My husband never gets too excited about his birthday. He treats his birthday like any other day. I don’t pretend to understand his neutrality toward his birthday. For my birthday, I don’t believe just in a single day of celebration; my celebration starts at least seven days before the day of my birth. I will even joke with my husband, “It is my birthday week, you have to be nice to me.” Not that he isn’t nice to me on all the other days of the year, but it is the act of reminding him that gives me a chuckle.
So when December 15th rolls around every year, my husband has no expectations. He doesn’t wait by the phone for those early morning Happy Birthday calls, check the mail for greetings cards, wait for a present, or check his horoscope to see what see what the upcoming year holds for him. This year, actually yesterday, I asked him, “Why don’t you get excited about your birthday?” He tells me he hasn’t really done anything to warrant a celebration. Being able to live, in his opinion, isn’t something that is driven or controlled by him. So for him celebrating something that is completely out of his control is a little silly.
I pondered what he said and I realize there is a lesson in this understated attitude. As we grow older, we mark each birthday with parties, dining out, drinking some champagne, opening presents, as we smile around the table at our friends and family. These are lovely times and I embrace these celebrations as much as any other cake loving adult, but at the same time birthdays should warrant some introspection. As adults, especially as we get older, birthdays should provide a time of reflection and quietness. If you think about it, each day that you can breathe, live, and be without any impediments, it is your birthday. So today, for those you of who think it is just another ordinary day, Happy Birthday to you too.