Monday, October 20, 2008

22nd Birthday Reflection...

My birthday is on October 10th. Something about birthdays. Deep down, the very idea of them makes me so uncomfortable. Why?

Is it acknowledging my mortality? Partly. Is it an objection to elevating the importance of a single day in the year above all the others? More so. Is it that feeling of pressure to make this single day super special, the way many go about hyper-exaggerating new year’s celebrations? Definitely more so.

Why do some say that the birthday is more important than other days of the year? Well, because it is the day one was born X number of years ago. As a result, the logic goes, this is the day that we step back and celebrate your life. This is a day to celebrate your life.
I’m sorry, but why just one day? I prefer making each and every day a celebration of my life. No, I don’t mean walking around everyday with the pointy-happy-birthday-hat, or having birthday cake after each and every dinner. But honestly, every day is a celebration of life. Each breath is an opportunity. There is a whole market of retailers who profit off the mentality that specific days must be designated for specific purposes, and thus justify extra expenditures to display a reverence to this perspective. Holidays and birthdays are, of course, fun. But have you ever stopped to think that industries make profits off of those of us who use the line, “That’s ok, it’s a holiday!” to justify buying party streamers with Turkeys on them, balloons that say “Happy Valentine’s Day”, or Would Chuck E Cheese, or Party Time Pizza, exist if this attitude did not exist?

I am afraid that I sound like a bitter and scrupulous old man. My old friends Karin and Marie told me that I have an old soul. I tend to agree, but take it one step further. I think I was born very mature, and as I “age”, I become less mature. A two-dimensional graphic demonstration, if you will. If maturity is represented by the Y-axis (is it usually done that way? I was never the best science student, but for this example, it really does not matter) and the X-axis represented time, here is what it would look like

As you can see, I was born an elightened sage (as we all are), and by my 149th birthday on October 10th, 2135, I will be eating bananas on tree branches singing the melodies of Britney Spear’s great great great grandchildren. I can’t wait.

Maybe there is an evolutionary function behind this idea. Ancestral man, working ever-so-hard to secure the fundamental components of survival (roof, food, mate), must have taken time at regular intervals to stop and celebrate a life that their rigorous work pace made them forget. These regular intervals might have originally occurred within periods of one week. For example, once every seven days, the Neanderthals would stare at the skies, go for swims, massage each other, and eat kitkats. Over time, perhaps specific emotions became significant on given days (of course with great diversity taking into account cultural variations and the celebrations that made more sense for a given people). This theory is running out of steam, so I invite you to expand on it.

I think we should do away with all birthdays and holidays altogether. Rather, let’s have fireworks every morning. Then we can go to an amusement park in the afternoons. And to top off the day, we can eat greasy pepperoni pizza at Party Time Pizza and watch mechanical rats and bears rock out to pre-recorded pop hits.

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