I know that most people are really excited about celebrating their birthdays. It feels like a sense of achievement to have lived another year and checked off the milestone from life's checklist. I think that we should be celebrating time in a more meaningful way and not with these arbitrary markers.
Derek Sivers, in his post, titled - “Time is personal. Your year changes when your life changes.” says -
I can understand using moments like midnight and January 1st as coordinators, so cultures and computers can agree on how to reference time. But shouldn’t our personal markers and celebrations happen at personally meaningful times?
I personally find this in line with how I think about time. Calendars and weekdays are for a specific purpose of keeping track of time in a relative sense. These should be treated as such. May 27th isn’t special for me because a Roman Emperor, a Pope and a Unix system, quite admirably I must say, decided the format of date and time.
Derek continues -
Your year really begins when you move to a new home, start school, quit a job, have a big breakup, have a baby, quit a bad habit, start a new project, or whatever else. Those are the real memorable turning points — where one day is very different than the day before. Those are the meaningful markers of time. Those are your real new years.
This absolutely makes sense. The 26th May and 27th May aren’t different for me unless something significant happens on 27th to make it special. Maybe 1st of April might have been significant in that particular year!
If you observe closely, your recollection of distant memory isn’t with respect to the year, but brain pulls the memory out by referring to other events that might have happened in the same year eventually leading to you remember the year.
In my mind, time isn’t split into years and my brain does not think in terms of 2005 or 2017. It recalls those years because they are the year I joined college and the year I started my podcast respectively. Those are the milestones. The years themselves as such aren’t significant.
According to the way time works, our day is supposed to start at 12 am. But how many of us really consider that to be the morning or the start of the day? We start our day when we wake up. That is because waking up is a significant event, not the clock striking midnight.
People decide on resolutions to start on New Year's day, what is stopping you from starting today? Still, we act as if that day is magically going to make a difference and you’d stick to your plans for the new year. We all know what happens as the year rolls in.
That being said, I have nothing against people who love to celebrate their birthdays and chances are, you would get a ’Happy Birthday’ wish from me as well. Derek goes on to explain this -
This isn’t selfish. You know your friends and family well enough to acknowledge these special days for them, too. The day that I most want to celebrate someone’s life has nothing to do with the calendar day that they were born.
I would urge you to try celebrating personally meaningful milestones and not to get stuck on dates on the calendar. When did your year start? January 1, 2020 or are you still waiting for the year to start?