Contemporary Retirement Alane Cunningham – Have you had your birthday yet this year?
Its possible, because someone turns 60 years old every seven seconds and seniors, 85 years old and better, are among the fastest growing age group within the senior population. I have not yet reached that milestone, but two of my friends turned 60 this year and how they celebrated got me thinking about birthdays.
Many cultures have different traditions marking birthdays of special significance. The Jewish Religion has a bar mitzvah when a boy turns 13 and a bats mitzvah when a girl turns 12. In India, on the twelfth or thirteenth birthday they have what is called a thread ceremony where a child takes a blessed thread and wears it. Latin American cultures celebrate Quinceanera, while in the United States it is Sweet Sixteen. In the Phillipines girls’ 18th and guys 21st birthday are called the debut birthday. A person’s “grand” or “lucky” birthday is said to occur when they reach the age of the day they were born, e.g. a person born on the 29th of the month turns 29.
It is not known when birthdays were first celebrated. Some believe it was in Pagan times that people believed they were vulnerable to evil spirits on their birthday. So they had friends and family close by to ward off attacks. And so, that is perhaps, why it is a good idea to have loved ones near on this day.
And that is how my friends decided to celebrate their significant birthdays, with friends and family. One friend said she was going to embrace getting older. Her husband threw a big party at a restaurant and people came from all over the country to honor her special day. The other friend didn’t exactly embrace the event, but did get together with a small group to mark this special day, enjoying his favorite pastimes, playing golf and having a nice dinner.
No matter how you feel about birthdays, if you are near retirement, or have reached that special time, you know that every day is to be cherished and enjoyed. But maybe there is a piece of cake to be had on one of those special days, that makes it even better.