Thursday, July 29, 2010

Birthdays: A Self-Centered Ritual of Thanksgiving

In the Yummish tradition there are few strict mandates. However, celebrating the anniversary of one's birth as a holiday is one of those few hard and fast rules.

Many other religions encourage the celebration of birthdays as a way of giving thanks for the gift of life. Other religions discourage the practice, which they see as egocentric. The Yummish feel they both have a point.

At some point in their lives, many people come to question the practice of celebrating and receiving gifts on one's birthday. The practice of lionizing the accident of one's birth can, at times, feel more than a little self indulgent. To be given gifts, especially by ones' parents, as a way of commemorating the day on which you were given the privilege of existence, can, in a way, seem backward, selfish even. There is a level at which that is true, but, as you've no doubt come to expect with The Yummish, we feel there is more to it than that.     

It is fundamentally egocentric to commemorate the anniversary of the day when you, a single person among now 7 billion, were born. It was also, however, the day when your personal Yum, that unique set of tastes, values, and potential that defines you, came into being (and this is important) for the first time. Ever. There never has been and will never be a Yum exactly like yours. Your particular Yum is also an expression of the universal YUM and, as such, has the potential to enrich the Yum of the 7 billion others with whom you will spend your time on this planet.

As for your parents, there is no gadget, no gizmo, no thing – nothing that can fit in a box or be wrapped in even the prettiest paper – that could ever be worth a fraction of the gift they've given you, the gift of pursuing your own path to the YUM. The best way, indeed the only way, to adequately express your gratitude is to make the most of that journey. Develop your Yum. Strive to know the ultimate YUM and to bring Yum to those around you. Make the advent of your birth a date people will want to celebrate, because it marks the day we were all given a little more joy, a little more comfort, a little more happiness. 

You are the gift you give to the world.

So, on the next anniversary of your birthday, take a day to celebrate yourself – your accomplishments, your potential, your extraordinary place in history as a singular expression of the universal YUM. The exact form and content of that celebration is up to you and should cater to your personal Yum. Ice cream, however, is often a good place to start.

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Take a moment to reflect on why others might want to celebrate your birth. Not satisfied with the answer? Correct it before your next birthday, by giving others the daily gift of your Yum.

Back to School

1 comment:

  1. I have claimed the entire month of March to celebrate my birth. I think I'm worth it. :) I'm totally YUM.