Why it’s a Good Idea to Celebrate your Birthday!

time for another birthday celebration!

Do you always celebrate your birthday or do you cringe and keep it a secret since you are another year older?

Isn’t it curious how some people really make a song and dance about their birthdays whilst others would rather hide away for the day.

But what exactly are we celebrating on our birthday and why is it a good idea to celebrate?

Today is my birthday – and yes, I shall be celebrating it as usual, with close family and friends.

Every birthday actually brings you nearer to your death

I remember as a young boy on one of my birthdays, my grandfather questioned and denigrated this custom of celebrating birthdays. His argument was why celebrate when you are now one year closer to your death!

I never worked out whether he was joking or if he was serious – probably the latter as he was always rather stern and austere.

Even at that young age, I remember thinking that it should be a day of celebration and not commiseration. After all, your birthday only comes around once a year, and why should I be hiding away?

Also by definition every day is bringing you closer to your penultimate fate.

Now years later, with the advent of social media, it seems that the whole world knows it’s my birthday, judging by the number of goodwill messages I have had.

So even if I wanted to keep my birthday quiet and not celebrate it’s getting harder. No chance of me locking myself away for the day, bemoaning the fact that I am one year nearer to death!

Even talking about death seems a bit surreal on this day. But I guess it is what it is – birth and death are both part and parcel of life.

Maybe we should celebrate our birthdays to mark another year of getting through our life and surviving!

Instead, I prefer to focus on the positive aspects of a birthday.

You can choose to see your birthday as a day of celebraiton.

As has been the case for the last two years, I shall be spending today with my family. Since the loss of my father over 2 years ago, I made a pledge to always be with my mother and other family on my birthday.

When my father passed away, I regretted not having spent more birthdays with him. So that’s one thing you can do on your future birthdays – spend it with your loved ones.

A while ago, I wrote this post about how everyday is your birthday.

Even today, the question I often ponder on is this:-

What would your life be like if you lived as if it was your birthday everyday?

Indeed look back and recall your best birthday ever – and imagine living a life where everyday is just as joyous and you receive gifts, accolades, cards and good wishes from your loved ones.

At the same time, for some people it may be painful to remember their birthdays as not everyone has happy memories. Sometimes we all expect our birthday to be a grand, joyous occasion and then it turns out quite flat.

As well as a day of celebration, a birthday is also a time for reflecting on your life and reviewing your life.

It’s a bit like planning the coming year in late December / early January, but when you do this exercise at the time of your birthday, it seems much more personal, immediate and even urgent.

You can recall previous birthdays and reflect on just where you are now and what the intervening years have brought you.

Your birthday is therefore the perfect time for being grateful for what you have already experienced and achieved in the years to date.

So if it was your birthday today, what would you be grateful for in your life?

We all receive so many gifts everyday in our lives – we just have to become aware of them and gratitude will flow naturally.

It is also about being open to receiving – personally, I have learnt over recent years to become more open to receiving. It is not just about giving, giving and giving!

So ask yourself – what do you need to do or let go of, so as to become more open to receiving?

Part of receiving is being able to ask for what you want – ask and you receive help. Most people are only too willing to help – but they can only do so if you allow them.

From now on behave and live as if it is your birthday everyday.

What legacy are you creating through your life?

Your birthday is a great time to also review the legacy you are creating for the world through your life.

Now firstly let me clarify that a legacy does not have to be huge and grand – we can’t all be a Gandhi, Mandela or Mother Teresa – or maybe we can?

Wherever your life today has got you to, know and remember that you are making a difference to your family, your colleagues and your community.

You are indeed creating a legacy through your work even though you may not think so. Always remember how we are all so interconnected and every person is making a positive contribution in their own way.

A friend challenged me to reflect on my own legacy on this birthday and to share my thoughts with my readers. This conversation came about since he believed that I was playing small and yet I was much bigger than I made out.

His advice was that it’s okay to be humble and self-deprecating, but not if it serves to make me play small.

So here on my birthday today, I give myself permission to share with you what I believe is my legacy to date:-

1. My blog with positive and inspirational messages for the world

Writing this blog has become my biggest passion in recent times. Like most bloggers, I am creating a legacy of my thoughts and words through these articles on my blog.

If you are new to my blog, please do spend some time looking around – I really believe I have created a wealth of useful articles which will help you to make it happen for a better life and a better world.

