    Happy belated birthday 🙂
    I stopped counting when I hit 30, and when anyone asks I just say I’m 30 ish: The number doesn’t feel relevant any more.
    I’ve never liked parties, and I don’t commit to doing things ‘on the day’ because I’m an introvert and don’t always want to. (Surprise parties are my worst nightmare!) I often pick a day near my birthday when I feel like going out, and because it’s short notice it’s usually just me and my partner 🙂

    • August 11, 2019 / 6:00 pm

      30-ish, I like that 😉 I’m going to do that too & remain forever young! I think your more laid-back approach is definitely the way to go with picking a day when you feel like doing something and spending some quality time with your partner (and now Merlin, of course!) Thanks for the comment lovely xx

  34. August 12, 2019 / 8:45 am

    Happy Birthday to you,
    Happy Birthday to you.
    Happy Birthday dear Caz,
    Happy Birthday to you!
    Wishing you a brighter year ahead filled with happiness and better health.

    • August 12, 2019 / 10:15 am

      Aww that’s very sweet of you, thank you! I hope you’re keeping as well as possible & that this week treats you kindly  ♥
      xx

  35. August 12, 2019 / 11:56 am

    Great advice, Caz! Wish you a loved year! #stayBlessed❤

    • August 12, 2019 / 1:12 pm

      Glad you liked the post, Richa, thanks! I hope you have a great week lovely  ♥
      xx

  36. August 12, 2019 / 8:27 pm

    Too late for birthday wishes but never too late to send you a virtual muffin – toffee flavoured perhaps? xx

    • August 13, 2019 / 5:18 pm

      Oooo now that sounds delicious – thanks Eilidh! I hope you’re well & having a good week so far 😊
      xx

  37. August 13, 2019 / 4:12 pm

    So sorry I missed your special day, Caz. But I’m sure you are taking your own advice and have declared this to be a full chocolate chip month which means that I’m not late in sending many good chocolatey wishes and many thanks for this thoughtful and generous post. Take good care 🎂 🎂 🎂 😄

    • August 13, 2019 / 5:12 pm

      It’s never late, Sandra, I really appreciate the lovely comment & birthday wishes! I hope you enjoy lots of sweet treats this month too, because there’s always an excuse for chocolate 😉xx

  38. Julie de Rohan
    August 14, 2019 / 10:44 am

    I love your birthday tips and I don’t think it can be said enough – it’s your birthday so you can spend it any way you wish. If we can’t prioritize self-care on our birthdays, then when can we? I know you weren’t fishing for birthday wishes, Caz, but I hope you had a lovely one. Congratulations on being a chocolate chip!

    • August 14, 2019 / 4:06 pm

      Very true about self-care and birthdays, and how we should feel free from pressures and spend it however we wish. Thank you for your kind comment & birthday wishes – very much appreciated, Julie  ♥ I hope you’re keeping as well as possible & having a good week so far lovely xx

  39. Marilyn Long
    August 14, 2019 / 6:01 pm

    Great reflective post. Says what we all need to remember. Thank you. X

    • August 17, 2019 / 12:08 pm

      I’m glad it’s something you could identify with, thank you, Marilyn. I hope you’re having a lovely weekend xx

  40. August 17, 2019 / 1:01 am

    Hope your birthday was extra special… Thanks for the wonderful tips that everyone can reflect upon and realize we’re not alone… <3

    • August 17, 2019 / 12:13 pm

      I hope it can help others feel less along in their thoughts & feelings around birthdays. Thank you, Bette! I hope you’re keeping as well as possible & that it’s a relaxing weekend for you 🌷
      xx

  41. August 23, 2019 / 1:18 am

    Hope you had a lovely birthday! It’s so true; when we were kids, we couldn’t wait to hurry up and grow up. And then we discovered that being adults is not all it’s cracked up to be. But fortunately, the joys of life have absolutely nothing to do with numbers. It’s all about the flavored muffins, right? With each year, there’s a new and exciting flavor to look forward to. 😉

    • August 23, 2019 / 10:58 am

      Absolutely, it’s all about the exciting new flavours to look forward to! Thanks for the great comment lovely – I hope you have a great weekend ♥ xx

  42. August 24, 2019 / 4:14 pm

    I love the idea with the different flavours and hope you’re enjoying chocolate chip!

