So last week was B’s birthday. I have to admit that I am not big on birthdays; I do try to do my best to do something special for those I love on their special day, but, I also try to make sure that I respect the fact that it is their special day and so if they would prefer to spend it with others or alone or doing something else with someone else, then I step back.
I also tend to be the one that no one knows for sure, if at all, when my birthday is. It is not information that I tend to share with others. Personally, I do not see the need. I have no desire to obligate others to behave in some socially dictated way on a specific day towards me that they would have no desire to do on any ordinary day.
Thus, those that know me, know that “no one knows my birthday”, not even most family, the plus side is that no one tends to know my age either, not for sure anyway. The plus there is more of a double edged sword, people treat you either by the age they think you are based on their view of you or they treat you the age they assume people must be to have reached or accomplished certain milestones in life. Thus, there are some that would probably be very surprised to know my age is so “high” or “low” depending on their point of view.
Here’s my issue with society being so focused on birthdays and ages. Birthdays are used to market more consumerism to people. Society implies that we are supposed to party it up on our birthday. Society also stresses the importance of buying and giving gifts on birthdays. In addition, as the numbers increase with each of these celebrations, we are judged by societal milestone beliefs.
You are expected to get your driver’s license on your 16th celebration and there will be questions if you do not.
A lot is made of one’s 18th celebration as well….on that one you are supposed to have the rest of your life planned out.
For your 21st, it is all about being able to legally drink!
Wait a minute, this is your 30th and you are single with no kids?!?!
What is wrong with you??? What are you waiting for??? You do know that your life is over with, right?
Just wait, now it’s your 40th and you are either still single or you a got married to get everyone off your back, so they would think that you really are successful or a normal adult! And that worked so well, that you are now one of the “normal” divorced “middle-agers”!
Usually between that dreaded 40th and or 50th, most people have been judged so much that they question everything about themselves and enter that proverbial “mid-life crisis”! Everyone and their mother has been telling “you” how to live your life and what you should do and what makes you happy so much so, that usually depending on the “you” that you are,
you lose it!
And you start looking for things that actually make you happy or truly excite you and these things make others mad or crazy or upset, but you don’t care, cause you have spent the last “lifetime” caring too much about what others think and even actually believing them that they know best or better or even that they know you, for that matter!
But No More!
What’s the point?
You spent so much energy trying to be part of the rat race.
Worse you have made yourself unhealthy by trying to win a race that is designed to keep you always in the back of the pack.
And now at that time in your life when you should be able to reflect on your accomplishments and take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor, you are stressing about how you will cover the costs of your retirement, at this point you are well aware of the fact that none of the things that you gave the best of your life to are giving any of it back to you.
Your parents and grandparents worked the same job for their whole ‘careers’ and for their loyalty they got a decent retirement and were able to enjoy their golden years. Then those companies that were built on that loyalty, decided that it was the ‘share-holders’ and not the workers that made the company. The truth was lost to the profit margin! Dividends became the focus instead of the product or service that the company supposedly provided. So much so that we have companies today that make billions and they produce nothing, they sell nothing, they provide no service, yet they make billions. And the workers, they cannot even count on being able to retire, while trust-fund brats from share-holder robbery have never known a day of labor their whole lives.
And there’s your life!
There is where all those “birthdays” got you!
“Another day older and deeper in debt.”
Photo Credit: animatedimages.org