Each time Facebook notifies me of a friend’s birthday, I have to refrain from posting, “Happy New Year!” on their wall. Oh, I have risked it a few times, though not quite certain the recipient appreciated the concept.

My calendar references January 1st as New Year’s Day. Folks set aside one particular day to celebrate the coming year–those potentialities which will eventually be regarded as historical…in another 364 days. Which is fine. If you are tied to events. Or don’t like parties much.

Events are markers. They give association to a season, resulting in a certain order to our lives. Not a thing wrong with that. But without people, there are no events, no celebrations; no joyous occasions.

The celebration of New Year’s Day is the collective convergence of a nation, hoping for the commencement of good things to come in the calendar year. The hopes and resolutions are simultaneously impersonal and individual. For a day. Which leaves 364 days uncelebrated.

It seems to me, the perfect time to “have a Happy New Year” is on the date of a person’s birth. My new year begins on July 29.

Since people are the fabric of special events, and each person brings something unique to our world, it stands to reason we should take time to contemplate our own exclusive “new year”.

People “happen” in their hearts and minds long before community happens. Long before a nation is characterized.

A celebration on the date of a person’s birth is certainly more personal than the nation’s birthing of a new year. Most people understand what it means to honor a loved one–to cherish their existence; to set aside a sacred time of remembrance, ascribing high value to that person’s life. Happy “Birth” Day!

Today is my birthday. Friends and family have remembered me and made me feel special. They have done a good job of reminding me of their love and care. This gives me a sense of worth; encouragement that my little life matters in the big, wide world.

The question is:

Have I taken time to honor my life, my own existence, on my birthday?

Today was the first of my fifty-two birthdays that I have felt compelled to locate my birth certificate and take a closer look:

This document is testimony that I came into the world. I have to think there is a reason it was me, emerging on this particular day, in this particular way, to fulfill a particular purpose. This birth certificate speaks. It is telling me that I matter.

If I matter in the universe, then I should be paying very close attention to what I should be doing in it. What will I change in this “new year” to further fulfill the role especially reserved for me?

On this day, I honored my birth by thinking it. I had to think about the beginning in order to comprehend what the “now” should be. This little slip of paper is potent.

My choices; the deliberate acts in a small moment, added to the many other moments of many other people, will ultimately create an event. A personal history. A national history. A world history.

Birthdays are the perfect time to celebrate and contemplate the new year. Even better than New Year’s Day.

It works.

Perpetual celebrations…

365 days a year.