    I won’t pretend to know how it feels to have chronic illness, but I think to some extent we can all get a bit caught up in expectations. Even if we can physically do something, it doesn’t mean we enjoy it. I’ve been doing the birthday week thing for a number of years now. I don’t like big groups of people, so I plan a couple of things that don’t feel overwhelming.

    I don’t want to feel happy about other people’s sadness, but I think it’s also good to remember that at least some of the people looking like they have their perfect life together in an instagramable post might not actually be that happy on the inside and the picture might just have been for show. Sometimes things aren’t what they seem in the picture.

    I’d love a slice of that virtual cake if there’s any left – chocolate all the way is the best way to go! XX

    • August 24, 2019 / 5:52 pm

      Although I wrote this from a chronic illness perspective, so much can apply to anyone when it comes to those pressures and expectations, or to disappointment or loneliness. You’re right about how looks can be deceiving, too; what we see on social media is only part of the story, it’s only what someone wants to show us. A big slice of chocolate cake for you coming up! Thanks for the lovely comment ♥ xx

  43. August 25, 2019 / 1:26 am

    Sometime in the 70’s my younger brother came home 100% physically challenged with a TBI, spinal injury, and permanent PTSD. I have suffered a variety of traumas in my life and so I have it too, plus I have had cancer, some other surgeries and fibromyalgia when I was working at jobs I hated. So I know what it to have chronic illnesses, and I sure feel for you. My own illnesses and seeing my younger brother like that gave me the heart to help others with physicaL/developmental/emotional challenges, and I have done that for a lot of years, so I truly empathize with you. I worked as a substitute paraeducator, aide, and teacher for a good 15 years, and I ran a small nonprofit to help physically challenged fiber artists for another 10 years, all without hardly a cent in my own pocket, but the physicAlly challenged folks who helped me worked hard with me and we made that work for 10 years before we both had to drop out due to more physical challenges than we anticipated putting a stop to everything for a bit. So I definitely have a heart for anyone suffering with a chronic illness. I have a story to tell about what we call “invisible challenges.”

    We put on a special exhibit to honor the artists who have physical challenges and it had a good theme. Most of our exhibits ended up being traveling exhibits as we would get them to the gallery, museum or quilt show, and then they would ship them around to other exhibits and when they were done, they just shipped them back to us, and we made sure the artists got them back. Anyway, all of a sudden I started getting all these calls from women with things like depression, fibromyalgia, etc. that no one thinks are real. So women were asking me if things like fo chronic depression or fibro were considered physical challenges, and I always answered the same: “Well, honey, it sure isn’t an out-of-body experience, is it?” And they would laugh and enter the challenged, glad to just have others acknowledge what was real in their lives. I appreciate that what we can’t necessarily see can still hurt or make us feel like hell. So keep up the good work and know that my heart is with all of those who suffer, visible or not. It is still real, very real. Even if you celebrate your birthday alone, you are sacred as we all are who were put onto this earth, so stand tall even when you have pain. You are a sacred human, and that means that pain or not, you belong here. Hugs and blessings always, Anne

    • August 25, 2019 / 4:52 pm

      You, and your brother, have certainly been through a heck of a lot. I take my hat off to you for persevering and using what you’re experiencing to help others. As for the exhibit, that’s such a fantastic idea! It’s a tricky area when it comes to invisible illnesses, and I think increasing awareness that there can be far more than meets the eye can only be a good thing. It’s definitely needed, and chronic invisible conditions can be very isolating. Thank you for such an incredibly thoughtful comment, I truly do appreciate the time you spent in writing it as it means a lot to me. Thank you, Anne  ♥
      xx

  44. November 5, 2019 / 6:53 pm

    I really struggle with the expectations of celebrating birthdays, especially my own. Your post struck a chord with me. Even when I am ‘well’ my life long battle with chronic depression and anxiety can be triggered by these fun events. Most friends don’t really understand and I have given up trying to explain. Eventually I compromise and do something special with my husband – then a girly celebration like lunch. Age – not a problem!

    • November 7, 2019 / 5:07 pm

      I’m so sorry you know what it’s like, how difficult these ‘fun’ times can be. I’m glad you do usually manage something with the ones you love; sometimes I think birthdays can be a lot to do with those people, too, as they want you to have a good time and they want to show you how much they care. Thank you for your comment, Kerry! 😊 xx

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