Today is my 22nd birthday. In a sense, it may be the first of the “unimportant birthdays”, but I don’t think so. I was born 22 years ago today; I was given the magical gift of having a life to live. I think this is worth just as much celebration, because that’s really the point of birthdays, isn’t it? A time to celebrate and be thankful for our very breath as it’s placed in our lungs.
There are two prevailing attitudes in our culture about growing up, neither of them particularly healthy in my opinion. The first, as I heard much of when I graduated from college, is that your life is over when you get out of school. A lot of people have told me that college is the highlight of life, and once you’re through, the rest of your life is a perfunctory exercise in merely surviving.
Another group of people must be from Egypt, because they’re living in denial. (Bad joke.) A lot of people never take up the mantle that they’re supposed to drape over their shoulders as adults. You’ve heard a lot about “man-children”, I’m sure you even know plenty of them. These are people who think that life as an adult is simply the life of a child, but without rules and with more disposable income.
I don’t buy either of these philosophies. I think that there’s a lot of incredible, unique aspects to every stage of life, and if I’m not thankful for my present, I think I’m going to miss it. Every day that I add to my life, things change a little bit, but that’s a good thing. Childhood was not the pinnacle of my life. Neither was college. Both were great, but I firmly believe that bigger and better things are ahead. The amount that I’ve learned about life in only the past year has changed my perspective greatly, and I can’t wait to keep growing and learning.
It’s really easy to rest upon our haunches, thinking that the time for working hard is over. It’s really easy to think that our time of enjoying life is over, descending into cynicism. I don’t like either of those options. Today is a reminder that every day is a gift. I hope to use them well, and I’m certainly going to enjoy them as best as I can.
Forgive me for raising a glass on my own birthday, but I hope that you raise yours with me. Here’s to change, new adventures, hard work, and bigger and better things.