My birthday ended last Friday.  It lasted about a month.  I asked for ‘experiences’, not gifts, as I have more material goods than I’ll ever need.  I enjoyed it a lot more than usual.  Here’s what happened.

My family asked me what I wanted for my birthday.  I’d been observing grandchildren’s birthdays, where the child is so swamped with gifts, they and their parents can’t even appreciate them all, let alone ever use them.  My one lifetime panda bear soft toy has become 20 of everything, and ‘big’ is necessary to show how much you love the child.

So I asked for ‘an experience’. That proved very difficult to interpret, so I suggested that lunch with each child would be a suitable ‘experience’.  Really, I was seeking one-to-one time with them, which is very difficult for them in their busy lives.

Overall, I ended up with three lunches and two dinners (and one bottle of wine!).  Each meal was delightful in its own way (except for the $79 parking ticket I got for overstaying my welcome in an inner city suburb, due to having such a good time!).  The focused conversations with people that I rarely am able to sit down with uninterrupted for more than a few moments, the joy of being treated, instead of being the treater, was much more valuable to me than any material gift I might have received (OK, a video of Richmond’s finals series and Grand final win after 37 years might have competed…).

I’m certainly going to ask for this again.  Who knows, the gifts might be more imaginative but, even if they aren’t, one-on-one focused time with my children and friends is hard to beat.


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