How to turn 30 alone
September 12, 2017 9:11 PM   Subscribe

Due to frequent moves and the isolation caused by chronic illness, I'm facing my 30th birthday in a place where I only have a couple of acquaintances. Help me make it a good time?

I have some top notch friends in different places so online based suggestions for group activities are good. Video james are ok as long as it's easy for someone who's bad at them and not particularly violent.

Otherwise, what would you do? I live in a nice place by the sea and am too sick to travel far or do anything very energetic - an evening out would be the max. I'll probably go for a swim in the sea, do something with my friends online, and...? I don't particularly want to do something with my acquaintances here but I wouldn't rule out a meal or a drink. Thanks!
posted by bizarrenacle to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I would be open to suggestions like creative party games that might improve the experience of spending part of your birthday with people you don't know well or have much in common with.
posted by bizarrenacle at 9:12 PM on September 12, 2017

Rabbit lets you watch video online with friends. Works with a bunch of different streaming services, Youtube, you can even get a web browser plugin for things they don't directly support. My inclination under the circumstances would be to get some good food/drink stuff to have at home and then do group movie night or binge-watch a show you've wanted to see or something.
posted by Sequence at 9:33 PM on September 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

In my opinion, our society puts too much pressure on birthdays. You get a new one every year, after all! A swim in the sea, a chat with far-flung friends, and a drink with local acquaintances sounds like an excellent way to celebrate having survived a year since your last birthday. Plus it will bring your local acquaintances one step closer to being friends.

Happy birthday, bizzarenacle! You are not alone, so very much not alone.
posted by ejs at 9:55 PM on September 12, 2017 [7 favorites]

Thanks for the suggestions so far! Rabbit sounds like a good option. Please take as read that birthdays are important to me.
posted by bizarrenacle at 10:13 PM on September 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Can you do some type of spa day? Perhaps a pedicure or a massage? I find that to be a relaxing and special way to recognize the value of my existence.
posted by samthemander at 10:39 PM on September 12, 2017

Birthdays are important to me, too. Especially milestone birthdays. I spent my 30th alone eating a Fatburger, a fact that haunted me for most of the next decade. Is there any way you could get one of your good friends to visit? It may sound like a big ask, but you never know unless you bring it up.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:44 PM on September 12, 2017

Treat yourself to some fancy food and drink. Especially a delicious cake - candles optional.
posted by JonB at 11:55 PM on September 12, 2017

Is there any fancy/special train rides you can take where you live? If there are, maybe a day trip on a train watching the scenery with a meal, some wine? Maybe even an overnight ride in a sleeper car if that sounds feasible?
posted by sacchan at 12:11 AM on September 13, 2017

If you can afford it, send an amount of money to a selection of your friends and ask them to each buy you a gift with the money that reflects their friendship with you. Then have an unwrapping session on Rabbit.
posted by Thella at 2:03 AM on September 13, 2017

I think roger ackroyd shared a good lesson on how not to do it, thanks roger. It feels like we need to do something that in our mind makes a difference. You have to make it special, and you are by asking all of us for ideas. It doesn't have to be fireworks, just something that is special in your mind. Also think about what ejs said about birthdays are just another day. Some people think everyday is special, so why just one day? Lots of good answers here, mefites. Happy birthday what ever you do!
posted by Vermillion at 5:23 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

One thing I've done is ask online friends to recommend me stuff - music, books, cool links, and then I take my time checking them out. That lets me draw out the "Hey, I am connected with people, yay!" parts a lot longer, because each time I check one out, there's another little burst of "Awesome thing from someone who likes me!"

The actual "Rec me a thing" makes a good birthday thread on your online communication tool of choice.
posted by modernhypatia at 5:38 AM on September 13, 2017

Reading this struck me with the idea of volunteering. Being of service always feels good and you'll be surrounded by people who could possibly be new friends or acquaintances.

If you like animals, perhaps there's a place nearby that will let you walk dogs or socialize with kitties. Help prepare essentials kits for the homeless, read to kids.

Then eat enough cake to regret it!
posted by crankyrogalsky at 8:22 AM on September 13, 2017

I moved across country for a job a few weeks before my 35th birthday. I wanted to celebrate my birthday but had no one with whom to do it. (This was more than just pre-internet; I don't think I could even have done a three-way call with my mother and brother.) I gave my own party, inviting just about everybody I had started working with. (And specifying 'no presents' on the invitation.) Several of the people who came commented on how impressed they were with how I had handled the situation.

Your situation sounds different than mine was. But I wonder if there is some way you can use the event to start connecting with your new community. As well as the spa day/fancy food/whatever. Treats are always good.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 8:24 AM on September 13, 2017

Tell your good friends you're feeling alone and ask them to call and give them a time window. You'll get birthday calls all day. Get food you love and a small bottle of champagne. Share your favorite movie online and ask all your friends to pick up a cupcake and a candle, so you have cakes all over.
posted by theora55 at 8:41 AM on September 13, 2017

I have a sick friend to whom birthdays are very important. She asks her friends to send cards and make calls to her on that day. Perhaps a flood of cards would be nice! If you are able, a hot bath with a favorite drink and some music you like might also be nice. Plan to revel in your birthday at home!

And, Happy Birthday! I just turned 50 this year. I wish all the very best and send a great, big, HUG.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 9:47 AM on September 13, 2017

Oh - and a fresh bouquet of flowers would be lovely, too! Most decent grocery stores have nice ones these days.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 9:51 AM on September 13, 2017

I spent most of my 30th birthday alone in a strange city and I went and got a fancy fancy dinner by myself. I like to occasionally remind myself that I am okay by myself and can enjoy things alone.
posted by monologish at 10:55 AM on September 13, 2017

Depending how long you have until your birthday, this may work...

I once thought I was going to end up spending Christmas alone, and for the few weeks leading up to it, every time I saw something I liked in the shops (as long as it was a reasonable cost), I bought it, took it home, and reached up and dropped it into a box on top of the wardrobe. Just stuff like DVDs, cosmetics, clothing, favourite chocolates.

On the day, I took the box down and it was AWESOME. Like receiving loads of presents, all of which were things I really liked and wanted. Some of them I'd forgotten about and even the ones I remembered had a kind of sheen of newness and novelty. And having so many of them at once made it more special than if I'd bought them one at a time.

As it turned out, I only had the morning to myself, but opening my box of presents to myself was completely awesome and I've always meant to do it again some time.

I'm sure it would work just as well for internet purchases, if that's easier for you, and it can totally be adjust for budgets - it was the newness and novelty and fact I loved every single thing in the box that made it special.
posted by penguin pie at 11:51 AM on September 13, 2017

Thanks everyone! Some lovely suggestions. I will be sure to use the ones that are suitable for me.

An update: a street kitten I fell in love with has adopted me. She's spending her first night here tonight. And I've stumbled into some wonderful online communities, and I know some people here who are nice enough. I don't feel so alone any more.

Even if this birthday isn't quite what I'd want, I feel like I'm going in the right direction and beginning a new life here, mirtseshem. Thank you all for your kindness.
posted by bizarrenacle at 9:11 PM on September 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

« Older Removing leather dye from wood   |   Nonfiction describing learning/daily experience in... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.