2. My books – both paper and ebook versions

Get the Life you Love

My main book “Get the Life you Love” continues to change many lives, and after having sold a few thousand copies via Amazon and UK bookstores, I am pleased to launch the ebook format today on my birthday.

Please visit the newly launched book website here

3. Nirvana School.

The most fulfilling thing I have done in the last 10 years has been my involvement with Nirvana School in Pondicherry, South India.

Over the years through my evangelical support, I have got many people involved in this grand project and also raised quite a bit of money.

As I write this article, at this very moment a team of people are working away at the school in India to launch a new design for the school website, which will be unveiled soon.

We are always looking for more support and your involvement in Nirvana School, so just contact me if you would like to get involved.

So what’s ahead of you for the next year?

No matter how many birthdays you have already celebrated in your life, just know that there is much more to come in your life to celebrate when your next birthday comes around.

In the meantime, why not live each day as your birthday?

You know it makes sense.

Why miss out on an excuse to celebrate life?

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Comments

  1. Hi Arvind!

    Happy Birthday!!! And thank you for shining your light in the world: A million candles on a birthday cake could not shine as brightly as you!

    I, too, want every day of my life – not only the day of my birth – to be a celebration. And I even want the day of my death to be a celebration: It will mark the end of a life well lived on the physical plane – and a new beginning as non-physical spirit!

    Thank you for a wonderful, thoughtful post on your birthday! Much love, Stacey

  2. Arvind,

    Happy birthday!! Hope you have a great time spending with family. I think you are creating a great legacy for others and your future family to follow.

    I believe as we get older our celebration of birthdays and special days, celebration becomes more meaningful and less on fluff. When I was younger, all I wanted was gifts now I care more about time with loved ones.

    Have a very great birthday and many more to come!

    • Thanks Zengirl!

      Like you, for my birthdays now I want no gifts, just a special time with loved ones.

      Also helps to minimise the clutter in my life:-)

  3. Arvind,

    HAPPY HAPPY YOUR BIRTHDAY DAY! Great post.

    I know this must be sounding redundant but I really was just thinking about how differently people feel about their birthdays – and in some religions people don’t believe in celebrating their birthdays.

    I think sometimes people don’t celebrate their birthdays because they feel it is not acceptable to appreciate themselves. We are only “supposed” to place attention, affection, and as you point out giving, on others.

    How did we get so turned around? As you often discuss, BALANCE.

    For me, a birthday is an opportunity to say to the universe – wow, I am here in a body walking the earth in this amazing universe!

    How outrageous is that! I am one with others, the earth, and the universe (wowey) AND an individual entity who gets to create my life. There is nothing “lesser” about being in our own skin as well as united with everything and everyone. It is what makes life so fascinating and wonderful – this paradox.

    In my opinion, if we were meant to be totally united, we would not have separate bodies. Yet, how sweet and powerful the moments when we feel that unity in the very core of our beings.

    I am happy that you can be with your family today and that you are celebrating your accomplishments! Good for you for recognizing that you are giving us a wonderful legacy. And thank you, Arvind, for doing this for us!

    Peace and be well…and have fun!
    Lauren

    • Lauren, thanks for your kind words and for sharing at such length about birthdays.

      Different cultures really do celebrate in different ways – only last week I was listening to a Jack Kornfield buddhist discourse and he explained how in some cultures young children are taught o celebrate their birthdays by learning to share their universal gifts. It becomes a big celebration of receiving and giving – and the child it taught about abundance and sharing. How amazing is that!

      In contrast so often in the West it’s all about more, more and more and mine, mine and mine.

      Also, as you say, some people don’t celebrate their birthdays since they do not feel deserving of appreciation by others.

      Clearly it is amazing thing that we are who we are, in the bodies that we have and we are able to walk on this planet.

      Your words reminded me of Marianne Williamson’s words – who are you not to let your light shine?

      So let us all shine – every day and even more so on our birthdays:-)

  4. Arvind, Happy Birthday to You!

    And congratulations on the launch of the ebook format of Get The Life You Love. And kudos to you on all your wonderful accomplishments. Your legacy is shining through each moment of your life now.

    Although the loss of your father is now part of your life, how good it must feel to still be able to spend time with your mother and other family on your birthday.

    Thank you for another insightful post, Arvind, and all the encouraging reminders you share about positive ways to view our birthdays and our lives. Your voice speaks so warmly and truly in every post – it is always such a pleasure to be here on your blog.

