Ever considered what an arbitrary thing a birthday is? Nothing begins at this point. The egg that initiated my body first developed within my mother’s body before she was born. The replication of cells from those lucky two halves started months before my delivery. The atoms that currently make up my body are up to 13.7 billion years old. Conversely, most of my 37.2 trillion cells are replaced within a few days, weeks or years–and they are massively outnumbered by the 100 trillion bacteria cells that make up my gut microbiome.
All told, this body seems to be a temporary gathering. It seems highly unlikely that who I am is this body, or a product of it. So, it is odd to be describing myself in terms of time passing since the start of this body’s apparent independent existence. The “I” I know myself to be has no age. The “I” that celebrated 8,18, and today 48, is the same “I”. The body I experience, may have changed almost totally, but the knowing of it remains unaltered. It turns out my acquisition of skills and knowledge hadn’t changed the essence of me one jot. That essence is untouched.
Birthdays are a reminder of the insecure, finite nature of the body. And of the permanent, reliable true nature of who we are.
Joy doesn’t come from the gifts and the cake. Joy is the essential attribute of the recognition of our Being. Sometimes quiet, other times bubbling over.
Arbitrary or not, I celebrate this random day. And I’m enjoying the birthday wishes as a sign we’re not separate, wherever we are in time and space.