Image of balloonsIn my immediate family we have several foodies (myself included) and we have annual ritual of celebrating birthdays by exploring a fine dining restaurant; especially ones we have never been to before. It’s something special that we treat ourselves for special events like birthdays and anniversaries.

As an Introvert going to pubic places can tax us, it sure can at times exhaust me. So this year when my wife asked me “…where do you want to go for your birthday,?” I hesitated and felt a blend of anticipation and dread. Partly because three people have to come to agreement about a place that will satisfy culinary interests, dietary criteria, how far do we travel, the day to schedule the event,¬† and oh yes; the dreaded issue of how busy and noisy is the restaurant going to be (often unknown, since there is a good chance we have never been there before)? And in my experience as an Introvert, the challenge of persuading two strong opinionated Extroverts toward my preferences, or quietening the “my preferences don’t count” self talk in my head¬†(a message often received by Introverts from others, so it sort of sticks). No Introvert has that ever had that problem, right?

The first phase of the research yielded three options that I thought might be a fit for everyone. Nope! it’s never that easy; only one made it through the initial screen with my wife and nothing had been forwarded to my stepson yet. So, decide to let the subject go for a few days. My wife has been known to soften objections after a few days (or longer) of incubation.

Days later…

Out of the blue my wife suggest that we hire a personal chef for my birthday. I was shocked a bit at first and a slightly codependent and self diminishing mindset of I’m not worth that level of pampering drifted in to my conscious awareness. Again an Introvert amongst a group of Extroverts has never had that moment, right?

However, when she mentioned who the chef was, I flashed in my head “Hell Yes”, tempered by you guessed it, that little pesky voice “self diminishing mindset of I’m not worth that level of pampering ” blended with my preferences don’t count (a message often received by Introverts).

Having had a shift in mindset and assertiveness over the years, combined with the knowledge that I don’t have to react to the first thoughts in my head that my creative right frontal lobe conjures up because it’s just the brain’s innate negative bias. I decided it’s my birthday and I am worth the pampering, if others want to treat me to that level of indulgent lean in and celebrate.

So, I set the intent to be “so on-board” and shifted focus to the anticipation of what the menu would be. Several days later it arrived in my wife’s email inbox.

Vietnamese Vegetable Crepes( Banh Xeo) with Dipping Sauce

Warm Puy Lentils with Spinach, Roasted Tomato, Goat Cheese and Hazelnuts

Lemon Saffron Chicken with Seasonal Vegetable Risotto and Stuffed Portobello with Seasonal Vegetable Risotto

Fresh Fruit with Sabayon and Pistachio Brittle

WOW! and from one of my all-time favorite chefs.

Image of Chef Julie FrancisChef Julie Francis was one of my favorite chefs when she ran Nectar in Cincinnati. Although she has moved on from her enterprise as a restaurant owner/chef, I was delighted to hear that she is personal cheffing (Nectar Personal Chef Services) and my wife hired her for my birthday dinner this year.

Definitely a “Good Life Moment”

The big day arrived and it was the “Best Birthday Dinner Ever”.

Here are some pictures.

So the lesson I learned and the insight I share is it is OK to pamper yourself and if you have never had a personal chef or anyone else pamper you with a meal just for you, instead of having to venture into the wild and woolly world of public places and experience a quite relaxing birthday dinner at home, go for it!

Pamper yourself, Your’e and Introvert and you’re worth it.



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