Thursday, April 28, 2011

Epiphany

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.

3 comments:

Earl3d said...

Happy Birthday, Zip! Even if slightly belated :)

Rachel said...

I suffer from loneliness & depression and your post resonated strongly in me. Tell me, if you would, what specific steps are you now taking in response to your epiphany?

Zip said...

Hi Rachel, firstly I would say that I do not suffer from either loneliness or from depression and I recognize, at least on the part of clinical depression, that there may be physiological or mental reasons for it.

I have tried to be more self-aware, more rationally selfish since my epiphany.

As an example, after my birthday I bought myself a present, a Kobo e-reader, something I had wanted but before had thought "well I don't really NEED one"... Need be damned I wanted it and I could rationally afford one so why shouldn't I have one?

In a smaller example when I looked out of the back door and saw it was a nice day (sunny and warm unlike so much of our wet and grey spring this year) instead of just thinking "good I don't have to wear a rain jacket" I went out on the porch to have my morning coffee to actually enjoy the moment instead of rushing on to the next trivial thing without ever acknowledging the perfection of that one.

The thing to realize is that when we think "well, its just a small thing", we aren't wrong. But we ought to recognize too that our lives are made up out of trivial moments for the most part (like drinking coffee on the porch on a sunny morning) and that at the same time these snippets of our lives are worthy of enjoying and that we should be taking/making the time to enjoy them.

I'm not sure that this can/will help you Rachel. I think that living our life is probably the most personal thing each of us does on a daily basis.

You have to make the effort to realize and recognize that you are worthy of living, and that you are surrounded by these perfectly and uniquely trivial moments every single day... and live them.

Good luck, and have a fantastic day, every day!