Today I decided to write a post about birthdays, and because we’re closing in on the end of my birthday month, its more than appropriate. You know what Lesley Gore used to say right? After all, what is the point of a birthday other than to celebrate the anniversary of your date of birth, also known as your birthdate – the date and time in which you were born.
How birthdays are celebrated vary from culture to culture, and even within certain cultures there are personal traditions to uphold. These celebrations usually involve gifts, parties, and rituals which serve to reinforce the celebration. Getting punched on the arm for every year you’ve been alive came to mind almost immediately for me. Which I hate.
On top of that, many religions celebrate the birth of their founders. Think Christmas and Buddha’s Birthday.
Another item to consider with birthdays is that they help us to establish milestones of life and all of the responsibilities that are conferred to us at those times. Some of them are good, some of them are dangerous, and others are up for debate, literally. For example, the age of consent, voting rights, emancipation, quitting secondary school, marriage, getting a drivers license, purchasing alcohol and tobacco and a host of other doozies. Also, when we reach our governments elected age of majority, minors assume all responsibilities over their lives, and parents/guardians no longer have legal charges to take care of them.
It’s fun stuff.
But let’s consider traditions of North America, because it’s where I live and what I grew up with, okay dear readers? As many of you know, we celebrate birthdays with a party of some scale, including presents for the birthday person, often bringing out a birthday cake/pie/treat at some point during the festivities and topping said cake with candles to signify the persons age. Then we blow out the candles and make a wish – we’re supposed to keep this secret because the wish won’t come true otherwise.
Yeah, I’m calling bullshit on that.
I just turned thirty-two, and I am not married, I do not have children nor a house in my name, I am not a successful author, painter, musician, public speaker, athlete or lecturer, and I am definitely not in the best shape of my life.
And that’s the problem with birthdays, they’re built upon dreams, deadlines, obligations, expectations, and wish fulfillment.
So this year I’m trying something different. A new set of theories and a new mindset – I’m celebrating my unbirthdays and my perpetual state of progress OR being progressive. This is the year of campfire stories, so watch closely, listen intently, and keep close to the warmth of the fire. I’m going to share some more birthday stories soon, and get you in the spirit of the present.
Bad pun, yes. But a better gift cannot be found anywhere.