On the Subject of Birthdays

I have often in my past chosen my birthday as a point of reflecting back upon the year I have lead. A time to re-evaluate my choices, both old and new, and to make a laundry list of things to apply for the future. This has proven fruitful at the moment of writing it, but upon revisiting it the following year, it has most often been a bit of a letdown, seeing what I haven’t done.

I’ve been told recently that birthdays are like altars, “not only markers of age, but progress”. I have always subscribed to the underlying meaning in this, but have never really thought of them in this way. When I think of an altar, I think of sacrifice, and immediately upon applying it to my year in review, I wonder: what did I sacrifice?

Did I sacrifice my youth alone? Did I sacrifice relationships to benefit others? Did I sacrifice my feelings too often? Did I regress at all?

And then I realize that regression is inevitable. People who look back often may be more self-aware, but perhaps more prone to reverting back to how they were in the past.

“Birthdays are altars of stones we pile up in time. We cannot go back. We cannot change the altars we’ve laid. They stand permanent in memory as reminders that we had been there, and we have since forged ahead.”

I have made mistakes. I have made glorious strides. Just the other day, I was privy to hearing exactly how I have improved over the years, in the form of hearing something I wrote over 5 years ago read aloud. I have improved immensely in my writing, and my self-expression.

I suppose it is time to truly learn to reflect on who I have been. And who I plan to be from now on.

The best me I can be.

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