It’s just my birthday.

I wish I could pinpoint the day that my birthday stopped carrying that “birthday feeling.” You know what I mean. There used to be a certain intangible aura that used to follow me from the moment I woke up. A feeling that I didn’t want the day to end. I was filled with the anticipation of a day of good wishes. A day of smiles. I could expect cake, and hugs. Everyone’s good wishes.

I’m not sure when that disappeared.

I mean, I still get the wishes. The news feed on my Facebook page blows up with greetings from both close friends and random followers. But that moment when my eyes open on my birthday – the moment where I spring out of bed excited for “my” day – that disappeared somewhere along the “turning-into-an-adult” line.

Was I 25?



I’m not sure. It isn’t that I dread my birthday like some people do as they age. It’s more like this tacit understanding that it’s just a day. Nothing major. The same as yesterday and the day before. The same as tomorrow. Maybe my license will need to be renewed. That’s about it.

It would be ideal to pinpoint exactly when that change happened. Not so much to find the clear turning point in my life, but to remember that last exciting birthday. I mean, did I take advantage of it? Did I have more fun than the birthday before? It would be really helpful if we had some kind of a warning when we were doing something for the last time.

There is no demarcation for the last time we do things. We certainly chart all the firsts. First tooth. First day of school. First date. Even a graduation, which is technically an ending, is usually couched as a beginning in every valedictory speech and charge to the students.

Come to think about it, only death represents a solid end to something.

Maybe that’s the whole idea. With each ending moment, there is a kind of personal death. A sadness that no one wants to admit to. It could be your kid getting older, your childhood ending, or, in my case, the realization that the world doesn’t revolve around you anymore. That a birthday is just another day on the calendar for the rest of the world.

Sounds disheartening, but I don’t think it’s that mournful. If we spent our lives thinking about all the endings, all the last times, we would be pretty miserable. Instead, they slip away from us, like leaves falling off a tree. One day you look out and the tree is bare and you can’t quite put your finger on when that last leaf fell.

But within that is also rebirth – the tree comes back, after all. That’s the point, I think, of marking these yearly birthdays. As I get older, it is less about a day of parties and cake and more about quiet reflection. Of resolutions and assessments. Of looking at the coming year and deciding where it will lead. Of celebrating myself every day and not just on that one day reserved for me alone.

Not that I would reject the cake and candles. Or the party. But when it’s over, it’s back to work. Back to the daily grind.

I still miss the birthday feeling, but birthdays are much more than a feeling. Love is much deeper than those first infatuations. Life is greater than one day.

Happy birthday to me. It’s a beautiful day.

It will be a beautiful year.

Time to clean up the cake and confetti.

33 thoughts on “29

  1. A very happy birthday, Neal!
    What you say here is true. I have also lost the ‘birthday feeling.’
    And I’m only 20. My friend has been dieting and gymming for the last week because ‘she wants to look good on her birthday.’ When I asked her about the period after that, she just shrugged her shoulders.
    For me however, my birthday is just another day that will come every year…. even after I die!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Happy birthday and thanks for the thoughtful post. I guess reflection is something we should do more often but your birthday is as good a day as any :). Being a good zen student life and death are just part of the same dance, nothing to be frightened of either way.

    Anyway I hope you have fun

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy happy happy Birthday Neal 🎉. 29? Already? So much experiences you must of lived through.

    The best though, is your ability to reflect, ramble/ muse and change?

    Now on this written monologue, when did you become this person who doesn’t have the b’day feelings as adulthood and responsibilities settled into place and such…
    Really? a warning about doing something for the last time sounds entirely depressing. Why should we be warned? Isn’t blissful ignorance better in such cases? So that it doesn’t tarnish the memory of that moment/ experience. I know that our memories fade over time and that we many not fully remember a lot of the things which we should, but that whats make them more precious. Just that one over-hyped, good memory of a happy moment.

    I do have a second comment for the post but I will hold back here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Belated Happy Birthday, Neal, since I noticed yesterday’s date on the post. I hope that was a delicious cake(one of the best part about birthdays.)
    You’re not alone, most people lose the intial charm of birthdays once they start to age, it’s more like a reminder that you’re growing older! But your post made me realise something – the day is indeed more celebratory for others close to a person as a way to thank the Heaven’s for giving that person to us!
    You know what makes them better, gifts!
    I hope you’re getting better. Take care of yourself, Neal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey thanks Vageesha. Cake was good so were the wishes. Little things give me a lot of joy. You have always been supporting and sorry for the delayed reply.


  5. Birthdays seem to have different meanings for different folk. For me, a birthday party type day ended sometime in my childhood. Now other than marking special years like 18, 21,25(insurance goes down) 30(old man by the flower child era standards) 50 – the start of the power years, 65 – retirement starts- yippee! the years just pass uneventfully.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope you had a wonderful Birthday, whether it was cake and confetti, or some time with your thoughts…i wrote about my Birthday as well last month, and I DID realize that it seems different than when I was younger, but fabulous all the same!!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Meri maa… Everyone can read the comments which they get from other people in the comment section. It’s difficult to explain but that’s a flaw I made sure the moderators look upto.. but these idiots didn’t give a damn.


      2. I know that Neal…. And I don’t mind if you’ve read them… I had usually asked you which post…. You don’t have to be defensive… It’s alright…
        Anyways, how’re you doin’?

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Maybe, I am just a 30-year-old kid 🙂 I still get butterflies as my birthday month begins. I start planning little things and literally force people to make it special as always.

    Happy Birthday, Neal. May all your dreams come true sooner than you’d expect

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s