When I was six, I had a birthday party at Lincoln Heights Pizza Parlor. Four friends and I spent the afternoon whacking moles, earning tickets, spending tokens, eating pizza, and finding diapers in the ball pit.
Documenting the day are several grainy, indoor photos characteristic of the late 80s. My friends and I are smiling and happy in every shot in our striped shirts and shaggy haircuts.
A few years later, I had a surprise 16th birthday, put on by my girlfriend in conjunction with my sisters and youth pastor. Every photo is happy (that is, nobody is crying), but some photos are without smiles as people chat or eat cake.
Yesterday, we celebrated my birthday by carving pumpkins with a few friends. My wife and baby and I hung out with our guests on the couch and we spent a long time discussing the Pacific Northwest. We printed out stencils for our pumpkins and put on some relaxing autumn music and had a great afternoon.
This leads me to my thesis, ready?
If you’re reading this, your best birthdays are behind you.
As you can see, the fun increases as a child, then is inconsistent during teenage years (as is everything) before a brief spike at 21 and a rapid decline until death. Some people get a small jump in fun at 50, unless you have heart problems, in which case it’s about the same.
My birthday was yesterday, and today I had to leave work early because I had a back spasm.
I got a back spasm for my birthday.
Mother Nature gave me the gift of awareness; my vitality is weakening every year, and I’m one year closer to the grave.
Without revealing too much, my birthday ranked less than 30 on the scale above, which is a great score for my age bracket. I had a great day with friends, carved pumpkins, spent time outside, had great food, and then went on a date with my wife. Despite all that, a birthday (for people my age) is just another Sunday between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.
Here’s the difference, though. As an adult, every other day is way more fun.
Students in middle school absolutely hate Mondays. But Saturdays? Oh, man! Saturdays are like a mini-Christmas 36 times a school year.
As an adult, I’m not a huge fan of Mondays, but they’re qualitatively no worse than Thursdays; I still have to go to work. Friday is marginally better, and the weekend is great.
So, kids: you can have your birthdays. We adults quite enjoy our lives for the other 364 days of the year quite a bit as well.
Even though child birthdays clearly are way more fun than adult ones, but adult Mondays are much more fun than child ones.
… actually … hearing it like that …
It’s probably better to be a kid.