Firsts and Lasts

When you reach a new age, or you enter a new year, you get obsessed with “firsts” and “lasts”. I find it thoroughly exhausting. Getting enveloped in self-induced special rituals in order to be able to say “this was my first . . . at this time”, and “this was my last . . . at this time.”

I believe it to be unnecessary and tiring, without reason to it, and, ultimately, purposeless. You are still the same person. You are just continuing; it is not as though you are putting on a new suit that eats you up and makes you someone else, nor is it that you are peeling a layer of skin away and finding another human inside.

It may be fine to count all the firsts with babies, because it really is the first time. But with grownups, it’s irrelevant. You’ve done it fifty thousand times before, it’s just a different selected milestone. Every point during the year is New Year’s, because Earth is crossing the same point in its course it did a year ago. And you were in existence before your birthday, because three days before your day of being pushed out of a uterus and that day itself do not differ much in the state of your physical body, except that at one point it becomes a little less directly dependent upon that of the parent.

But humans like ritualizing things. We like to make celebrations, pointless dates, et cetera with time because it gives a change in the monotony of existence. We couldn’t go to work every day, it would be maddening. But it’s not only with time–we like the tallest, the smartest, the heaviest, the lightest, the smallest, the deepest–and not just to appreciate beauty, to statisticize (I made that word up, everything says it doesn’t exist, but it should be a word). It is obsessive. It’s ridiculous, because we don’t need to impose our own irrelevant ideas upon the world around us.

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