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KICKIN’ IT WITH KENDALL GAYLE: Why do we celebrate birthdays?


By Kendall Gayle Washington

After recently celebrating my birthday, I have come to question the idea of birthday celebrations. Normally, I’ll admit, I’m very extra about my birthday. It has to be the best of the best. I do not have parties each year due to self-obsession, but it’s the one time where my life-long friends come together.

I asked my mom, “Why does my birthday feel like another day?”

She responded, “That’s what happens when you get older.”

Before I turned 17, each year I was excited for what my mom had planned for my birthday. When I turned 12, my mom told me I couldn’t have a sleepover; however, she ended up surprising me with one at the Hilton Anatole.


My friends and I swam all night and filled up on cookie cake. Looking back, I will say it was one of the best days ever, and I am grateful for my mom’s kind heart.

Yet, the question in my head is why do we celebrate birthdays?

I thought maybe the purpose of birthdays is not celebrating the day you were born, but a celebration of your life, and I can live with that. Each and every day of my life has been a blessing, and I get to be surrounded by people I love.

I love celebrating others when it’s their birthday, and when I attend their celebrations, I am not thinking so much about their age, but about how much I love them.

Gift giving, along with receiving, is my love language. I am always excited to prepare a gift for my friends, no matter the occasion. When my friends ask me what I want, I say “something that reminds them of me.”


Now that I am getting older, I am going to remind myself that my birthday is a celebration of my life.

For everyone struggling with the concept of your birthday being egocentric, stop.

A birthday is a day for people who love you to come out and celebrate you.

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