Birthday Cake

I think the concept of “Birthdays” can really go either way for most people. It’s like a pendulum that swings from one extreme to the other. There are those, of course, who will never admit to a birthday (at least not to a year) – as if they were never born; they just appeared one day – and then there are those who will use a birthday as a great excuse to party to the wee hours of the morning.

Me? I’m a little from Column A and a little from Column B. Though I’ve stopped counting at 29, I do still celebrate my birthday every year around the same time each year. It’s more like a moment frozen in time – which can be rather enlightening.

Oh! And another thing – I don’t celebrate my birthday only on the day of my birth – instead, it gets stretched out for about a month.

So many people fear birthdays – more so when they get older as opposed to being younger. Hell, kids growing up today yearn for all those “milestone” birthdays – 13 so they can actually be considered a teenager; 16 so they can be old enough to drive; 18 so they can be considered an adult and vote and be graduated from high school and move out on their own (Okay… maybe voting isn’t on most of their minds…); and then 21 so they can start drinking (YEAH!!!!). But after we hit that barrier of age 21, there aren’t anymore age milestones to look for – instead, the next milestones are non-age-related: college graduation, marriage, job promotion, etc. In the mean time, we begin to fear the numbers (again, when I say ‘we’ I’m speaking in generalities; I’ve personally never feared any age along the way … even though I’m only 29). 

I’d heard from one girl who was terrified of turning 25, because that meant she was a quarter of a century old! (Ooooooooooo!) And then there are the people who fear all the ages ending in a zero – 30, 40, 50. It’s almost as if they’re staring Death in the face.

But then a really strange occurrence happens. Isn’t it cute how young children always add increments to their age when asked how old they are? “I’m seven and a half years old.” Then once reaching adulthood, people have a tendency to take a couple of years (or decades) off their real age to appear younger (I’m really only 29!). But at some magical age (I still don’t know what that number is), people start getting excited about their age and adding those increments again. “I’m 87 and a half!

I think my mother had the best outlook on age and birthdays, though. She always said she could never understand why people shaved years off their age to sound younger than they really were. They had it all backwards! Rather than taking any numbers off, you should add 10 years to your age. That way, no matter how shitty you look, they’ll always say, “Wow! You look great for your age!

So for the next 30 days or so, I’ll be celebrating my 29th birthday (again). It’s my excuse to use for as long as I can to get together with friends and family (and hear from people I haven’t heard from in a while), go out to lunches and dinners (that others will pay for), meet for drinks (that others will pay for), and just experience life to its fullest with the people I love. Birthdays are not about presents or cards. It’s about time, and the ways we can spend it with others which makes a birthday.

So, if you have a birthday within the year 2013 – HAPPY 29TH BIRTHDAY!! Now go use it as your excuse to enjoy life!