Step 1: Fly to Sydney three days before your birthday when you know very well that your closest friends who you want to spend this special day with are left in Cairo.
Step 2: On the day of your birthday go for a six mile run at eight in the morning because it makes you feel good about yourself.
Step 3: Call your friends (no more than four) at 11am and expect they won’t pick up because it’s a weekday and they’re all at work.
Step 4: Go shopping! Buy 5 pairs of boots because it’s your birthday and because you can!
Step 5: At two in the afternoon and not one of your four friends has returned your call, prepare yourself to spend the afternoon alone. Remind yourself that you’re not in Cairo where everyone goes out on Thursday night.
Step 6: At 2:30pm, wear one of the five pairs of shoes you bought, try to look pretty because damn it, it’s your birthday! Head out and have fun even if you’re by yourself.
Step 7: Check all the vintage and funky shops at Balmain even if you have no intention of buying. Do it because you have the time to do so. While you’re at it, take random photos of cool items you might find.
Step 8: Walk til your feet hurts and find yourself in a cafe named after you! Check their menu because you already feel connected to it.
Step 9: Stop at a stationary place, buy cardboard and colored markers to do some fun art (if art is your thing.)
Step 10: Notice that the day is a bit dark and gloomy and very wintery. Get a hot cup of coco to cheer you up!
Step 11: Find yourself at a wine and kitchen restaurant even if you don’t drink wine (try something different because you’ve been eating Asian cuisine the moment you landed at Kingsford Smith airport.)
Step 12: Do not order wine if you don’t like it. Get peach sangria instead! Get rocket and beet salad because you love salad!
Step 13: In between bites of your salad and sips of your sangria, start drawing whatever comes to mind. You didn’t buy those markers and cardboard for nothing!
Step 14: Since you’re spending this day alone, might as well read all the 78 Facebook birthday greetings posted on your wall and miss all your friends just a little bit more.
Step 15: Bathroom break! Because it’s 9 degrees outside and you’ve had too much to drink. Come back to your table and find that someone took your unfinished sangria away. Tell the staff and get ready for an on the house sangria refill as a treat.
Step 16: Do not forget to order desert. Indulge yourself with apple crumble and vanilla ice cream. Taste comfort and be guiltless. You didn’t go running this morning for nothing.
Step 17: Walk home even when it’s raining, light a cigarette for a more dramatic effect. Be convinced that today felt like a cutout scene from a romantic-comedy movie, except for the fact that you are alone and there is no lead actor that will magically appear with an umbrella amidst the strong pour of rain.
Step 18: Resign to the warmth of your bed with coconut m&ms and admit to yourself that you really have weird taste in flavors and in life.
Step 19: Write a blog about how you spent your birthday to immortalize the first day of your new year. Realize that although you spent your birthday alone, it has been a fun-filled day. Be happy with the fact that you spent an entire day with the lovely woman that you are and it can’t possibly get any better than that.