It happens sometime in your 20s, typically. As the date approaches, rather than get excited for your birthday, for all the fun you could have with friends, the gifts you might get and the feeling of being a little older, you dismiss it as “just another day”. Why, you think, would anyone want to celebrate my birthday, when there have so many of them?
This feeling of “not wanting to draw attention to oneself” comes from a good place, but it’s ultimately wrong. With all due respect to the few internet articles claiming you shouldn’t celebrate your birthday, doing so can be an enriching, communal and – most importantly – fun experience that no adult should rob themselves of.
To provide considered counterpoints to the article linked above, and to convince you that, no matter how old you are you should celebrate your birthday, here’s a breakdown of the main reasons in support of the annual ritual.
Any Excuse for Community Is a Good Excuse
As adults, you don’t exactly get endless opportunities to surround yourself with friends and loved ones. Plan a gathering for a random Friday, and you might get some polite reasons from your friends why they’re just too busy these days. But a birthday is a universally special occasion.
Especially if you forego the normal meeting places – a bar, a restaurant, a home, etc. – and throw a fun birthday party your friends will enjoy then people will show up. No excuse for community is a bad excuse. If you want to view your birthday as an opportunity to get everyone in the same room, laughing and socializing, all the better.
The Passage of Time Is a Crucial Reminder
How many occasions does one get in a year to celebrate their personal passage of time? Yes, collectively everyone celebrates the New Year, which is a ceremonial passing of one year to another, but birthdays are the only opportunity you get in the year to internalize that passage of time.
This is key for two reasons. Firstly, it lets you look back and reflect on what you’ve done so far in life. And secondly, it’s an important reminder that time is limited, and therefore special. It might ultimately be a philosophical reason to celebrate your birthday, but it’s definitely an important one.
Birthdays Are an Opportunity to Try New Things
Just like New Year’s is a convenient excuse to try new life-bettering things, your birthday is an opportunity to try fun new activities. After all, as birthdays are quick to remind you, life is pretty short.
Pick a birthday activity that’s out of the ordinary: go axe throwing for your birthday party and end the night belting out tunes at karaoke. Try something you wouldn’t normally do. The beauty of a birthday is that anything’s fair game, no matter how “out there”.
With all due respect to anyone who says you shouldn’t celebrate your birthday as an adult, the benefits of self-reflection, community and curiosity far outweigh any worry that you’re “drawing attention to yourself”. This year, celebrate it!