If you look at a past blog, I mentioned my group of friends who have shared each other’s lives for a very long time. A few years ago, we decided that exchanging gifts, actual material things that we purchased, is not as meaningful as giving each other time together while doing an “experience.”
As our lives got busier and busier, we realized that the most precious gift is when we set aside time to have an adventure. So, I thought I would inspire you to rethink the traditional birthday gift and think about ways to give some time and a shared experience to the people you love.
Our first birthday surprise “experience” was discovered by one of us who is truly interested in art, alternative thinking and any integrated experience that is available. She found a local worship center that has a labyrinth in their sanctuary and one in their garden. People are permitted to visit both mazes and walk them. The center holds monthly walks and discussion groups but when we had my birthday experience there, we were the only participants. When we arrived at the center of the labyrinth, we sat down and two of my friends who have gorgeous voices began to sing. The acoustics of the worship center are so perfect. The voices of my friends rose up, circled around us and then began to bounce off the pitched high ceiling and marble floor. What can I say? It was an “experience!” Then, we went outside to walk the labyrinth in the garden made out of bushes and tiles set in the grass. The sun hadn’t touched the area yet and we were sheltered by shadows and shade. It was quite pleasant even though it was the end of May in south Florida.
The next time we shared a birthday “experience” was to honor my friend who doesn’t cook. We looked around online for a cooking lesson/activity where we could learn, cook, and then eat what we make. Whole Foods Market north of us has a kitchen and program for people who want to learn how to cook. We were able to reserve a private class with our own chef who planned a vegan menu and birthday dessert and set us to work on various tasks as we learned and put together our lunch. The irony of our non-cook friend having this birthday experience resulted in hysterical laughter throughout our morning and early afternoon “experience.” We made so much food that we all had leftovers to bring home and share with our families.
For one of the other two close friends, we had an experience of a private dressage lesson at an amazing equestrian center that we discovered. Also, last year, we took one friend to see Wicked which was most meaningful because she watches The Wizard of Oz once a month and if we are not careful, whenever we are at her house we end up watching it together. There is something very compelling about Judy Garland and that movie for this friend.
So, now my birthday approaches and the teasing has begun. Of the four of us, I am the one who loves to sleep late, so I have been told that we have to be at my “experience” at five in the morning. I have also been told that my experience will be a naked one. I know they are teasing and just adding to the best way to celebrate together – give time and share an adventure!