I Don’t Want To Celebrate, So What?

I Don’t Want To Celebrate, So What?

My birthday is in less than two weeks and I don’t plan on celebrating it.
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In today's world, with all the modern technologies that we have at our fingertips every miniscule moment seems to deem celebration. The smallest events somehow always make their way into entertainment news, and we have cameras that are almost DSLR quality in our back pockets, it makes sense that everything is now an Instagram worthy moment, so consider the amount of attention and celebration a birthday could gain? All the likes, comments, shares, and people wishing they could be you, it seems like it's an opportunity any tech loving millennial couldn't pass up, right? Here's the thing, my birthday is approaching faster than the end of the quarter and I couldn't care less about marking the day.

Now I realize the common thought after reading that is something along the lines of “why” or “what happened” when in reality, nothing happened. I come from a loving family where everyone other than occasionally my overworked dad wishes me happy birthday on midnight and spend the day pampering me with gifts and compliments. Extended family all call in and give me an abundance of blessings. My best friend is always hyped a month in advance, and my boyfriend acts as if I was born everyday in March, spending the whole month showering me with extra small gifts and affection. It’s not that I hate my birthday, or dread the attention the day brings, I just don’t see the purpose of the day.

Don’t get me wrong, I love birthdays in general and am always at the frontlines of planning when it comes to celebrating the lives of the ones I love, but for my own birthday I just don’t see the point. Other than the increased amount of attention you get, nothing significant happens. As a person who loves life and make an attempt to give everyday a goal and a purpose, I believe that even though your birthday marks a personally officially growing another year older, 99% of the time none of the growing happens on your actual birthday.

You grow when you're faced with challenges, or discover a new thing about yourself, or even do something as little as helping out a friend or stranger. Growth comes from all the little tasks you complete during the year that teach you something new, not from the one day a year where everything is centered around you and the fact you're still alive. Although attention is something nice to have every once in a while, I feel for me personally receiving it all because I lived to see another year doesnt make me as happy as receiving it when I’ve gone out of my way to do something that truly deserves the recognition and celebration.

So yes, if anyone approaches me to wish me a happy birthday I will genuinely thank them for it. And yes if close friends of family want to get my a gift to celebrate the occasion I will graciously accept it (even if I think it's unnecessary). But no, I am not putting an emphasis on or even attempting to celebrate my birthday as it approaches, and its not because I hate my birthday or anything about it, but I pride myself in trying to find purpose in everyday or the year, and living everyday like it is my last, making all attempts to grow in the process. A single day of the year doesn’t define my growth, and to me all growth is a celebration.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.

bethkrat
bethkrat
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I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.

bethkrat
bethkrat

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