How do you celebrate your birthday?

Birthdays come once a year, unless you were born on leap year. They are a time for celebration. A birthday is a personal holiday. It seems a shame that companies don’t give us our birthdays off as a paid holiday. When did people start celebrating birthdays? Did Adam and Eve celebrate their birthdays? If so, there is no mention in the bible of this fact. One would think that since they were the first people in the world, they would have been eager to celebrate their birthdays. Perhaps they had too much else going on.

According to Wikipedia, the following are some facts about birthdays:

• Large-scale celebration of birthdays in Europe began with the cult of Mithras, which originated in Persia but was spread by soldiers throughout the Roman Empire.
• Birthday celebrations were rare during the Middle Ages but saw a resurgence with the advent of the Reformation.
• The celebration of birthdays is not universal in the West; in addition to those people preferring name day celebrations, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate either, considering them to be pagan festivals along with Christmas and Easter.

It is a good thing we don’t all have to march to the same drummer. Some of us prefer to celebrate our birthdays and some do not. I have developed a habit of trying to do something very unique every fifth birthday. This has become a way of challenging myself every five years to do something different or to face a personal fear. Thus on my 55th birthday, I did my first skydive. I had always been afraid of heights so jumping out of a plane at about 4000 feet was a real challenge. Sometimes the challenges have been physical and other times more emotional. I am determined at my next “fifth” to take acting lessons. This would be very out of character for me and a real challenge personally and emotionally. Thus, birthdays can mark a time of growth as well as a time of passage. I have known people who bring their own birthday cakes to work to help others celebrate their birthdays.

Birthdays can be as creative as you want to make them. You can even have an “unbirthday party and celebrate 364 days a year, except of course on your actual birthday. How do you regard your birthdays? Do you see them as a time of growth, creativity, and playfulness, or do you regard birthdays with dread and loathing? What do you do to make your birthdays special? Do you wait for others to remember you or do you remember yourself? Why not take charge and give yourself the birthday of your dreams this year?

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