It was my birthday yesterday. I am 35 now and numerous facebook messages to the contrary "Haha, so old!" I don't feel old, or different at all for that matter. I never make much of a fuss about my birthday but usually I have some people over to play games and hang out for an evening which is all well and good. This year I randomly got invited to a Pollinator Party and decided to go do something new and different. (A Pollinator Party is a normal potluck party where there is honey to be tasted and some people show up with bee pictures painted on their faces apparently.)
This, I think, is a better birthday tradition. Now you will never get me to suggest that having people over to play board games is bad, largely because it is great. Thing is though I can do that anytime and I tend to. The nice thing about going to a party with a weird theme where I only know one person is that all kinds of cool and interesting things happen. I try new food and drink (honey + herbs + sparkling water is fantastic), meet new people, and have lots of unpredictable discussions. All these new people haven't heard my stories and don't know all my stuff so I can get all enthusiastic and rant about topics that excite me without boring anyone. New people and new takes on old discussions make for a fun evening.
I am too much of an introvert to do that all the time. I find parties with tons of new people tiring a lot of the time and I don't want to go to them constantly. That said doing so every so often is a great way to shake up my social scene and let me meet some new folks and I need a kick in the ass to go out and do that now and again. Making it a yearly tradition to get out to a random party where I don't know anyone to celebrate my birthday seems like a good way to get those good experiences without overwhelming myself. Now I just need to sort out the logistics of finding a really fun party with cool people that I don't know on August 17th every year.
Good luck, I will need it.