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
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?