What is a birthday? I know that they have become something very different than say when I turned 10 years of old. I loved birthdays at that time in my life, because if I am honest, it was all about me! Even though birthdays have become something different to me at 22, I suppose that the essence of a birthday can be seen as a measurement of sorts. It is a numerical measurement that reveals how much life one has lived. This number can tell us a lot about a person–it gives us a vague picture as to the type of experiences that person may have had, the number of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months they have known, and perhaps what they might have accomplished by that time in their life. Today, I have lived 8,030 days and my experiences have been many for what seems like such a short time. By saying that I am now 22, most people will have an idea in their mind (a preconceived idea) as to what I should be doing with my life, who I should be dating, how much money I should be making, and finally what my ten year plan should be. I highly doubt that I would meet the requirements of those presuppositions that many might expect of me, but I know that at the end of the day, that is ok.
At every major transition in my life, whether it be a birthday, graduation, or a new job, I am always tempted to measure myself to the strictest of requirements and expectations. I am tempted to measure myself and ask questions like, “What have I accomplished” or simply “What have I done with my life?”. These are burdening questions for someone like me to ask myself. I have far to high of standards for myself and for others and those standards are often bred and nurtured by a cultural understanding of humanity. These questions have the potential to crush a spirit. As I see myself posing these questions upon myself, I realize that those questions are another manifestation of my attempt to justify my existence and to further my self-absorbtion. If I were not focused on myself so much, then I would hardly think to ask those questions. It is in these moments that I remember that Jesus cares cares far more about who I am becoming than what I am doing, accomplishing, attaining, or conquering. I am reminded of Mary and Martha, and the need to sit and take in all that Jesus wants to teach me. I suppose that this 22nd birthday is a simple reminder that my life is not about me.