Life Begins at 40, what Ends at 39?
There aren’t many things that can be said to be true of everyone on the planet, but the fact that everyone has a birthday is one of the most convincing.
Apart from Her Majesty, who has two, but she is just the exception that proves the rule. It is celebrated (or mourned, depending on how old you are that year) in many different, extremely diverse ways from country to country and across different cultures: some groups don’t celebrate theirs at all. There’s no way we would; pass up the excuse for presents and a party
Some of our birthdays are a lot more memorable than others, with those ending in a zero feeling particularly relevant (despite the fact that they aren't relevant and only seem so because we have a base ten counting system; and we only have that because we have ten fingers and ten toes). 10 and 20 aren’t particularly memorable but 30 definitely was and.. Well let’s just say that your faithful writer will soon discover personally what ‘the big four-oh’ is like. They say it’s when life begins but i’m more worried with what is ending!
After the mid-life crisis years, your birthday comes back around to being interesting again and (according to a good friend of mine who is 92 years old and still as sharp as a tack) every one is as relevant and important as those when you were a child. Indeed, the passing years become a badge of honour and an inspiring achievement.
So for the first three or four years, you don’t know/care about your birthday. Then they become a long-anticipated yearly event, each marking off one more step until you’re an adult, which is all kids want to be. Then, you get your adulthood and start having to pay the bills, quickly disillusioning your lost childhood self. Dammit
But those are such sweet years and few of us would change anything about them. When you’re a young teen, you’re always careful to make yourself sound as old as possible by including the portion of the year you're currently in (so you might say something like ‘I am thirteen and three-quarters). Nobody ever says ‘I am forty-one and a half’ and our entire adult lives are spent trying to go backwards in age.
The coming-of-age time varies slightly from country to country but is generally around 16 years of age. After waiting so long for that magical 16th birthday, it finally arrives and you realise that you now have to start waiting till you’re 18 before things really start to change. Then, when you’re 18 and you get asked for ID at a pub, you’re extremely proud to be able to show yours and not have to mumble an excuse and try and make up a birthday correctly. For the first few times anyway: then you realise it was actually way more fun when you had to blag your way in. Bah!
21 is another milestone though has literally zero significance; you can’t do anything that you couldn't do when you were 18, all of which you probably did at 16 anyway. The youth of today! Then that’s it for happy milestones until you’re in your 90s: nobody looks forward to their 30th.
The only options in the face of the onslaught of years are to either become your parents or, a much better option, defy fate and celebrate! Party like it’s 1999, or like you’re 99, or like you still eat ice cream 99s or like you can still look cool dancing to ‘99 Red Balloons. Let Funktion events take on the role of party planner and we promise it will be just as good as when your mum planned your party, back in the Land of AGO when ‘musical chairs’ was an acceptable health-and-safety risk, Wagon Wheels were the size of manhole covers and it seemed like years and years between birthdays.
Check out our birthday ideas and look out for another birthday article coming soon where we reveal the oldest, the youngest, the best parties and the truth behind the customs: subscribe to our newsletter for all the updates.