Happy birthday to everyone

To break my streak of apocalyptic posts (don’t worry, there will be more), here’s something happier.

The last few birthdays of mine, I’ve been blown away by how many “happy birthday’s” I’ve received on Facebook from people I know from all the different phases of my life. It’s surprisingly touching, for a gesture that takes very little effort. And as someone who kind of rejects the idea that any day should arbitrarily be more important than the one before or after, I was particularly surprised by how much joy I felt seeing a little message from various people I’m in various degrees contact with. For that one day, those distinctions are flattened.

Last year, it made me reflect upon why I would only sporadically check the day’s birthdays and send out my own birthday wishes back into my social network. After all, on most days I check Facebook at least once. Apathy was the only answer I could come up with.

So, I decided I would become a habitual birthday wisher. I’m not on Facebook every single day, but if I do log on, I try to make sure to wish most of the people on my list a happy birthday. At first, I started off with people I felt like I still had an ongoing connection with, since so many relationships lapse. But increasingly, I began to override that voice of “would it be weird for so-and-so to hear from me after all these years?” and I started to send wishes to everyone on the list. Sometimes, if I’ve been off the ‘Book for a few days, I navigate to find birthdays I missed and send out some “happy belated”s.

If you’re reading this, I hope this behind-the-scenes look doesn’t cheapen any happy birthday’s you’ve received from me. And if you didn’t get one, I’ll try to be more thorough next year. I also hope my happy birthdays have brought others a little slice of the joy I feel on my own birthday. Especially in this time of fierce division and apocalyptic uncertainty.

(Come on, you knew it was coming back around to that!)

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