As implied, today is my birthday.
While I’m not really one for celebration (if I am going out tonight, it’s probably what I would have done anyways), I thought this an interesting opportunity to reflect upon the idea of a ‘birthday’ itself.
First of all, it is evident to me that more people are excited about my birthday than I am. Given, you can’t really call it excitement, but I can’t help getting the feeling that the world in general seems to place significant attention upon this event. Why?
Nothing is really different about today. From a high philosophical standpoint, we’re still apparently sentient beings caught up in a flux of constant change, living in the prison of time-space and their interaction as causation.
But even from a more accessible standpoint, there is nothing really different about me today. I didn’t wake up with superpowers available for one day only. My physical, mental and intellectual powers seem unaffected, besides by the usual flow of a ‘day’ happening around me.
It follows then, that ‘birthdays’ are something which exist purely in our minds, folks. We’ve made them up. An agreeable fantasy, if you will. Even the progression of years is not perfectly cyclical (consider the need for a leap year), and so it strictly shouldn’t even be my birthday *today*.
It seems then that birthdays are a nice reason to feel good about life, and for the people around you to feel good about life. Great, right? I’m tempted to bite, but I’m afraid that this is a little hard to swallow. If I’m feeling so great about this one day, what about the rest of them? Are the they that unacceptable, that we *need* this day to celebrate? It reminds me in a way of the sick excitement with which people look forward to Friday, making the rest of their work week toxic and unbearable.
It seems to me, in all seriousness, that each morning we are born afresh and should meet each day thus. Perhaps, then, there would be much less emphasis upon birthdays in our society as we would live in the knowledge that every day has been the best day it could possibly have been:
From good to better daily, he lived each day self-surpassed
- Unknown (said of Swami Rama Thirta)
That’s possibly a paraphrase, but you get the drift.
What do you think?
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