I think it is a little sad that we do not celebrate our birthdays more, past the age of twenty one. I like birthdays. It is my day. OK, I might share it with a few million people worldwide, but generally it feels like it is my day, unlike Christmas or even Easter which are feast days for everyone that wants to partake of them. We get all excited about birthdays when we are younger but as time goes on we do seem to treat the next landmark as more of an embarrassment than something to celebrate.
Apart from the lack of an opportunity to have some fun I also wonder if it is a bit more serious that we do not celebrate each other getting a year more experience under the belt. I deliberately avoided the ‘o’ word there. The fact is that life involves being older. That is a bit of an inevitable event and we do not have much control over that. What most of us have some control over is how we react to that inevitability. I do not mean that we can stop growing up. The ‘growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional’ line on many birthday cards is pure nonsense. Of course you have to grow up, if you ever want to be fully functioning member of society. Which might explain a lot in some cases, as the point of growing up is about taking responsibility for – at least – your own actions and the consequences there of.
But you do not have to treat growing old as a slide into the grave. Age does not preclude you having fun or an attitude that allows you to discover the delight of something new, whether that is a new place, a new piece of music or a new relationship.
I remember, as I guess many do, being admonished to ‘act my age’. At the time, I think I understood that, but as time has gone on I am increasingly unsure of what that is supposed to mean. I look around me and see people of ‘my age’ acting in all different ways, from acting in ways I would love to emulate to ones that make me wonder just what kind of example they are setting to younger people. I have no intention of acting my own age in anyway other than what feels right for me. If I am physically capable of doing something associated with younger people I will still consider doing it. If I like Clean Bandit then I am going to listen to them, even if the next person on the generic mp3 device is Karen Carpenter (this can happen on my playlists). We gratuitously went to see the wonderful ‘Paddington’ on Christmas Eve and while we did find it odd that we laughed in lots of places that the kids didn’t we were not at all concerned that we seemed to have forgotten the apparently obligatory child or two.
I hope to keep not ‘acting my age’ for a good few years yet if I can get away with it, while understanding that increasingly it might look a little odd and I might have to work just a bit harder this year pounding the streets to hold back the waistline. I have given up on the hair. Again, there are some things we cannot control and those ones we need to let it go, together with learning in my case to love hats in the chillier weather.
So I am going to celebrate my birthday this year. All night partying is out (I’m saving that for another big party in a few years– advanced warning there folks) but a massive lie in and a really good meal out with the Lovely Wife is on the cards. Really looking forward to having survived another year and still be so blessed. Let’s be honest; none of us can guarantee next month, let alone next year so we might as well enter each new year with a passion to make the most of it and make each year better than the last, if we can (considering our circumstances) as no matter how old you are it is still filled with possibilities most of which we have never thought about never mind expect.