I celebrated my 44th birthday this week on December 12th. Since you’re wondering, yes, I did have a great day off. I was showered love and best wishes from friends, family and coworkers.
It was not filled with cake, drinks or balloons. No party. No presents.
While my day of celebration was atypical and devoid much of the common fanfare, it was filled with one thing:
The Birthday Blur
It feels impossible to slow down time these days. The more I fill up the schedule, the faster I reach sundown. The more commitments I make, the less time I have to live. Once, years ago, when I was sick and unable to sleep more than two hours at a time and pain was the constant, time seemed to plod at a Sisyphusian pace. I wished for time to speed by, even if I didn’t really expect to enjoy my future.
I just needed to get through the pain. Now, it seems like every day is a harried race to the top of the clock.
Punch. Reset. Start over. Everything between eyes open and closed is a busy blur of important stuff to do. For work. For life maintenance. For survival. For socialization.
The boulder barrels down the mountain, beyond the grasp of the damned man.
We control what happens in our lives, but we can’t stop the acceleration and velocity of time. The end comes fast, regardless. I’m trying to make a more conscious effort to be present and productive, use my time lively — including on my own birthday, which was filled with art and warmth, not my typical activities, such as dining out, getting a massage, grabbing a drink with friends or seeing a show of some sort.
This year, I owned my Birthday Blur.
Your Own(ed) Personal Holiday
We each should own our Birthday blur. It is my belief that an individual’s birthday should be the biggest thing we celebrate every year in the United States and around the globe.
Above Easter. Independence Day. Valentine’s Day. President’ s Day. Thanksgiving. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. Christmas.
But as a #humanfirst thinker and secular transhumanism supporter, I tend to put the needs of the individual first. That kind of free thinking and positioning could get me killed in some countries.
But I will not bow. This Humanist believes that we should pay foward through connection, kindness, empathy and recognition as a function of our humanity, not due to duty to an overlord or deity.
A birthday is a personal holiday we all share through human biology. Sure, other creatures are born, but there’s only one species I know that proactively tracks and celebrates their day of origin. Until we have no more birth anniversaries, we are all bound by that bloodline. What happens after our last breath is a debate for our society and culture; what happens before we are dead matters. There is no denying the delicate days we persevere through and deserve a day to be recognized for the heroes were are.
Consider this: what if we all celebrated and acknowledged the days of birth of the people in our orbit with the same fervor we observe Thanksgiving or Christmas? Dare I offer, what if we put our Birthday above every other date we have on the calendar, a holiday for the human hero that lived to see another year?
The Fade Becomes Us
Religion aside, our birth, growth and evolution as human monsters is a miraculous thing. Every year, the beast inside dies a little bit more, our locks streak silver and wither and our days are cut shorter. The weight of life sinks down upon us, counterproductive to momentum of evolution.
To be human is to be broken.
These days, my art feels like shards of a fractured me, shattered and splattered out onto canvas and pixel. If birthdays are the pick axe and our lives are stone, each year is another fracture lost and chipped away off the boulder.
This year, I poured my Birthday time into finishing 11 pieces of art that I had been working on. These eleven pieces should exist long after my talent — and my presence — is gone. Memories of my Birthday will disintegrate in time, but these fractures of me should remain.
Watch this blog and my adjoining social spaces for shots of these pieces!
And Sisyphus grins as the fade