What’s there in a number? Numbers are just numbers, indicating a count or a calculation. Then what’s so special about them? In my opinion there is something special in every number.
Earlier this year my younger daughter turned one and her first birthday celebration was a grand and gleeful occasion for our family as well as family like friends because the very recent born had become slightly older. From a tiny infant she was soon to graduate to a playful toddler and so the milestone was a moment worth celebrating and cherishing forever.
Then last month my first born celebrated her much awaited thirteenth birth anniversary which ushered in her terrifying teenage. Both the day and the milestone were extremely important and excitement filled and were given an extra special treatment because a new phase began for her as well as for us that day. In her words, “I can now officially call myself a teenager.” In my words, “Our tough years have officially begun now.”
My household is neither an exception nor is too oversold to the concept of celebrating numbers. World-over a lot of importance is given to the age milestones. People go extra miles to mark the first year, thirteenth, sixteenth, eighteenth year and then thirtieth, fortieth, fiftieth year anniversaries in some remarkable ways. Birth anniversaries were always significant but these days certain years enjoy an extravaganza of celebrations.
Why? Because they mark the major transitions in the long journey of our life. We humans have the capacity to grow and develop during the entire lengthy duration of our lifetime. In the first two decades we grow physically, learn mental and cognitive abilities, learn simple things like walking, running, speaking languages, writing, painting, dancing and anything that we find interesting. We learn to make friends, interact with people, lead teams and groups, win competitions and a lot of other life skills. With every year that we grow older we become better than the previous year in many ways.
When the physical growth stops, our emotional, mental, professional and spiritual growth takes precedence. The third and fourth decades of human life mark our lifetime’s most important passage and progress. People find their vocations, meet their partners, become parents and build homes and careers in these productive years of life. Every day of every year in this stage is a new challenge and overcoming these challenges and growing as worthy individuals is definitely worth celebrating every year.
Personally I feel that that is the reason we celebrate our birthdays. To celebrate becoming older, wiser, smarter and better than the previous years. I have a habit of reflecting on my past year on the eve of my anniversary every year and I always find myself recalling all the mistakes made during the year, listing the lessons learned in the process and promising to myself that the errors will not be repeated. I try to start the new year as a new and better person. And with this practice, I have seen myself letting go of many bad habits, poor choices, wrong relationships, toxic thoughts and naive behaviors. I believe in starting afresh and every year I start from the scratch leaving behind the worst and carrying along only the best.
Your birth anniversary seems like the perfect day to take a note of your life and plan newer ways to live it well.
To some practical people, celebrating days and especially some special numbers seems like an unnecessary and exaggerated endeavor but to the emotional thinkers like myself these numbers are symbolic. Symbols of growth, change and evolution.
Life needs to be celebrated every day but then the business and busyness of life do not allow us to sit back and enjoy our daily triumphs and growth. So the anniversary of your life’s beginning every year is a good day to recall the highs and lows, victories and lessons and rejoice the fact that we are very much alive and advancing in life.
And on some special milestones we should take a little longer to take stock of the entire phase that’s gone past and if the list of conquests is long and grand so should be its celebration.
Turning forty is a such special milestone as it marks the completion of four long and very eventful decades of living life on this earth. The decades of childhood, adolescence and young adulthood are well spent and in the process rewards of unique experiences and wisdom are gained.
In my viewpoint, the milestone of fortieth anniversary celebrates a transition from a life of pure worldly pursuits and passions, chasing personal and professional goals to another era that can be best lived discovering life’s bigger purposes and one’s spiritual significance. Forty is important as a person is neither too young and naive nor old and dispirited. Forty is important because you have gained a strong footing by now and can make bigger and more significant leaps beyond this point. Forty is very important because there is still a lot of life in us and we also have better means and ways to live that life.
I am both ecstatic and thoughtful today as I have touched this significant milestone myself on this day. I have attached a lot of significance to this day, more than all other days before today because I can foresee a different life beyond this point. I am believer of symbolism as attaching value to symbols always makes following those values easier. Prior to today I had been thinking of making some amendments to my living like being more mindful, living a more active life, giving up some unhealthy habits but haven’t been too strict in following through. “I will stop this when I turn 40,” has been my frequently used statement. So I am glad the time has come and knowing myself I know that now I will imbibe the better habits more readily.
Since many years I have been also wishing to become a minimalist. So starting today I am adopting the minimalistic way of life which means from now onwards less is more.
From today I am also going to prioritize working on my passions over all my other daily activities. I have vowed to spend at least two hours everyday on my writing work. It’s time that my long cherished dream of writing books sees the light of day. Thanks to the hard work done in the last two decades life is quite comfortable now and I want to take advantage of the time and resources to chase my writing dreams. In any case I do not wish to be chasing only business numbers for my whole life. With God’s grace a balance between work and writing is doable and I won’t miss the opportunity now because my forties have to be different from my thirties.
Change is important and these milestones are meant to usher in the transformations. If we go on living the same life how we will ever achieve the different values we believe in. The milestones can be interpreted as the signals that guide us towards new and more meaningful ways of life. Those who are always striving for self improvement need mere excuses to implement change and upgrade their selves. And those who think what’s there in a number remain the same stuck up with their cynicism. Their age is definitely just a number and not an alarm clock that is waking them up to a new dawn. To them their anniversaries are not the happiest occasions because what’s there to be happy in getting old. They get older not wiser. The believers of the magical numbers grow wiser and take pride in their aging.
I am so grateful to God for my transformation from a non believer to a believer. I have spent the entire last decade under His kindness and wish to continue enjoying His benevolence. At forty, I wish to remain grateful and become more graceful in living my simple yet more significant life.
Papa’s little girl turned forty today and she knows that Papa has been looking out for her and so she chooses to be only and only happy on her birthday today and on every other day.
Happy 40th to me and all my age mates!!!