Once past the yearned-for milestones of legal age to drive, vote, marry, etc., most of us would prefer not to count the candles on the cake or admit to an older label. We don’t feel any particular age and don’t want to be perceived as and limited by the stereotypes the numbers bring with them.
I understand that there were once primitive tribes where no one knew anyone’s age. Individuals were judged on abilities, not numbers. The older I get, the more appealing that sounds.
So, what is the point of annual birthday celebrations? Wouldn’t it be better to have periodic life-stage ceremonies, instead, such as “Welcome to adulthood”, “Happy Mid-life Crisis”, and “Congratulations for making it Over-the-hill?”
Seriously, since we all have a birthday, why do we need cake and balloons every year? We need them because, although we may be ambivalent about our own march of years, these days are an opportunity for friends and family to let us know that they are glad we were born. That simple sentiment can mean everything.
I know, because I have been on the receiving end of some of those welcome birthday wishes this weekend and they warmed my heart.
I believe that birthday celebrations become even more important as we grow older because they acknowledge another year of survival in an increasingly difficult world.
On this birthday I am grateful to friends and family…those I love and those who love me.
For this “woman of a certain age”, that is the best birthday gift of all.