You find yourself amused by the fact that people, including yourself, celebrate birthday. Think of people who were born on 29th Feb. They technically have fewer birthdays, but you suspect they would choose some other days to celebrate to make up for that. If “a year” is such an arbitrary concept then why on earth must you celebrate it once “a year”?
You try to trivialize your own birthday for yourself by saying: “I shall have fun everyday, not just today”. Yet, you have to admit that it’s a powerful reminder for your mind, which will unavoidably be fluctuating to the ups and downs throughout the year, to be grateful that you’ve survived for that long, and more importantly that you were born to be a human. After all, out of the tiniest chance of all these atoms and quarks combine in a particular way, you came to life. You even have a name: they don’t just call you “a human” but “Khuyen”. Don’t you realize the preciousness of what your granddad gave you beside parts of his genes? Naming, just like time, is a human invention to make this wondrously complex world a bit more comprehensible to our mind. You have already inherited that invention from your predecessors. You already owed the world something.
Birthdays invariably remind you of death. That’s a good thing, for it trains your mind in time of peace so that you would face adversity with more preparation. What if you would die at 12:00 tonight, and no the world isn’t going to end with you? Would you not panic at its inevitability? I hope and trust that you would face it with acceptance and gratitude. Maybe a bit of unfairness too: why is it your death but the world’s loss? It has to add in something good to the world! Remember telling people around your deathbed so. They must be better off.
Now try to think in their shoes. Let’s be more concrete by imagining the most morbid situation: your beloved mother just passed away. If tear feels natural, cry; if it doesn’t then don’t. You may experience what they call “sorrow” or you may not. I know you can easily cry in front of the livings but never at the dead, and I want to assure you that’s perfectly fine. Your loved ones don’t want you to mourn for them.
Do people only think of themselves when they are dying like their accomplishments and regrets? You hope you won’t, because that will just make the matter worse. There will be a tendency for people to focus on the one who’s leaving because he’s different and deserves special attention, but you should try to resist that. Your last moment should be a casual conversation with your loved ones and then oops.
Enough of grave talk. Let me tell you about what I know better than you: your past. You have been brought up believing that you are very lucky and sheltered kid. Indeed you are, way more than many others. But you still see people, especially those close to you, suffering sometimes. That really sucks. Worse yet, you are, once in a while, the reason. All these should have convinced you that you are inextricably tied to others and so here my birthday wish: May you always bring joy to others and thus find your own happiness 🙂
p/s: Okay birthday is supposed to be more fun. Oh please stop asking what does “fun” mean in this world or how you can recreate the “birthday mood” in every other day… I allow you to procrastinate thinking about that for today.
Just too lazy to read your whole article, but for the death, I think there may be a quote that suits: “If I must die, I will encounter darkness as a bride, and hug it in mine arms.” It’s from a Taurus like you, and he was famous enough, of course 🙂
Anyway, have a nice birthday 🙂 I always wish people strength to follow what they believe in 😀
Hehe thanks for your wish and quote! Can’t believe that I’ve turned 20!
I’ve been listening to a philosophy course on Death in my free time (oyc.yale.edu/philosophy/phil-176 it’s awesome) and that may explain the seeming gravity of this post.
Great blog you have herre