A Quarter of a Century
A day to celebrate all days…
The winterish rays of the sun tickled his face, as the duvet so warm from the nightly slumber got pushed aside. It was his birthday. Another year on the planet done and dusted, a thought raised its voice inside his mind, another day to celebrate it… But what is there to celebrate, he intuitively asked, should I celebrate the simple fact of surviving so long…? Is that something to be happy about? Noticing the morbid vibe, which the discourse brought up, the boy sat up on the side of the bed and looked at the reflection in the mirror. How are you doing?
His most recent days, weeks, months, and even years seemed to flow quite successfully. He was developing his career, working on becoming a better person, and committing his time to those who, in his heart, had their place. Overall, his life was pretty awesome. Sometimes, however, admitting to such a blessed state is the greatest challenge of all. Especially, when there are still so many things one wishes to improve, change, and attract into his experience of existence. He gazed at the golden-brown eyes in the mirror and pondered the meaning behind the feelings that rushed through his mind’s heart. He felt both happy and sad, relaxed and overwhelmed, excited and demotivated. Why so serious, he heard an echo of the Joker character laughing inside his mind, what’s up my friend…? Understanding of the fleeting sensation that each emotion brought to the surface of one’s mind, the boy stood up and walked over to his desk. He wished to commemorate his birthday awakening with a gratitude reflection. He needed to review where his life stood. Sitting in front of the notebook, he picked up a pen and squiggled a little line below the last entry. ‘Birthday Gifts’ he wrote in the middle. People often ask us what we wish for our birthdays, he reflected, they ask you to blow the candle and ask for a wish to come true… Or sometimes they call you in advance and ask about the presents to be given… He tapped the pen against the glistening surface of the desk. How lucky am I to have it all, he sighed, pretty much all is here already…
He thought of the fact, that as years go by, he struggled more and more when his mother asks him about a present he would wish for. I’ve got it all mom, he would often shrug his arms, I don’t need anything else really… At least nothing one can buy, he added inaudibly. He thought of the privilege of life he was granted. He was healthy, rather good-looking, able in the mind, and educated. He had a roof over his head, a group of great friends to count on, a family that gave him the most they could, and they would never let him go under. He thought of these blessings and simply broke down in a cry. He knew, in the heart of his heart, that all that is truly important is rarely obtained with the use of money or force. All that really counts is simply given. Wiping the reddened face, he thought of the impact his life had on the world for the past twenty-five years. If I was to die today, what would I say about my performance on this Earthly plane…? He had no doubt that each person has an intricate set of values and resources they can provide the worldly community with. Everyone has their gifts and their talents. Everyone brings something to the table. Everyone makes a difference. Like ripples of water on a lake, our actions, even the smallest ones, have an effect on a scale greater than we could have ever imagined…
He looked back at the page and decided to leave it blank. The challenge of pinpointing the few birthday gifts was simply too much to bear at that moment. He would rather take the time to spend the day well, surrounding himself with positive energy and people that truly wish him the best. Thinking deeply and taking a moment to notice the emotional state his body and mind were in, he reflected on the one thing that each life has in common. The fact of ‘being’ alive. With his mind open wide and his hand hesitantly squeezing the pen, he resolved to make a wish, a birthday gift to himself in the simplest form of it all. With a smile lingering between the overgrown edges of his after-sleep hair, he wrote the three words that bounced against the walls of his mind. ‘Observe, Appreciate, Imagine’.
I turned twenty-five today, he stated to himself in a calm manner, so what…? It is just a mere date, which someone, someday in the past decided to account for… It is yet another concept – age, something to use in avoidance of going completely mad in the world, which seems to hold no firm boundaries whatsoever. We arrive here, we live, and we die. And we make up the whole story around it. We try to validate our existence through our actions, ideas, and perceptions. We try to make it amount to something… But we’re here only on a lease, a little vacation. I am here only for a moment. A moment so unimportant in the grand scheme of things that it could make me cry to truly face it. A moment that is simply mine to make the most of. There is no way out of this game of life. It’s a one-way ticket. A rabbit hole without an emergency exit. It is just as it is… He looked out the window and thought of the few things his friends, family, and people around him had in common. They valued their lives greatly. Even those who appeared to be suffering and struggling valued their existence for the fact that it was. It simply was.
So, if I am yet another grain of sand, which with time will be blown away to provide space for another grain, he started, if I am here only for a moment, a moment that I was blessed with to enjoy… I wish for myself and for all others to recognise the gift that life has to offer. I wish for my year and the years after to be more ‘present’ and more ‘wonderous’ because I will choose to see them this way. I wish to make the most of this birthday gift…
Maybe our birthdays are misunderstood…? Maybe we should focus on celebrating the gift of birth, rather than celebrating the milestones of our existence. Maybe all birthdays should remind us that our existence is a gift worth noticing and cherishing. Maybe…
If you liked this story, check out the episode of my podcast, which talks about the gift of encouragement.