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Why celebrating birthdays matters

I was thinking today on my birthday, solo wander about why I think it is so important to celebrate or at least acknowledge birthdays (I don't mean huge parties, though those are fun too). I have always believed that honoring another trip around the sun is important but not all people feel that way. So I thought I would take a few moments and words to explain my thought processes.

In our youth, annual celebrations for growing older are held in high regard. Often elaborate parties are created for friends and family to attend and honor one year olds (who by the way, don't remember the party) and their success of turning 1. Followed by 2, 3 etc. until some vague teen year, where it is not quite as big a deal or there is not enough time or it's not cool or whatever. Then you get the rights of passage in some cultures for 13, where there are huge festivities for a child becoming a teen, quite a beautiful thing really. As we go up in years, 16-drivers license, 18- adulthood and voting, 21- the ever cherished opportunity to legally drink. And of course there are the decade accomplishments after that, 30, 40 and the over the hill party for 50 year olds and some beyond. But what about all of the time in between?

I mean we have a clever acronym for making it through a week (TGIF, wink), but we neglect a full year of survival, experience, growth and responsibility? Making it through an entire year of life should be cherished, appreciated and honored. Life is wonderful but it can also be incredibly challenging, especially with the constant ebbs and flows of life. So I like to think that sending someone a clever text or shoutout on social media or going old school with a paper card should be standard operating procedures. And it should go without saying that taking meaningful and enjoyable time for yourself on or around your birthday should be a no brainer.

To some degree I believe our fear of aging keeps people from wanting to acknowledge birthdays as we pass the 20's, but it seems so absurd. On your birthday, you are truly another year wiser, more experienced, farther on your personal journey and hopefully closer to becoming the person you were meant to become. And even if none of the deeper stuff happened you are still a person who managed to make it through another year and that is awesome!!! A year can mean a lot of change. A year can mean new friends, new understandings and new approaches to life. As we age a year can feel like it happens in an instant, would it not be worth a moment of your time to celebrate someone else's learning and growth as well as your own?

So I ask you to consider that the next time that wheel of life completes a cycle for you or a friend or loved one, pause for a moment and connect with them. Even if it is just to say "Hi" and "I hope you have another great go at it." Those thoughts and intentions are meaningful and they are what living is all about. Celebrate your life! Celebrate the beauty of more time. Celebrate the moment, it is truly a blessing.

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