Yesterday was my birthday, and it went by almost unnoticed. Not on the part of those around me, many wished me all the best, but rather on my part.
You see, I have taken to not celebrating my birthday. Seeing it as being a “little thing” I have largely ignored it for years, after all a birthday is just another day, you aren’t really a year older, just a day. I didn’t give it much thought at all. I went to work, didn’t mention it, came home and had a normal unremarkable day.
Then it hit me, spurred by a comment made by my Sister-in-Law who, when I remarked that I had received no birthday gifts and had no plan to celebrate at all, commented that she “hated that”, meaning the trivialization of such celebrations. At the time I didn’t think much of it, but this morning I realized just what I was doing.
The Strikers Oath states in its first sentence “I swear by my life, and my love of it”, well this apathy toward my own birthday was not showing my life (Me) the ‘love’ it/I deserve. Too easily we reduce our lives to indistinguishable days, each following in bored procession one after the other. This is the antithesis of the Objectivist philosophy. Objectivism teaches us that we should celebrate our lives, that it is the end of all our means and that it is worth and worthy of any and all tributes we can heap upon it.
Having had this sudden realization I began to see the other ways I had been trivializing my own existence. I had let others that I value, specifically my wife view her birthday in the same fashion. Thus I was robbing myself of an opportunity to express with complete selfish satisfaction how much I value her.
Hell the day itself does not need to be important at all. The mere act of living my life in my own way, however small, is worthy of complete mindfulness, a conscious joyful acknowledgement of life, my life and my living of it.
My birthday has come and gone, but its passing, as unremarked as it was, has left me with this thought… Today, and every day is the first day of the rest of your life. Live it, consciously, actively, viscerally, fully.