On the importance of birthdays

On the importance of birthdays

Time changes things. Or rather, things — be it abstract or tangible — change with time.

One day ends to give way to another. And another. The earth slowly rotates and revolves. The clock’s hands never stop. And with it, the wheels of change are set into motion. It creeps in slowly, inch by inch.

Every day is just another day. And yet, it is not.

To make some days stand out, we give them a meaning, a name, or a reason. Even your birthday. Yet there are many who see no reason to celebrate the day they were born. (I do.)

They say it is just another day, so why go the extra mile?

It is another day. Nonetheless, why should that stop us from celebrating the joy of life? Why should it stop us from taking a few minutes, hours or an entire day to take stock of your life, your people, and most importantly, count your blessings.

In a world where there are countless reasons to feel insipid, inconsequential, and worthless, it is often tiny actions that matter; that make you who you are. These actions almost always win us our friends and loved ones. Yes, they may not stay forever. Yes, there are countless who get lost in the various chapters of the book called life simply because ‘life’ happened. Yes, it is not a very happy feeling to look back and remember those who were once special, but are no more an active part of your life. We are taught to hold those more dear who have been with us forever.

But, why should that stop you from being grateful to have those who do remain, or those who have entered your life anew? Because past experience suggests they may not be there tomorrow? Because nothing lasts forever?

If you ask me, it is precisely this reason why you should celebrate birthdays — yours and others, especially others — for if you did not take time out today to build memories, to feel grateful and feel special, you may have nothing to reminisce about tomorrow.

Today, you have these people. Tomorrow, you may not. But during the time when they are a part of your life, they are or have been important. Why not make them feel that today, irrespective of what happens tomorrow? Idioms and phrases advise us to take advantage of ‘and make good use of every day; that every single day should be special — not just a few. But, we all know that’s not humanely realistic. We all have our off days when things don’t work out when we fight and are unhappy.

So, why let go of the few days that can be turned special, simply because we refuse to go along with the convention that dictates the same?

I remember a couple of years ago, my friends planned a big surprise for me. I never saw it coming. I also received many gifts — even from people who had moved to a different city. It made me feel very special. These were the people whose lives I had touched at some point in life. And in doing so, they deeply touched mine.

However, there were also moments when I was painfully aware of those I had left behind on my journey forward. Their absence was felt. These were the people who once held a special place in my daily life. They had once celebrated the very same day with much aplomb.

Life happened. It is sad, yes. But I look back on those moments with happy nostalgia. I am thankful that at the excuse of my birthday, I expressed the importance of their presence in my life, and vice versa. I now know, at that moment in time, I had mattered to them. I also know that just because they aren’t here does not mean they have been erased forever.

Similarly, today, I’d rather feel grateful for having been loved and cherished, for being given the life I now lead, for the friends who are part of my life now and who went to such great lengths to make me feel special. I’d rather do that than give in to solemnity and nostalgia for the lost ones although they and the moments I’d shared with them were special too.

Today, I find reasons to celebrate the day, rather than pass it off as just another day. On my birthday, I count my blessings for what I have today before I lose it, and what I had yesterday.

On our birthdays, we pay homage to the thing called Time.

"And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years."
Abraham Lincoln


Øyvind Nyborg

Øyvind Nyborg

I am not a blogger! I just put my thoughts into writing some times...
It's like capturing snippets of life at various stages, offering me a window into my own evolution.

Øyvind Nyborg