THE BLOG

Birthdays: A Time to Reflect

09/03/2015 16:32 GMT | Updated 09/05/2015 10:59 BST

It all starts with birth.

We enter the world with an opportunity to fulfil our individual mission in the time we are granted. The day we are born is the day we become our very own person - no longer just a watermelon in our mother's belly. 

Every year, on the anniversary of our existence, we stop and honour this day in a celebratory manner. Our family and friends usually go to significant lengths to make us feel loved and cared for. It's the one time a year when the world revolves around us.

As time goes by, birthdays seem to creep up rather quickly and before we know it we're a year older and hopefully wiser.

When it's all over and the next day arrives, things tend to go back to normal. We eventually become accustomed to the fact that our 'number' has changed as we return to our daily routines. 

So what's it all about?

There is an interesting shift in balance as we age. From birth till the late twenties, our bodies continue to grow stronger and become more agile. As each year passes we can generally run faster, and increase our flexibility. This trend continues up until our early thirties, when the physical decline slowly begins.  

Getting older can present us with a number of challenges, but aging comes with rewards too. Unlike the body, the mind (while it's still sound) is capable of taking on more from age thirty and beyond. In fact, its depth increases as we continue to feed it and experience more from life.

The adult brain seems to be capable of rewiring itself well into middle age, incorporating decades of different encounters. Research suggests that an older mind is calmer, less neurotic and better able to sort through social situations. Some middle-agers even have improved cognitive abilities.

While memorisation and perceptual speed will eventually decline with time - verbal abilities, spatial awareness, simple arithmetic and abstract reasoning skills tend to improve from our third decade and beyond.

I write this post after just experiencing a birthday in my thirties.

As I look in the mirror, and notice I have a little less hair, weaker eyesight and a body that doesn't burn fat as quickly as it used to - one could forgive me for not being thrilled about getting older.

Yet I'm comforted by feeling like my mind is stronger than it's ever been. My thirst for information is as high as I can remember - I continuously crave knowledge.

Ten years ago I had a lot more tolerance for a 'dumbed down' world. This is certainly not the case anymore. I currently find myself drawn to books, movies and television shows that make me think, rather than spending time on fluff that numbs my mind.

Depth in human beings has always been attractive to me, but never more so than now.

As I grow a year older, I sit and ponder: What have I accomplished by being here? Has the world changed because I left that womb? If not, how can I leave some positive footprints on this planet in my remaining days?

Confronting thoughts no doubt, but I'd rather think about them than just go through the motions.

Perhaps C.S Lewis put it best when he said:

"You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream."

Those are certainly words to live by.

Happy Birthday all you March babies.