The One About All The Birthdays
A few years ago, and the cynical amongst you may say because of my advancing years, I gave up celebrating my birthdays.
I thought I would pen a few lines to explain why.\r\n\r\nWhen I first came to thinking about birthdays and what they were for, I found myself becoming increasingly cynical over their meaning. What are they really a celebration of ?
Indeed I have managed to survive another 12 months without contracting a rare and fatal disease, being run over by a bus or eaten by a crocodile, but why celebrate a year of it? Why not celebrate every day by waking up, leaping out of bed and shouting to the world “Yaay – I’m still alive!”
Where is the significance in the yearly celebration? Well I guess it comes down to the fact that the date you were born repeats itself every twelve months (unless you are one of those leap-year-day babies). But then the date is a made up and arbitrary unit of measure anyway. Since 1582 we in the West have followed The Gregorian Calendar which is 365.25 days (minus a few minutes) long, this having replaced the Julian Calendar in order to correct an 11 minute error. The Julian calendar in turn replaced the Roman Calendar in 45 BC (oh the fun they must have had at the BC/AD changeover).
But then there is the Islamic Calendar, the Hebrew Calendar, the Mayan Calandar, the Lunar Calendar, etc etc. So which one tells you how old you are? Which one is correct?
Well, really, none of them. They are all just arbitrary mathematical ways of calculating where the Earth is in its solar and lunar cycles. They were designed to manage harvests and hunting and worship and sacrifice. They were never meant to be a yardstick to measure our distance form birth or as a gauge as to how close to the grave we are. By that measure I might as well choose anything to measure by – a dripping tap or a dog licking its nether regions, because as far as I’m aware, there is no calendar in existence that has a marker saying ‘Terry hit by bus today’, just as it doesn’t say ‘Terry goes grey today’ or ‘Terry’s eyesight requires stronger glasses from today’.
We all age physically, intellectually and emotionally at different speeds. Some of us get sick in our twenties and die, others run marathons into our 80′s. We are all aging differently so why are we all boxed into this ridiculous fakery called ‘birthdays’?
The word itself shows itself up for the made up thing that it is. It is the same day on the made-up calendar that happens every made-up year that bears no relevance to anything other than the Earth in in the same spot that it was 365 Days, 5 Hours, 49 Minutes and 12 seconds ago. I didn’t do anything apart form manage to stay on.
Even that is wrong though, because in a year, the entire solar system will have sailed through space to the tune of 4.5 trillion miles, so even that would be inaccurate.
So despite the conventions of society to try to force me to wear a silly hat and blow out candles once a year to show I am grateful for clinging to life for another term, I simply can’t bring myself to pretend I did anything special that deserves gifts, cards, parties, cakes and celebration.
And that is why I don’t celebrate my birthdays any more’,