For the most part these “milestone” birthdays are a lot of utter nonsense, and I’m going to tell you why.
Initially the ages that we celebrate have a real cause. The 1st, 13th, 16th, 17th and 18th are all proper milestones because they can be associated with either a particularly impressive feat or some sort of eligibility level. A right being granted to you.
At age 1, you’ve just managed to get through the most fragile year of your life, hooray!
At 13 you're considered to begin properly on the path to adulthood and those around you start to imagine a time when you won’t be a child anymore.
16 is where the path to legal entitlement begins, you’re trusted to leave education, get a job and if you like you can even have a child of your own.
At 18 you’re allowed to buy alcohol, vote in general elections, take on a mortgage.. and..that’s pretty much all I can think of.
Isn’t it weird that at 16 you can CREATE ANOTHER HUMAN BEING but you can’t buy a pint in a pub? Thinking about it at it, 18 should be a day that’s universally mourned because you start having to deal with all sorts of shite once you get past that.
This makes 21 look ridiculous. What is there to celebrate?
You can hire a van I suppose or teach someone else to drive or MAN ALIVE you can go drinking in an All Bar One!
Essentially all that happens at 21 is that you’re three years into your adult life and so you ought to be good at it. You know, over the giddy excitement or responsibility. In other words, no more mistakes will be tolerated and you’re on your own.
If you were on the news at ten for robbing a Post Office Trevor McDonald would describe you as "A 21 year old man" and not "A 21 year old boy". If your accomplice was only 17 he’d get fewer years that you.
This brings me on to the age of 30 and the reason for this post.
I’m approaching 30. In less than six months I will be over 30 and I’m certainly looking forward to the years that follow it - but no more or less than I’m looking forward to the few months that precede it.
30 isn’t an exciting number, it’s shit. Just a three and a zero. It looks like it should be an odd number when it’s even, it’s unattractive.. it’s boring.
Seriously I implore you to celebrate being 16.. but forget about the digits! You won’t be celebrate 32 because it’s “the second time you’ve been 16” will you.
30 is absolutely nothing other than another birthday. I’ll be grateful to complete my thirtieth year but no more than I’ll be grateful if I wake up tomorrow.
Now. I’m not saying you should stop celebrating birthdays. If any occasion means something to you, then throw a party and get all your mates round (and please invite me!).
Have you had a fantastic 19th year? Go wild. Really enjoyed your 52nd? Then finish it off with a bang but lets not get carried away, the digits don’t mean jack.
This got me thinking. What birthday would I be excited about? I went to a 60th birthday party a couple of years ago and it was brilliant, so then I started to worry that I didn’t really believe what I was writing.
Numbers are just something that we’ve cobbled together to make society function. After your 21st birthday your age and the milestones in your life no longer correlate, there’ no way 30 is going to be a year worth celebrating for everyone.
Then it hit me. A GENIUS IDEA something that DID excite me and all I needed to do was a few sums.
On the 18th of October 2013 I will be one billion seconds old. How awesome is that. A fucking BILLION. THAT’S a number I can get excited about.
Forget leap-years or being born on the 29th of February or the fact that years are getting longer - Your billionth birthday happens exactly one billion seconds after you pop out into the world, it’s the same for everyone.
If you would like to be invited to my billionth, the comments are below I’m taking signups early, it’s going to be a biggie!