I love birthdays. Not in the sense of wanting to be treated as queen-for-a-day, but in the sense that I love the idea of celebrating the completion of another year. I learned pretty early on that life is unpredictable and fragile, so I believe in birthdays. They’re important. Each year is an accomplishment.
Of course, the way I’ve experienced birthdays has changed as I’ve gotten older. I remember getting out of bed on birthday mornings when I was in elementary school. I’d stand in my pajamas, bare feet on the floor, and I’d literally feel taller. Older and wiser, too, of course, but mostly I remember the feeling of gained height.
As a teenager I don’t remember that sensation of being taller, but I do remember a feeling of increasing maturity. I wasn’t one of those kids who thought only of that “someday” in the future when I’d be a grownup. Rather, I tried to enjoy each age as it came. Birthdays were still exciting because they were another step.
These days, I still love birthdays. I try to remember to acknowledge my friends’ birthdays (I admit, I rely on Facebook as a crutch for this, a fact which bugs me) and I look forward to my own. Giving presents is as much fun as getting them, and I like the attention that birthdays naturally bring.
The last few years, my actual birthdays have been relatively quiet. I go to class or I do some work. For my 25th I went to the Vancouver Aquarium with some new friends from the grad program I’d just started. It was fun, but not as much as I’d hoped – the group was of an unwieldy size for the venue, and by the end of the day I was actually relieved to go back to my single-occupant apartment and have scrambled eggs for dinner.
I didn’t feel taller when I woke up this morning, though I suppose at 27 I can’t expect to be growing vertically anymore. I didn’t feel older or wiser either. Perhaps this is the next stage in birthdays. I read somewhere that Socrates is supposed to have said something along the lines of “wisest is he who knows he does not know.”
So maybe not feeling wiser is a sign of maturity. While you ponder that, I’m going to go over here and ponder what I’d like to get myself as a birthday present.