There is only one birthday for everyone. That is the day they were born. There is no life-long ‘birthdays’ to be celebrated because there is simply none.
Nonetheless people celebrate birthdays. Parties are thrown, dinners are organized, chalets are booked, and BBQ are conducted to rejoice over such celebration. As if such day worth rejoicing over.
But is it not the case that the clock of death starts ticking on the day we were born?
That means the day of our birth is also the day that generates an anticipation of our demise. And each so-called birthdays mark the nearness of the anticipation. Each year when the day comes, we are being reminded that our life span is shortened by 365 days. We are 365 days nearer to our death, an event that is as certain as my birth.
Now, is this worth celebrating?
Some say that birthday is special and celebratory to individuals because it is the day you came into the world. This view has a lofty assumption. It assumes that one’s coming into this world is pleasant.
One simple observation though: If it is such a pleasant place to be in, we do not need development, improvement, repentance, confession, weapons, and prison. All the talks about advancing the human race, be it economic, social, politic, and education, betray the deeply damned state we are in.
If the world is so pleasant, who needs a savior, or a spouse, or even a dog?
Birthday celebration is the most vivid embodiment of our reticence. Instead of preparing to face our own death, we delude ourselves with ‘birthdays’. And we do this every year with the ritualistic song “Happy Birthday to you”. How more banal can we be?
My ‘birthday’ is next week. It is more than a reminder that I am 365 days nearer to my death. More than anything else, the day alerts me to the perennial question, “How should I now live?”