    Since my birthday is simply the day I was born, I like to remind myself to look at each new day as the first day of the rest of my life. I find this makes quite a difference in how I move through the day. The feeling of freshness is there – yesterday is gone – and here is today, a new day, and I am born anew to start afresh the moment I awaken.

    And as you so joyfully remind us in your post, “why miss out on an excuse to celebrate life?”

    Sending you birthday wishes and spring energy from Japan – Catrien Ross.

    • Thanks Catrien for all your kind words and reflections. And thanks to for hte lovely birthday photograph you emailed me:-)

      I am so excited by the ebook format of “Get The Life You Love” – it has been a long time coming and I know it will help spread my message out there.

      Thought the loss of my father is now a part of my life, it still feels raw and hard to believe he is no longer around. So I have the next best thing – the family:-)

      I really love your approach of seeing each day as hte rest of your life – what freshness and aliveness that must bring.

      Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a dream and today is our birthday – time to celebrate:-)

      As Buddhists say, each day is a chance to be born again. So lets all be renewed every day – what a wonderful way of living!

  5. Happy Birthday Arvind! You do make the world a better place. I’m very happy that you put this blog out for all of us. Optimism and good spirits do make a difference. Thank you.

  6. Happy Birthday! Pisces?
    I’m a gemini. Yeah Birthdays are fun and exciting. Have an amazing time! Your articles are amazing!!!

    Baker

  7. Thanks Baker!

    Yes, I am a Pisces – and apparently only just.

    I am told that Pisces and Gemini usually get on really well. But then again I would imagine you would get on well with anyone:-)

  8. Arvind –

    Happy Birthday!! I hope you had a fulfilling and joyful day. I am on the fence with this whole birthday thing. I prefer the perspective that every day should be lived as a celebration. A birthday is another wonderful day on this earth, and we should enjoy every precious second and make the most of it. My birthday is coming up soon, so I need to decide whether to take your advice or just take it in the flow of life. Decisions, decisions. Thanks for an a thought provoking post.

    Phil

    • Thanks Phil – it was a fun day, made all the more so thanks to the literally 100s of lovely messages i received throughout the day via email, sms, personal calls and on my Facebook wall.

      As I said, there is just no hiding anymore on my birthday!

      I agree we should make the most of each precious second on this earth – but it’s even nicer on our birthday when we can look back on all our good times and spend the day with loved ones.

      I have a suggestion for you on your birthday – have a grand celebration!!!

  9. Good article. thank you

    If you want read more about 2012 year and about end of the world predicted at this year, you can do this here

    http://2012earth.net/switch_to_consciousness_2012.html

  10. Theresa @PerformanceTips says:

    Hi Arvind,

    I was particularly drawn to this post as it’s my birthday on Friday (yes I did just miss April Fool’s day).

    What a great post, it made me really think about my attitude to birthdays and what my legacy might be. Sadly I haven’t such worthy accomplishments as you but it’s a work in progress :-)

    I totally agree with you about celebrating with family. As one gets older the presents are less important (there are only so many possessions you can cram into a home) and the people become far more important. In fact, this year I have asked my family not to give me presents as most of them are out of work and have little money. Instead I want to celebrate the day in their company doing something fun and simple like going for a picnic or to visit a museum.

    We lead such busy lives it is much more precious to spend the gift of tme together.

    • Teresa, belated birthday greetings! Hope you spent a great day in the company of your family.

      As you say, the presence of people is far more important than their presents.

      As for your legacy, I am sure yours too is full of worthy accomplishments:-)

  11. Wishing you a wonderful birthday Arvind!

    I just knew I had to stop over when I saw this post on Twitter :)

    You are so right about mentioning that birthdays usually take us a year closer to death, so why do we still celebrate them. Similarly, at our end, the elders don’t really blow the candles and instead, light them. I guess it’s the way you see or take life. Just like a glass half-filled with water may see empty to some, and half full to others- isn’t it :)

    I truly do believe to celebrate each day as your birthday, as you really never know about the next second- so live the present NOW by living it to the fullest :)

    Thanks once again for sharing your eBook version with everyone, as well as the wonderful posts on your blog :)

    Have a wonderful birthday with your family. :)
    Harleena Singh@Freelance Writer’ latest post ..How Can I Be a Better Parent?