I typically celebrate my birthday two ways—lamenting my fleeting youth, and spending the entire months of August and September splurging in the name of “birthday gifts to myself.”

This year is different—I’m enjoying my age. More on that in another post.

This year is also the same—I know how to give to myself.

Today, as I used the net to purchase yet another Present for Ruth, I realized my gift choices this year offer a glimpse at my 38 year old values – and what I see makes me feel really good about the place I’m at in my life.

Here’s what I’ve treated myself to lately:

1.) Five copies of my dear friend’s husband’s newly released children’s novel to give away to the kids in my life. It’s called, “Nightmare Academy” by Dean Lorey. A really fun read. Check it out.

2.) A Water Filter. Time to stop buying bottled water. No more plastic jugs!

3.) Having 1-800-Got-Junk remove the broken treadmill that was taking up entirely too much space in our already too small apartment.

4.) Four white fillings and two crowns. Yes, dental work. For the first time in 4 years, I’ll have a clean bill of health for each and every one of my teeth. If you live near Santa Monica, Dr. Field rocks! He’s great with dental-phobes like yours truly.

5.) Dental Floss AND two minutes a day to use it.

6.) A return to Weight Watchers (a.k.a. WW, a.k.a. The Cult). This is the best way I know how to get myself to eat moderately. Not for everyone, but it works for me.

7.) Today’s purchase – and my favorite – a sponsorship with Women for Women International that will pair me with a woman in Sudan. Looks like yesterday’s rant was good for something. I didn’t need a new exclamation; I needed a new commitment.

To quote the title of the especially thoughtful mix CD my boyfriend surprised me with the other day, “Damn it feels to have a Birthday.”

Ruth, 38, Los Angeles, USA