Joining the Invisible Dots

A surprising amount of birthdays happen at this time of year for me. Alongside my own in July, my brother’s, my dad’s and my nephew’s are in June. Add to that my cousin’s in July, and my aunty’s in the same month, and then my sister’s in August, it can become an expensive time of year if present purchases aren’t kept under control. Yesterday was my brother’s birthday, and his rather spoilt demands for tonnes of rather expensive presents were slightly annoying. I’m pretty sure I was never that demanding. I used to remember thinking about birthday presents and being concerned if my requests had gone beyond the £30 mark. Now that would be seen as the starting point.

I don’t want to get dragged into the perpetual debates I have in my mind about whether we really are sinking into a capitalist love-in, with every man for himself, as the generations get progressively more and more used to the delights of the free market… because I find them utterly frustrating and counter-productive. It just seems to be something we are forced to accept now, and that it must be good for us. It is not possible to question this assertion either without being classed as some kind of communist. So much for democracy.

It is amazing how small events like birthdays are actually a small-scale representation of a much wider society. I can’t help but draw parallels like this all over the place, and it makes being me a rather boring individual at times.

Anyway… it seems that another month is about to slip away from us. This is rather alarming given the fact that it is then my birthday on the 9th. This development concerns me for the reason that while I’ve been doing my Youth Reviews, I’ve been considering whether in my earlier childhood I ever dreamed about being a certain age. I know for sure when I was very lickle, I used to think often about being “older”… which back then was classed as being at the end of primary school, aged 11. Then it was dreaming of being a teenager. Then it was extended to being 16, and then 18.

I never at any stage considered that being 21 would be a particularly exciting or worthwhile achievement. And I still don’t. I guess I have reached the point where birthdays become meaningless. And that is definitely a sign that I am not an ankle-biting whippersnapper any more. As a kid, I made the now unfortunate observation that I couldn’t understand why an adult would not want to celebrate their birthday. What strange individuals they must be, I would think, to not want to mark the passing of another year, and receive lots of great presents and well wishes for the successful attainment of another year. Why, as a child, I could not bear to imagine the horrors that would befall me if I ignored one of my Very Important birthdays!

These thoughts are now so alien to me that they are almost from a different person. Perhaps when I’m old, rich, miserable and senile, I won’t recognise my principled yet impractical wish for the radical scaling down of capitalism either.

Look. There I go drawing weird parallels again…