An Unforgettable Birthday Dedicated to Everyone Else
The 360 Retrospective Love Affair
As an event planner, coordinating an event for myself is not always appealing. However, my 30th birthday was different; I wanted this to be special! I never would have expected the entire celebration to impact my entrepreneurship road so powerfully.
I love birthdays. For my 12th birthday, I made a one-month paper countdown in colored pencils and Crayola magic markers along the living room wall of my grandmother’s apartment. Each day, I ceremoniously ripped down one sheet of paper and then loudly announced the number of days remaining until my special day. For my 25thbirthday, I jumped out of a plane and skydived with 10 of my closest friends. For my 30th, I designed the “360 Retrospective Love Affair.” What does that mean?
| 360 |
My birthday is on March 6th so I have always loved the numbers 3 and 6. Being that I would be turning 30 this year, I saw it as a great opportunity to incorporate my favorite numbers and formed 360, which typically represents the number of degrees in a circle. Now that I am back in the place where my life’s road began, New York City, and turning 30, the number 360 symbolized this full circle perfectly.
For the big 3-0, I didn’t want to just plan a typical marathon drinking celebration- been there. The “Retrospective” part of this anniversary emerged after I reflected on what made this birthday so special. I began to think about all of the people I have come across in life who have shaped, moved, inspired, challenged and molded me in some way. Every one of my quirks, strong suits, traits– it has all been influenced by someone I have met in my life. The good, the bad, the awkward– it’s all a part of the present me and being that I am now the happiest I have ever been, I am grateful for it all. I decided that this birthday should revolve around the people who have made me who I am.
What do I give the people from every single chapter of my life to thank them for giving me a life that I love? The easy answer is love but how? I was now charged with making my birthday extravaganza about everyone else. My goal became to create awesome celebrations that would allow everyone to receive the love, positivity and light that they have been given me for so long.
Thucket List- I began my road to 30 with a “Thucket” List- a list of 30 tasks to complete in the 30 days before turning 30. It was a fun way to not only tackle some things I have always wanted to do (like perform a poem in front of an audience, perform 30 acts of kindness, and take a bus from the first stop to the last,) but it would also be a great way to put back some great energy into the world. It actually ended up being pretty challenging but very liberating and a lot of fun as well. I still have a few items left (like asking a guy out- gulp) but this was a great way to move into my 30th!
30 Dinners- I decided to honor the people who have been most influential in my life through a series of tribute dinners. I held my first dinner in Philadelphia (the city I consider my second home) for 30 women in that area who have shaped my life the most. I also held two dinners in New York City (my home town): the first for 30 men who have impacted my life the most, and the last dinner for 30 women from NYC and around the country who have influenced me the most. My goal was to honor everyone who has molded me in a powerful way and pay tribute to what they have meant in my life. The length of time I’ve known each person was not important; it was about the impact they had on me. These dinners created spaces for some of the most dynamic, powerful and influential people in the world to come together and get a glimpse of their greatness. They were all absolutely perfect, emotional, provocative and unlike anything I’d ever experienced.
Love Affair- What is a birthday without a party? The final piece of this birthday conference was an evening affair in New York City to celebrate with all of the people I love and the people they love! I invited everyone who has been a part of every single chapter of my life- my old neighborhood, junior high school, high school, internships, college, grad school, old jobs, church, fellow entrepreneurs, clients and anyone else I have had the pleasure of connecting with over 3 decades. The celebration was complete with music across 30 years, and performances from some of the most talented artists I have come to know. It is hard to describe how amazingly positive, vibrant and magical the energy was that night but I know that I have never felt anything like it.
So what’s the connection to business with all of this? Honestly, I didn’t expect to learn a thing about business. However, this beautiful love affair ended up revealing to me that this road has not actually been one of entrepreneurship alone. My birthday revealed that it has actually been a journey to becoming present to a greater purpose.
My mantra since becoming a full-time entrepreneur has been to go after passion. Planning events alone isn’t it. My birthday was more successful than I could have anticipated because at the core of every part of planning, it was about others. I realized that when I embody love, connection with others, and the greatness of others, success ensues. This shed light on past projects and clients that I have had. I realized that every project that has yielded the most revenue, the most success and the most attention in my career has stemmed from these roots- even though I didn’t see it at the time. If my business (along with every single part of my life) maintains this foundation, success and happiness is guaranteed. So simple. So powerful.
My 30th birthday could not have been a more perfect circle.
I have met unbelievably talented, inspirational, supportive, encouraging, and loving people over the last 30 years, and I now see that this is where my strength is born. Being with people who I have not seen in years, reliving memories, hearing stories, making new connections and witnessing unsuspecting commonalities revealed; this was one of the most sobering and breathtaking experiences of my life. What started out as a hope to demonstrate how great people are, ended up changing everything about… well, everything.