Excitement begins early for your birthday. If not in yourself, then in me. Knowing it is your birthday month I watch the calendar and in the background my mind runs a time clock of anticipation and fear of procrastination. Will I make the post in time? Will I get the date right? Will I get the right card or the right present or make the phone call at the right time of an international day? Will I say the right things? After all, thousands of people are having a birthday on your birthday too, so how does one not be platitudinous or vacuous or plain? How to make the moment special? Authenticity of tone and feeling and meaning is not guaranteed in a card; I've received the same card from different people. If there are no unique words within, why, what's so special about that?
Specialness is a feeling one appropriates around a birthday. Many a youngster has proclaimed things such as, "28 days to my birthday!" Many a teenager has mouthed things like, "I'm so glad the 5th is on a Friday, not Saturday; I get to be at school and have the class sing to me, get my locker decorated, have my teachers wish me happy birthday; the party is on the weekend. It's like having two birthdays!" And then of course there is the opportunity to show off the new bracelet, the new watch, the new cell phone or iPod or.... Specialness is the feeling that one is recognized. It is difficult for us not to be recognized on our birthdays. Some are even surprised when it's someone else's too.
Billions of people are birthday people on this planet. Each day someone somewhere is feeling the sense of the date, the magical 26, or 18, or 21, or ... TODAY! It's a magical date in a momentous month to be a marker of years spent living, age proved maturing, or, for some as we get very much older, years left likely to be living. And the specialness we feel is, after all, deserved. There is no one like you. On March 26th the world was invested with your presence. (And if the date is right on your birthday is there not a delightful sense that this indeed was really written just for you?) As such, invested with your unique presence, our planet evolved by virtue of each other person you influenced, impacted, loved, gave of yourself, and contributed toward. Indeed, others have been born through you, in every sense of the word.
To isolate the molecular self in a massive sea of mankind and within the momentum of universal flow thereby appropriate unto oneself a specialness of pinpointed time on a day made differentiated by one's birth in a given month is an essentially human undertaking. (Only man makes birth days.) After all, your birthday may well be half over by the time you read this. And the six months after a birthday is not quite the same as the six months before. Why not celebrate monthly? (Gift lovers like THAT idea!)
Birthdays mark the day on which you were born. So simple a statement. But more than that, they are isolated in the flow of general time to celebrate the very uniqueness of yourself and the great gift of your life to others, to this planet, to our universe. We pause to acknowledge the marker in your life, to let you know we think about you, care for you, love you. In that case then, may there be a birthday bounty of assurances of such for you each birthday, every month, and indeed, every day. But if for today? Happy Birthday!