Thursday, March 18, 2004

An Explanation of Sorts

I’m not really a big fan of my birthday. A lot of people love to celebrate the day they were born. It’s another excuse to party, get drunk if you want, get presents from people, and pretty much do whatever you want. That seems so appealing so why would I not like my birthday. Well, maybe by me saying that I don’t like my birthday people are getting the wrong impression. I don’t like it for many reasons, but I also do enjoy it for others. In reality, I suppose I don’t really know which side of the coin I’ll land on every year until that day hits. Since I never know, I would rather play down my birthday and not make a big deal out of it.

For me, this day isn’t about partying, celebrating, or getting presents. This day marks the anniversary of the day I was born, but I like to treat it a little differently than just a day of celebration. For me, my birthday is a day of reflection and self-examination. All too often we forget things. It’s simply impossible to remember everything you do, but I seem to forget more things than I’d like to. For example, yesterday as I was waiting for Ryan to be done with track practice, I started going through some of the stuff that had accumulated in my car. As I was leafing through a pile of receipts and business cards I found my zippo lighter that Kristin had engraved for me about a year ago. Before finding it, I realized that I had completely forgotten I had it. Even though I don’t smoke, I used to always carry this lighter with me simply because it was a gift from Kristin. At some point I must have left it in my car and over time I had forgotten it was there, and almost forgotten about it completely.

It’s instances like this that make me want to dedicate at least one day to forcing myself to really, truly think back upon things I may have forgotten. Every birthday means I have one more year of memories crammed into my brain, and Lord knows my brain works like a hard drive next to a low grade magnet. It seems that for everything new that goes in something old is somehow erased or misplaced. Each year I want to try my hardest to at least reflect upon and remember with clarity the important events that have happened to me over time. Without remembering what has shaped me to be the person I am, what point is there in possessing a memory span that’s longer than a goldfish’s.

The reason that I usually regard this day as a sad one is not because I hate getting older (which I do) or because my death seems to be looming one year closer (which is a fear of mine), but instead because I realize how wonderful my life truly has been up to this point. I’m not sad because everything has been wonderful—that’s quite absurd, but because time has flown by so fast. So often I rush through the events of my life, just wanting to get from event A to event B without even thinking about the events that are contained between those two points. God has given us a limited amount of time here on earth and I want to make sure that each moment is one that I will remember, if even for a little bit.

My birthday is the day that I look back and try to remember each of those moments that might have slipped through the cracks. My birthday is a day of deep thought and reflection. My birthday helps me to remember why it is that I have as wonderful of a life as I do. My birthday is a day to ruminate over exactly what the human experience is all about. Call it a philosophy thing. Call it a weird, Rick thing. Call it an excuse for me to be anti-social one day of the year. Call it whatever, but this is what today means to me.

No comments: