How to Be Grateful on Your Birthday and Feel Better About Life

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So, it’s your birthday. And….. you are struggling with guilt because you don’t know how to be grateful on your birthday.

Why Do I Feel Ungrateful On My Birthday?

Maybe this past year has been a giant suck hole of frustration. I understand; it happens!

How To Feel Grateful When You Don’t

Birthdays come around every year and, with it, comes the opportunity to reflect and be grateful for the life we are living. On this special day of our lives, it is important that we take a pause and practice being grateful. Being grateful helps us appreciate what we have in our lives and can even affect our physical health.

Midlife Birthdays Can Be Depressing Reminders Of Aging

Okay, let’s normalize the fact that birthdays can lose their sparkle the older we get. Reading glasses, acid reflux and a general sense of your best days being behind you, a midlife birthday can be a bit of a downer.

Remember When Birthdays Were The Bomb?

We have to admit that for many years birthdays were awesome! Like the time you were seven years old and got your very favorite video gaming system—Mario Carts ALL DAY and then pizza for dinner. Major chefs kiss!! Muah!!

Or that time you were twenty-seven and you did jello shots all night with your friends. Then you woke up and ran a marathon! My dude, that was AMAZING!

How Much Gratitude Is Enough?

But now that you are in midlife, birthdays seem like a one-two punch of life’s disappointments followed by the relentless monster of aging. Toss in some regrets and it’s nearly impossible to feel good about your birthday.

Well, grab your reading glasses; it’s about to get all kinds of happy up in here!

How to Be Grateful On Your Birthday

Okay, let’s start with the basics. You are breathing, you have loved ones and you survived another year of generalized “being a human in the world” bullshit. I mean, that alone is worth celebrating!

Your birthday isn’t just one day out of the year when you show your appreciation for life; it should be every single day! Making gratitude part of your daily routine is an easy but powerful way to stay grounded amidst whatever life throws at you.

Gratitude Can Improve Your Daily Life

Take some time out of your day to reflect. This means setting aside some time alone or with close friends or family members—whatever makes you feel most comfortable—to think about all of the things that have happened in your life over the past year.

Think about all the memorable moments, both good and bad. Take this time to appreciate these moments and be thankful for them. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed by negative memories or emotions, take a few deep breaths and focus on something positive instead.

Start With Feeling Grateful For Your Life

Every morning before you start your day, take some time to write down three things that you’re thankful for; they don’t need to be extravagant or profound; they can even be basic needs like food, shelter, etcetera! Small gestures like this can transform the way you look at life and will help keep you feeling optimistic throughout the year until your next birthday rolls around again!

But if you need more reasons to be grateful on your birthday, here are my favorite suggestions.

You Are A Person of Courage

Admit it, you are a person of courage. Being courageous is not about skydiving or micro-dosing LSD. Some days it is enough to simply get out of bed!

And you did that today. You woke up and you got out of bed, searching for meaning and purpose in your life. Some days the smallest act is the most authentic symbol of being courageous.

When you choose discomfort over disconnection, you are a person of courage. Each time you say “no” to the lesser things of life (numbing, disconnection, or hiding), you are a person of courage. So, on this birthday, be grateful that you are indeed a person of courage.

You Are More Resilient Than You Realize

The second thing that will help you be grateful on your birthday is recognizing your resilience. Resilience is best defined in this folk parable: “Fall down six times, get up seven”. Every day life has things that can knock you on your butt. Things like taking a financial risk, ending a relationship, or sharing your crazy good idea with your stodgy boss.

The act of commanding our will to “stand back up” is the core of resilience. And if you have made it to midlife, you have chosen to get back up during difficult times. Thank yourself for being a person of resilience. Be grateful on your birthday that you have internal strength.

Be Grateful on Your Birthday That You Have An “Open Heart”

By the time we get to our culturally scheduled midlife crisis, we have realized that we are not perfect. In fact, we probably have more dysfunction than we like to admit. And that’s okay; welcome to the club of human frailty!

We all have flaws, and anxious moments, and sometimes we get stuck in our bullshit. But here’s the deal, on this birthday, be grateful that you are open-hearted.

When you decide to forgive, you are open-hearted. When you hear the insult but ignore it, you are open-hearted. Choosing to tolerate ideas and people that you disagree with makes you open-hearted.

Try Making A Gratitude Journal

Writing down what we’re grateful for is an effective way of both cementing it into our memory as well as giving ourselves a visual reminder of why we should be thankful for our lives. Whether it’s writing in a journal or creating a list on paper, write down all of the things that make you happy—from simple pleasures like having coffee with a friend to significant accomplishments like graduating college or getting married. Writing down your gratitude will help ground you in that feeling when life gets tough.

Go Ahead, Show Radical Generosity

Frankly, allowing other cars to merge in front of you in traffic is an act of an open heart. See how amazing you are? Be grateful on your birthday that you are choosing a life of forgiveness, which includes being slow to anger.

Lastly, Be Grateful On Your Birthday For The Gift of Wisdom

You have learned some stuff! Whether it came from the hard knocks club or you were the one person in the world that took GOOD advice from other folks, you have acquired wisdom.

Who hasn’t fantasized about being born with the wisdom of an 80-year-old person? (I mean. Maybe it is my own particular fantasy?) Remember when you wished you could talk to someone who could help you make the best decision?

Are You A Good Example Or A Terrible Warning?

Well, congratulations, you are now that person for other folks. Making it to midlife and beyond means your life is a container full of helpful and educational information.

Your life can be a good example or a terrible warning for others. Choose to be a guide and a light for those under your influence; we need more people willing to share their hard-earned wisdom.

Being Grateful On Your Birthday Means You Share Your Gifts

Want to know the best way to be grateful on your birthday? Take the gifts that you have earned and share them with us. For many people, another birthday is often a reminder of our natural fight against getting old.

But what if we re-framed our birthday as a day to celebrate our growth on the most challenging days?


Birthdays can be difficult, and depending on daily circumstances, we can feel a sense of regret. When we struggle to find a way to be grateful on our birthday, we need to take some time to reflect on a core truth.

Each birthday can be a deposit of the most precious thing, a life well lived. A yearly reminder that we have been courageous. Another moment to remember our resilience, we always get back up, no matter what knocks us down.

Midlife Is Magical

We choose to have an open heart for those around us, especially those who need more compassion. And we offer to share our prized wisdom with those that seek it.

Remember, Take Some Time To Be Grateful For Your Life

Taking the time to stop and appreciate what we are grateful for has immense power over how we view our lives, especially when done consistently throughout the year! On your birthday specifically, taking some time out of your day to reflect on how far you have come can do wonders for improving self-confidence as well as boosting overall mental health! So don’t forget to practice gratitude today – not just on your birthday – but every day!

And that, my friends, is how to be grateful on your birthday.

Happy Birthday! I honor your life well lived.

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Melane Ann is a writer, blogger, and life coach. In 2020, she turned her experience in midlife divorce and creating a new life for herself into midlifeismagical. With a master's in Marriage and Family Therapy, Melane focuses on helping women over 50 navigate their relationships and commit to healthy aging. She and her new husband share 7 children between them. Melane jokes that she has a black belt in blended families! In addition to her writing, Melane works virtually with her coaching clients from her home office.

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