Birthdays used to excite passion. They were occasions to mark progress toward some desirable future, some as yet unclaimed state of affairs, that would be better than today.
This murky, never-articulated premise for celebrating birthdays was never clear, but it was certainly omnipresent. The nature of this better future was always unclear, but its service as the never-articulated foundation for birthday celebrations was always just beneath the surface of the festivities, whether real or simply imagined.
I now consider birthdays as solemn markers of the inevitable march toward oblivion. With each passing year (or month, day, minute, second, or nanosecond), that inevitable point at which our engagement with all things simply stops comes nearer. That inevitable end-point is not something I’m anxious to celebrate, so I look elsewhere.
So today, and for several years now, I have celebrated my birthday not as an accomplishment in the journey toward some unclear wonderful future but as one more anniversary of keeping my distance from that inevitable void.
And it’s a celebration of all the things that have come before, all the goals met and the successes in coping with those that weren’t met. So, happy birthday to me. Another year older and deeper (or not).