I don’t like to celebrate my birthday but a significant force in my life began shining a light upon my history, so it’s difficult to ignore the fact that time has passed.
I divided my life along the year 2003, the year of my high school graduation. It shouldn’t be a surprise but details of my life are much more defined in the post-high school era.
Some of it could be attributed to the rise of the Internet and cheaper technology enabling us all to instantly mark a place in time. The ability to quickly and effortlessly post remark or take photo allows us all to create personal logs of our lives like never before.
Then there’s the fact that I’m no longer living assignment to assignment, exam to exam or summer to summer like I did in school — It’s no longer a blur of school. Now that I have more free time, I’ve chosen other milestones to mark the passage of time.
I started to use the release of my favorite shows and products as reference points on the calendar year. It’s always a pleasant and exciting feeling knowing it’s time for another season of House of Cards, Game of Thrones or a new iPhone.
I’ve always found it less joyous to mark my birthdays. There were celebrations held in my honor but I never made a big deal about it and quickly forgot about lunches and dinners that surrounded that day.
I want to remember my life by happier or age agnostic milestones. I’m happier not knowing what I did on my 18th or 25th birthdays. I’m pleased to know that I don’t have a single drunken New Year’s Eve party for which to anchor my 20’s with. Nothing is more deflating than realizing that I no longer do the things I used to do or spend time with the people I used to know because of changing circumstances.
I don’t tie yearly releases with the progress of time. It’s like the inverse of moving from assignment to assignment but replaced with something fun or interesting. While recalling high school is an exercise in awkward unpleasantness, recalling the last seven years tied to all the entertaining shows, movies and games that I experienced fills me with happy nostalgia.
Some will describe it as living in denial and they’re right. But I am content with living from pleasant moment to pleasant moment and not face mortality; I’m happy living in this Matrix of mine.
Whenever I enter anniversary threads, I always see people dread the fact that they were in a different place in life at the time and they now “feel old”. I never have that reaction. I never reflect on where I was. I immediately gravitate to my thoughts and experiences with that particular item.
I used to tell people that I didn’t fear growing old and that anniversary threads didn’t have a negative impact on me. I guess the truth of the matter is that I learned to separate time and what I enjoy in life.
But every once in awhile, something or someone reminds me that I’m getting older. Even then there’s a bit of denial. I’m not turning 25 tomorrow but I feel like I am. They say “you’re only as old as you feel” but perhaps they should also say “you’re only as old as how you perceive time”.
Happy Birthday me.