The enigma of birthdays

By Herman M. Lagon

AH, BIRTHDAYS! A time when many are showered with love, attention, and, if we are lucky, a slice of our favorite chocolate cake or a thick ampao. But beneath the confetti and the party hats, does this yearly celebration hold more profound meaning, or are we simply riding a wave of convention?

With each passing year, as the candles on our cake multiply, the fervor of our early birthday years seems to take a backseat. The excitement of childhood seems a distant memory when faced with the realities of turning 30, 40, or 50. Rather than milestones, these numbers sometimes seem like weights, pulling us deeper into introspection about our place in the vast expanse of time.

Moreover, the repetitive nature of these celebrations can often edge toward the mundane. The cake, the singing, the flowers, the presents, the greetings, the surprises can sometimes feel like we are repeatedly reliving the same day. Moreover, while some strive to reinvent this special day each year, the task often feels Herculean, fraught with the pressure of outdoing previous celebrations.

Then, there is the financial angle. In an inflation-ridden era where everyone is trying to one-up their birthday festivities, expenses can skyrocket. From lavish dinners to extravagant parties, birthdays can sometimes burn a hole in our pockets faster than we can sing the birthday song.

However, amid these ponderings lies an essential question: Why let an arbitrary number define our worth or how we feel? In the grand scheme of life, age is but a number, and more than the years we have lived, the memories we have crafted truly matter.

The cosmic dance of our planet does not pause for our birthdays. The Earth continues its orbit, indifferent to our age. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, this arbitrary day holds power over our emotions, sometimes leaving us elated, other times contemplative.

And while society might pressure us to host parties or celebrate in a particular way, the choice is uniquely ours at the end of the day. It is a personal festival, and how, or even if, we choose to mark it is entirely up to us.

Still, no matter the skepticism, birthdays hold a certain magic. They give us a moment to hit the pause button on time’s nonstop race, relish the bonds we have made, and excitedly peek into the treasure trove of future possibilities.

And so, while birthdays’ significance can be debated, one truth remains constant: they are a personal journey. Whether we greet them with open arms or a resigned sigh, they serve as poignant reminders of the intricate tapestry of experiences, relationships, and moments that define our existence. Whether you choose to celebrate or not, each day presents a chance to create lasting memories, hold dear those you love, appreciate the blessings you have been given, and work towards a future that shines even brighter and feels more rewarding.


Doc H fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice and the pursuit of happiness. His views herewith do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions he is employed or connected with.