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The Big Birthdays

Birthdays ending with a zero can be challenging, particularly the ones that start with a four, or greater! So how can we help ourselves, and our friends, embrace these big birthdays? We asked Kylie Dunjey from Relationships Australia for some tips on how to approach a big birthday. Here are her thoughts on tackling four possible scenarios.

You’re feeling good about the upcoming birthday

Take charge. By the time you reach the significant milestones, you usually know what you like or don’t like.  If you know you love a good party – make it happen, just the way you’d like.  Don’t wait for someone else to guess, or create his or her idea of a good party.  If you’ve already endured too many parties and would prefer a quiet celebration or none at all, then make that happen.


You’re not feeling great about the upcoming birthday

Reflect and focus. Sometimes the idea that I need to have a ‘happy’ birthday can be counter-productive. Trying to be positive often leads to frustration and increased negativity. The significant numbered birthdays usually lend themselves to some kind of stocktake.  Depending on whether you tend to be overly critical of yourself or not, the stocktake could be difficult. However here are some helpful reflections:

What do I have to be grateful for?

Who do I value?

What memories do I cherish most?

These will help inform intentions for the next ‘x’ years. Focussing on grateful thoughts is more likely to lead to positive feelings.


A friend is feeling positive about their big birthday

Be creative. When it comes to treating your friends on their birthday, focus on what they love, rather than what works for you, and be creative.  Some of the different ideas include: quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts and physical touch. A nice idea is to create a book of memories; encourage friends to write about the person – a memory or quality that they value – and put this into a book, with a nice photo.


A friend who is struggling with a big birthday

Be thoughtful. If you have a friend who is struggling with a big birthday it may be because some of the dreams they had hoped to fulfil, are not yet a reality.  For some women without children, a birthday beyond childbearing age can be painful.  A birthday without a significant relationship in place – either because it hasn’t happened, or has been lost – can create thoughts of regret or grief.  It’s important not to ignore these feelings; it only seems to make them muscle-up. Instead, acknowledge them by being aware of these thoughts – make space for them. Be a good friend through listening, empathising, validating and encouraging.


While Kylie is located in Western Australia, Relationships Australia has locations throughout Australia. You can find you nearest location on their website. Visit:

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