April Jeppson: A made-up holiday to reconnect with friends

Published 10:09 pm Thursday, September 13, 2018

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson

 

My birthday is today. I’m one year older, and supposedly one year wiser. I’ve learned a lot over the years, and today I’m not going to share any of that wisdom with you. Today I’m going to discuss in depth a made-up holiday I created because I’m April, and that’s the goofy stuff I do.

Aprilpalooza is a weeklong celebration of me. It’s a holiday I invented years ago, and it’s original purpose was to give me a valid reason to go out with my friends. It started as two to three dates around my birthday and then it morphed into a week of people paying for my meals, which was exactly what this tight budget momma needed at the time. As hard as I try to extend this holiday into the entire month of September, my husband assures me that a week is plenty.

I was told years ago that the answer is “No” if you don’t ask. So I have the mindset that if you want something, then you better pipe up and say something. I didn’t just go up to my friend and say, “Hey it’s my birthday you should pay for my lunch.” I did, however, say, “Dude, it’s my birthday next week, we should do something!” That’s literally how it started — me just opening my mouth and reminding people that my birthday was coming up and that I wanted to get out of the house and hang.

You know what I discovered? These friends of mine wanted to hang out with me, too; we just needed an excuse to get together. That probably sounds bad — but it’s the truth. When you have a job or three and a kid or three, you’re riddled with responsibility and obligation, and spending time with your friends is not high on the priority list. I get it. But because it was my birthday, we could get sushi or see that movie and not feel guilty for getting a sitter or spending a few extra dollars on lunch. It was a special occasion, and we could justify treating ourselves.

This concept is so foreign to some people, though. They don’t want to have to remind their friends it’s their birthday because they feel like a good friend should remember it on their own. So here they sit, doing nothing all week, because they never told anyone they wanted to do something. I can promise you, your friends do want to shower you with love, but just like you, they’re busy. They have 12 other things going on and remembering your birthday does not pay the bills. Sorry. You want something, you gotta say something.

Over the years, Aprilpalooza has included breakfast, lunch and dinner dates to various restaurants, mani-pedis, going to movies, road trips, hanging out at friends’ houses, homemade crème brulé, shopping adventures, doughnuts, beverages — one year I even got a bouquet of candy bars. I’m not going to lie, it’s my favorite week of the year. It’s a whole week that I get to see and spend time with some of my favorite people and do my favorite things. Honestly, I think everyone should do this.

My top love languages are touch, time and words of affirmation. To have my busy friends make time for me is literally the nicest gift they could give. If during the hangout session they somehow manage to touch my hand or shoulder and also give me a compliment — hot dang, they’ve just best-friended me. So to me, this made-up holiday is less about eating and gifts, and has everything to do with taking time out of our crazy schedules to just recharge and connect. I love it.

If your birthday is coming up, or maybe you just miss spending time with your friends, I encourage you to reach out and say something. Don’t wait for them to remember to call or text you. Reach out to them. Find your tribe that uplifts your spirit — you know, the people you look forward to seeing. Those are your people. If a silly made-up holiday gives you the excuse you need to order dessert, take a longer lunch break or just stay up past your bedtime giggling with your friends, then by all means — create yourself an Aprilpalooza, too.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.