The Power to Design Your Own Birthday Celebration

Posted On: October 13, 2019

Birthdays are what you make of them

My ex husband would withdraw himself and sink into depression on each of his birthdays. It wouldn’t be an occasion of acknowledgement, or celebration for him. For him, it was a time he needed to be left alone as he delved on what a loser he is and how he had accomplished less or close to nothing with his life. Nobody could help him and nobody could pull him out of this programming he essentially created for himself – and he rather liked it (in his own narcissistic way) otherwise why keep doing something that essentially made you ‘weaker’ with each passing year? Woe to me. Poor me. Blah, blah. Different year, same story.

Now I don’t have an issue with my age, acknowledging or even celebrating my birthdays. However for years now, I decided I didn’t want to be spending my day thanking people for their well wishes when I don’t know them/ don’t care about them (essentially strangers!). Their well wishes (well meaning as they are) meant me feeling the need (that day and after or beyond) to thank them – giving me more ‘work’ and ‘disruptive’ to my day. It wasn’t my day anymore – it became another day I had to take care of others.

And so when people ask for my birth date, I decline to tell them. None of their business. I give so much to people. I just want to be left alone. Some privacy, please! Leaving me in peace is me leading my birthday the way I wanted.

My birthday is coming and it also will be around when my mom passed away (almost one year). Every year, I get a red packet (hongbao) from mom. Last year, she forgot my birthday because she was hospitalised and had just had liquid (1.5ml) pumped out of her lungs (breathless). I was curled up on her hospital bed when she realised it. I didn’t care about the hongbao. I just wanted my mom to be well. I never would have thought she would die in that hospital. I never knew how much I would miss her and how her death around my birthday would change the way I view my birthdays.

This year, for my birthday, I’d be spending it supporting a not-so-close friend who has been scheduled for surgery. Why spend your day with me, he asked? Don’t you have better things to do? I insisted. It is my birthday and I get to decide how I want to spend it.

Happiness is when you can choose to spend your birthday the way you like – with or without people, with or without fanfare, with or without celebration. Having the choice and power to decide is powerful. Birthdays are what we make of them.

About Dr. Martha Tara Lee

Surrounded by friends who were sexually inhibited and struck by dire lack of positive conversations around sex and sexuality in Singapore, Dr. Martha Tara Lee set out to make a positive difference in embarking on her doctorate in human sexuality before launching Eros Coaching in 2009. Today, she remains dedicated to working with individuals and couples who wish to lead self-actualised and pleasure-filled lives.

She also holds certificates in counselling, coaching and sex therapy, and her fourth degree – a Masters in Counselling in May 2018. In practice for more than 10 years, she is the only certified sexuality educator and certified sexuality educator supervisor by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in Singapore.

Often cited in the local media, Dr. Lee is the appointed sex expert for Men’s Health Singapore, and Men’s Health Malaysia. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women Under 40′ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She has published four books: Love, Sex and Everything In-BetweenOrgasmic YogaFrom Princess to Queen and {Un}Inhibited.

Martha works with individuals and couples in private coaching sessions, and conducts her own workshops. She takes prides in making sure all her workshops are also fun, educational, and sex-positive. This comes easily to her because even though she is extremely dedicated and serious about her work, she fundamentally believes that sex is meant to be fun, wonderful, amazing and sacred. As such, this serious light-heartedness has shone through again and again. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.

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