Why Be Merry? (The Christmas Newsletter)
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The Circular Birthday Evolution
Season’s Greetings Listers!
And Happy Holidays. Unless of course, you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet? Or if you are in any way related to Britney Spears? Did you hear her 16-year-old little sister is pregnant now? And her mom’s “parenting” book has been delayed indefinitely. Maybe now grandma will have time to add a new chapter on teen pregnancy and their bald, party-animal aunts? Then again, maybe you have another reason to not be merry? Or maybe you’re just one of those real-life Scrooges? Well don’t be a Grinch! So you don’t like the mall’s hour-long checkout lines. And your rear-wheel-drive, two-door car sucks on the unsalted, unplowed roads. And maybe your honey-do list gets a little longer this time of year. Whatever your reason to be bah-humbugger, there are plenty of reasons to be a
Cindy Lou Who instead; besides the usual family, friends and health. Hate the commercialized Christmas? Make it a religious holiday. Remember that December 25th is supposed to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Hate the holy, spiritual side? Celebrate the social side. The holidays are a time of gathering. Besides seeing old friends and long-lost family members, it’s a chance to meet new people. Come out of your shell and shake hands with strangers at your office party, or look for some cutie standing alone under the mistletoe at the bar. Hate the social obligations? Curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and cup of eggnog next to a crackling fire and sparkling Christmas tree. Or go play fetch with your dog in the snow. Or take a stroll through the local holiday decorations. ‘Tis the season! Or just get out of town you Grinch. If you just don’t want to celebrate Christmas, take the expected time off of work or school to go on a vacation. In any case, if you’re a holiday Scrooge today, try and remember how special it was as a child. And if you’re childhood holiday memoirs were glum, you can always make new memories Mañana.
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So today is my birthday. I’m 24. Do I feel any older? You know what, I actually do! Twenty-four years of celebration, 24 years of experience and immaturity, 24 years of wisdom and stupidity. Anyway, it got me thinking about the circular evolution of the birthday. You parents will often say, your birthday was the happiest day of their lives. Throughout your childhood, birthdays were the biggest celebrations possible, with clowns and cake and confetti. Back then, your age was always the first thing on your mind and the first question you were asked. Remember when your age directly correlated to how “big” you were? As you get older, some other factors unfortunately begin to determine how “big” you are - but that’s a whole other issue - back to the birthday timeline. The teenage birthdays become less a celebration of you, and more a celebration of milestones and newfound freedoms. At 13 you’re officially a teen, 16 can drive, 18 an adult, and at 21 drink. After that, the celebrations become a little less exciting and come around a little more quickly every year (I’d like to tell you they don’t really come faster, but according to some mathematical law of fractional differences, they actually do). By then, the clowns and confetti are gone, and your cake isn’t big enough to hold all your candles. Have you ever forgotten how old you are? Its crazy to think you used to be able to show those tall people how old you were with the fingers on your hand. But just because you can’t count how old you are on your fingers and toes anymore, doesn’t mean it’s not exciting. Sure, no one will be screaming on your 25th like they did at the bar at midnight of your 21st (because they probably won’t be as drunk), but all those birthdays coming up that end in zeros are celebrations of different milestones in your life. And think, at the big 5-0, you will only be halfway through your entire life. Half way! Imagine all the things you did in the last half of your life? Seems like a lot, huh? There will be more career accomplishments, new relationships, and every day excitements. Heck, the Yankees might even win another pennant in your lifetime. And you always have the Denny’s senior citizen discount to look forward to. There is always more. And if and when you have a child of your own, the evolution will start all over again with their birthday, the happiest day of your life.
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