Birthdays are a reason to smile and have fun and to reflect. The celebration of the birthday seems to follow us all of our lives. It seems that when a child is first born we celebrate every month up to the first year. Although as a small baby we do not realize what the occasion is but we enjoy all the bright colors and attention that we get and it makes us smile. As a small child our birthday celebrations begin with a party. The first parties are mostly relatives including those cousins that are about our age. They start with a simple cake which we usually grab with one of our hands and pushed it into our face. As the years keep going by we start inviting our friends, mostly from the schools we attend.AI gifts start off very small and slowly grow both in size and in price. Some of the iconic times were when you get a tricycle or bicycle. Many photographs, movies and tapes have been made of your first attempts to ride both of them. The birthday cake seems to be present and getting larger at each event. For some reason in the years of your middle teens, you’re less likely to want a birthday celebration at home with family. And you’re more likely to want to go somewhere else and celebrate with your friends. Some of the friends are people that your parents do not like and so the celebration has to be away from the house. From the time you’re very small to the time you’re very old, you seem to want to be at the other place (older or younger) in your life. For example as you’re growing up at each birthday someone would say you becoming a big boy or you are big boy. Then as you go into your early teens you couldn’t wait to turn 16. For most of us that was the day you got a license to drive a car. This is usually another much remembered birthday. For those of us who do not have a lot of money, it was the day that mom and dad let you drive the car. Maybe even the first day you get to drive the car by yourself. This first taste of real freedom lives on in your memory until you no longer have one. Someone will still make you a birthday cake and put candles on it. At that age you’re more excited about going to the pizza place and eating pizza all your friends. Then through your teenage years each birthday brought you closer to the age of 18. For some of us was the first time you could vote. For others it was a time for graduation. And if you are lucky enough to go to college and you got to live on campus, another taste of freedom. For others is the first time you could apply for a job and make the same salary as an adult. This meant that you could buy some of your own presents on your birthday, presents you really wanted. The next big birthday was when you turned 21. Usually by this time you did not live at home with your parents and family. So this was an occasion for you to get together with family, including the opportunity for you to have a drink with the adults in the family. For one of my sons, I actually took him to a casino. As the years go on you enjoy your birthday by either gathering with the family or going on a trip, such as snow skiing. You could have went on your first cruise or a road trip with friends to place you had never been before. During by this time you’ve hooked up with a significant other and there is a new special feeling when you and that person celebrate your birthdays. As you progress into your 30s and if you’re lucky enough to have children, you start focusing on your kid’s birthday and less on yours. Of course the big birthday that is not looked upon as a good one is when you turn 30 years old. For many of us were supposed to be successful millionaires doing whatever we wanted to as long as it wasn’t what our folks had done. During our 30s our birthdays would fall on workdays and therefore the whole day was not dedicated to the birthday, so when you got home there was that birthday cake and a card or two for the celebration. When you were in your 20s you partied till the late hours of the day, in your 30s you are usually in bed before midnight. These are the first years that you begin to lose your fitness and youthful appearance and start considering going to the gym and cosmetic surgery. And then comes the 40th birthday and you say to yourself, I cannot be this old. And it depends upon the tradition of your family as to when you get all the black balloons on your 40th birthday or on your 50th birthday. During all those years between 40 and 50 you do not know if you are excited about your birthday but usually your family or your significant other would do all they could to make you celebrate the day and enjoy it whether you want to or not.
Celebrating another year on this earth is really good thing. It does give you the opportunity to review the last year and make plans for the next year. You have the opportunity to look at where you’ve been and what you’ve done and be proud or not. It also is an opportunity for those around you, especially family, who care about you, to make you feel good. And as usual the birthday cake is there, but instead of 30 or 40 candles there are two candles shaped in the numbers of your birthdays on top. It seems to me that every birthday, whether I want to celebrate it or not, brings a smile to my face during that day. The fact that those around you find it important enough to celebrate this day really does make you feel good.
Now that I’m in my 60s I do celebrate my birthday and look forward to it. Not that I enjoy getting older but I am excited about living another year. My next big birthday will when I turn 70. I know in my mind I want to get there without the use of a walker or an electric chair. And I’ve had the opportunity to look around and see many men and women in their 70s still enjoying life to its fullest. So I fully expect to turn 70 and be active enough to enjoy the day.
This blog began with the announcement that is my wife’s, Gladys, birthday.
If I could sing on paper I would, not to the pleasure many people around me, but to help celebrate her birthday. My thought today is –HAPPY BIRTHDAY GLADYS (aka Petunia).