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Friday, 26 October 2012

Taking Birthdays for Granted

Recently, this nice guy sent me an email to check up on how I was doing. In his email, he talked about how he just turned 27 a couple of days before. Which immediately reminded me of my own birthday that is also around the corner, and my gradual advancement to "the scary age".

It used to be 21 when I was a teenager, thinking that 18, 19 and 20 was a period where the passage of time was going to be kind and that it'll take forever to pass. But currently being in my twenties, 27 is now the next "scary age". It's the age where most people tend to look amazingly good, have successful careers, established a stable footing in life, found their other half or get married, and possibly even become billionaires or founders of various society-changing empires. 

I am fully aware of being perceived as naive when saying these things, but truth be told, that's just my insecurity talking. No matter how much common sense I make, or how unreasonable I seem to think, I'm still human.

Thinking about birthdays reminded me very much of how I, for the past few birthdays have always felt depressed because I am so afraid of growing another year older and growing into nothing. You know, the whole not achieving enough thing. I end up doing nothing special for my birthday because I've lost faith in my own life, my own destiny and felt: "What's the point? Things have never been great. My pattern in life has always felt the same and will always be the same. There's nothing special about celebrating me."

However, if it's one thing I've come to realise over the past year in trying to understand life through my struggles, is that some of us take birthdays for granted. Rather than celebrating it, we dread it. Thinking that we feel old and that we are nothing special but an ageing commodity who hasn't accomplished enough.

Now the painful truth about birthdays is that we'll never know how many of them we'll have in a lifetime, and how many of them we'll live through to see. I've known people who never made it past 18, who never made it past 33 and who never made it past 55. 

Therefore we tend to forget the most important meaning about birthdays, is that it signifies that you've successfully lived for another year of your life. It's an incredible feat, an achievement if not.

A wise friend once said to me: "Life is a celebration. You have to celebrate your achievements! No matter how big or how small. Celebrate it! You have to celebrate life! You have to celebrate you." 

Which brings me to my next question to myself: "Are you going to, or will you be ready to put effort into celebrating your birthday again? This year, next year or ever? What if you knew how many of them you have left?"

Everybody has their own definitions and parameters of what success really is. But while on the subject of this topic, I can't help but wonder if longevity or the term "having lived", are crucial elements that can be taken into account when assessing or determining a person's level of success in life. Because living, or "having lived" is truly what life on Earth is all about. Is it not?

1 comment:

  1. My scary age was 30, for all the reason you listed above and because pre 30 I thought post 30 was over the hill and life would just fall apart after that. It didn't of course, but that didn't stop me getting down before hand.

    Good advice from your friend, celebrating all the little achievements in life, especially the small ones. It's what I tend to do, or maybe that's just the excuse I use to have another slice of cake!

    Have a great week.