Humans mark time in lots of ways. A watch. A calendar. Stonehenge. And of course, the annual rite of the birthday. That's where I come in. I have turned 29 today and so I thought it appropriate to espouse my theory on why there shouldn't be birthdays.
It's not because I am bitter about turning 29. I love birthdays. I love November 4 - when my own and many friends' birthdays fall (Diddy, Markie Post, Art Carney, Tabu, Walter Cronkite, etc). This is a great season for birthdays too. But the fact remains, humans might be able to achieve a greater sense of peace without worrying so much about who they are in relation to what age they are - psychosomatically slowing themselves down in the process. Imagine if you will a world without birthdays:
You know what year you were born so if you need it, you can always compute your age. This would still be handy for voting, army-joining and drinking - all involving decisions better made with a few years experience under one's belt. But at the same time, you don't have the weight of lifespan contemplation weighing on your shoulders. I stopped wearing a watch in College because it was just a constant and unhealthy reminder that class had 40 minutes left till the end, 39 minutes, 38 minutes, 37, etc. Birthdays are analagous to wearing a watch with the average lifespan being the end of class. I'm 29 and so I only have 50 more years, 49, 48, etc.
I did once have a watch that could translate words in 10 different languages. If birthdays were analagous to that particular watch, perhaps I wouldn't complain so much. I know. That doesn't make sense. Also, I digress.
Without birthdays, it has been suggested that humans would be deprived of the one day yearly that makes them feel special. I say to that, humans should feel special on more than one day a year! I believe that instead of saving up the specialness for one measly ole day, the good feeling I hope humans would want to show other humans would be spread across many days and nights a year. Yes, lazy people who wait for birthdays to show their affection for other people might mess things up. But I like to think that without one day to depend on, humans would more than account for the birthday void with perhaps sweeter, more frequent demonstrations of love and respect. Isn't it cooler to just be taken out for dinner for no reason?
A friend of mine said that if I deprive my kids of birthday parties, he would punch me in the nose. I certainly wouldn't start enacting this plan without some amount of support. "I'd love to come to your birthday party Rachel but my dad doesn't allow me to celebrate birthdays. You should read his blog from 15 years ago to fully appreciate his psychosis, I mean, point."
Getting back to my watch (or lack thereof) analogy, it has also been said that I am late to events all too often. Though I'm trying to get better, it is indeed the case and perhaps accentuated by my timekeeping nonchalance. But in this case, wouldn't taking less stock of your age and how old you should feel only psychosomatically keep you more fit? I'm 29 and physically feel as good as I ever have in my twenties. Knowing that I'm approaching 30 though certainly slows my step on occasion as I stop and think that I am indeed getting old and getting to the point when some people have given up basketball, hard drinking, etc. I am a suggestible fellow however and when people tell me, 'well, we're getting old, we can't do this, that or the other,' I nod and think that perhaps they are right. If other suggestible people like myself were suddenly stripped of their birthday watch, they might in fact be more late for conventional endings, slowing downs and passings of eras. I don't think anyone would complain about that kind of tardiness.
Lest you think I am just being a grouch about birthdays, here is a flipbook type sequence of me merrily, drunkenly drinking a final shot of whiskey at 4AM on my birthday. I had a ton of fun.