When it’s your birthday, what wish will you make? Before deciding, unwrap these thoughts first.

Having just celebrated a birthday, I did a lot of reflection about what the passing of a year means and what to really wish for. With each year, we are to get a little wiser, more patient, forgiving and understanding. Getting older means becoming wiser, right? Right.

We have to celebrate each year and milestone with a feeling we are lucky to be alive. That would be the most basic form of appreciation and gratitude. And then hopefully, we have special people who remember us, which is not measured by how many Facebook messages one receives or Instagram likes you get on a photo. While I do relish in the thoughtfulness of social media friends, all my true friends call, send cards, and now even text. It does not matter whether or not the outreach is high tech or old fashioned, the personal sentiments are what matter—little gestures from those to whom we feel close make all the difference on a birthday or any day. To me, that is the best gift one can get.

I feel so sentimental about the little things because my mother who I cherish and aspire to be has forgotten my birthday for the past several years due to dementia. She and my father were always my first phone call of the day, which made me complete, but all of those years I took it for granted.

We all have a tendency to want material things hoping that presents will fill one’s heart. I have learned with the passing of the years, that the words, calls and kind thoughts are more valuable.

My husband has also embraced that and buys me three cards every birthday. Three. To be opened at specific times. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. He pours over every word and weaves in funny sayings and inside jokes from the past and present. I think it takes him a couple of hours all in to formulate his witty and heartfelt messages. Sometimes I get a bonus from Walgreens or CVS—not quite gag gifts but you would be surprised what you can find with a little looking. I always know that there will be a surprise awaiting.

This tradition has now somehow replaced the calls from my parents. Because they kept it simple, showed boundless love, and always remembered what mattered, I felt special. So very special. I need nothing more than to be thought of (except a little dessert). So my husband has taken the reins and now in some ways their place of making me feel special. I am pretty easy to please. This year, I had dinner at home with my husband and daughter. It was not fussy and yet perfect. No frills. Just how my parents would have celebrated with me.

So it doesn’t take a lot. In fact, it takes just a little to fulfill many of our needs. No purse, dress, or jewelry matter. It’s just a bonus. It’s like a cake. If you have a good recipe and batter you don’t even really need an over-the-top frosting. If you get something decadent with a cherry on top, dig in and appreciate every bite. Or, you may be satisfied with some whipped cream and strawberries. Whatever your desires, don’t lose sight of what really fills and fulfills you. So when you close your eyes to make a wish, wish for good people around you. Unwrap whatever you get with glee (drugstore bought or not) and try to make every occasion feel exceptional.

Remember, all you need is love. Love is all you need. One, two, three, blow….

Roopa Weber
About Roopa Weber
Roopa Weber is a blogger and children’s book author who aspires to inspire better lives through kindness and gratitude. Her motivation came from the values and love provided by her mother. Roopa wanted to find an avenue to instill her mother’s wisdom in her own daughter and carry the message forward generationally. And, so she wrote.