For some people birthdays are just another day, but for others, it's often seen as a special time. After all, it's a milestone -- it marks the anniversary of your arrival on earth! Whether you're having a small group of friends over for cake, or going out to a big party at your favorite club, sometimes it's important to take a few moments just for ourselves to mark our birthdays. You can do this by setting up a birthday altar to celebrate the journey your life has led you on thus far.
It's a good idea to start gathering items for your altar in advance, because you never know how long it will take you to dig out some of your memorabilia. Try to set up your birthday altar a day or two before your actual birthday, so you can walk by and admire it.
You can keep opt to make your birthday altar simple, or more complex, depending on what works best for you. Place photos on your altar of the different phases of your life. Include baby photos, first day of school, graduation, marriage, or even pictures of you with your own children. Do you have a copy of your birth certificate? Feel free to add that as well.
Add heirlooms that have special meaning for you. In some families, it might be a cherished bracelet that is passed down from one generation to the next. Maybe there's a special tea cup that you were given as a child, or a glass knickknack you bought with your own money on your first trip to Disney World.
If people have sent you birthday cards, add them to your altar setup as well. After all, this is how our friends and loved ones tell us we matter to them, so why not incorporate that into the magic of a birthday altar?
Finally, no birthday celebration is complete without candles, and your altar is no exception. You can approach candles in a couple of different ways. If you like lots of them, consider adding a tealight for each year you've had a birthday. If that seems a bit overwhelming, try just using one candle for each decade, or just a single candle to symbolize the Self.
After you've gotten your altar set up, take time each day to reflect on all the positive things you've experienced in your life. Think of the knowledge you've gained, and even the mistakes you've made. Realize that although you may be another year older, you're nowhere near done growing as a person. Meditate for a while on the idea that we truly do grow wiser and better as we grow older.