What is our fascination with birthdays? There are many of us who go out of our way to wish a happy one to our friends and family, and even some strangers. there are quite a few that see it as another day, marked on some calender somewhere. It is a momentous day for our young, as we share with them a growing experience that marks their forward progress into this life. It is a celebration of our life's accomplishments as we age.
To me, it is remarkable. Many things and many remarks coincide with this day, my birthday. I have somehow survived another year on this planet plagued with war, famine, disease, gangs, poverty, and the millions of other things, people and places that can kill. I have traversed the cycle round the Sun once again. I have see seasons change, births and deaths, and Earth changing events. I ponder these things today, and am thankful for being able to experience them.
The odds of living to my age in this country aren't all that thought about, for we think we have the best medicines, doctors, and knowledge not to mention all the gadgets that we have today that make our life easier and 'better'. But the odds are 42% against us, here in America. In Africa, making it to the early 40's is a lot harder, about 26% chance for men, and around a 30% for women. On most days anyway. England's middle age is closer to 60% for, and Spain, well they have it around 78%. Kinda makes ya think. What happened in America? Why lower odds? Look at our real life style here, high stress jobs, inflation rates 12-20% higher than pay rates, more entertainment with less exercise, our American Fast Food diet. All reduce our lives a lot and we seem to be okay with that.
We became a nation of voluntary slaves. Our jobs dictate our lives, our manufacturing and agricultural industries drive our diets. We follow whatever trends set by media, and enjoy leisure that doesn't involve too much physical work, as we spend most or too much of that at work. And we demand more for less? We all stress over laws, taxes, jobs, children, cars, traffic, inflation, fast food lines, and how crowded is Starbuck's?
Our vacations are not a right or guaranteed as had been so many years ago, but are regulated and controlled by our bosses and gas prices, and half of the time we rush out to 'enjoy' our vacation and instead have a stressful week or two away from the job that stresses us out to begin with. With our 24 hour days, 7 day a week jobs and demands, what would happen if everyone decides to head out to the beach for a week, at the same time? Economic study s show that the business you left would suffer, the beaches would be over crowded, hotels would fare well though, for a week, after that, the housekeeping staff, who has been on overdrive for their part time minimum wage, would start to fail in their quality of service. Restaurants would fall short of supplies, and traffic and public services would be maxed out. So much for that idea.
So, I made it another year. With any luck, and the grace of gods and friends, I'll make it another year as well...