When we were younger, most of us knew that having a birthday meant having a birthday party, getting treated special, not getting in trouble and getting presents and cupcakes. When we were younger, birthday parties were where we decided who the great friends are; you know, the ones who would give you that birthday present that you secretly eyed and left not-so-subtle hints about or those who loved chocolate cake as much as you. When we were younger, birthdays were fun social events that we eagerly anticipated; so what happened?
Why is it that as we get older, birthdays become something to be ashamed of and age is corresponded with irrelevance and lack of importance? I still have trouble wrapping my mind around why it is that people who seemingly have lived a fulling life are so eager to put life into slow motion and anxiously counting down days till the next birthday. The way I see it, birthdays should be celebrated at all ages.
Let me break down my thought process here…
First of all, I think “Happy birthday” is more appropriate for thanking your parents/primary caregivers for taking care of you since that day and so forth since it is our day of birth. Something along the lines of, “Congratulations” instead of “Happy Birthday” is moe appropriate and more accurately conveys what I am actually trying to say.
To me, saying “Happy birthday” to someone is an acknowledgement of event that said person had absolutely no control over. I’m not saying that wishing someone a happy birthday should be done away with or is wrong or bad; it’s always fantastic to recognize someone and make them feel loved. I just feel like, “Congratulations” takes it one step further and implies that they’ve earned a celebration. With life being so difficult and people fighting seen and (often more importantly) unseen battles, with the amount of reckless people in the world and with the amount of stress and pressure we put on ourselves everyday it should be celebrated when people have accomplished another 365 days. Imagine it.
“Congratulations! You survived getting up at the crack of dawn almost every day to work towards your dream.”
“Congratulations! This year has dealt you quite a hand of highs and lows, but look at you now, stronger and wiser than ever before.”
“Congratulations! You are amazing and everyday is a work in progress. Keep it up!”
Most often, people use the word, congratulations, when noticing a major step in life that has been accomplished such as a graduation, buying a home, getting a job or promotion, etc. So I think, it is most appropriate to say, “congratulations” to people, no matter the age. In fact, it should be stressed and celebrated the older we get. Life can be filled with so many unexpected twists and turns, pits and peaks, and to say we’ve made it another year is something to be acknowledged.
Birthdays should be celebrated. Age should be celebrated. Making it one day to the next and trying to improve ourselves every step of the way should be celebrated.
So early/belated congratulations to all of us!