We have all gotten them before. The endless “Happy Birthday” timeline messages and all the different ways and variations people have come up with to wish you a happy birthday, messages that fill up your Facebook timeline when your birthday comes around. In the beginning, my guess is that the vast majority of people enjoyed getting these messages and liked them.
But over the years, I am willing to bet that a lot of people have grown weary of them for whatever reason. Whether it’s the repetitive nature of the messages, or that fact of you needing to respond to and thank everybody who wished you a happy birthday, or perhaps even the fact that it adds no real value to you and how you spend your birthday.
I for one, have set my profile to not display my birthday a few years ago and I am glad I did,for in my case the three reasons stated above in the previous paragraph applied to me. No doubt such phenomenon, if I may refer to it as that, is a product of the digital age we live in, where, at the click of a few buttons, you have sent a birthday well-wish to a friend or family. So very convenient isn’t it?
Well, perhaps it is exactly this convenience that has taken away the real value in wishing someone a “real” and “proper” happy birthday? I am willing to bet that the (perhaps) few people who still receive physical birthday cards on their birthdays, still greatly appreciate it. Both the card, the effort made and the money spent.
If my theory about these Facebook “happy birthday” timeline messages are right, and the vast majority of people get no real value from them, and suddenly stopped getting them on their wall, they wouldn’t miss it one bit.
In that case, the question then has to be asked why do people keep sending them? Or why do those who would rather not get them not speak up and ask people not to ‘clutter’ up their timelines? One guess would be because it would perhaps be plain rude to ask people not to write any birthday messages on your wall.
So of course the best way to stop these would be to simply opt to not display your birthday in your profile settings. And if you did that, I can assure you that the vast majority of your Facebook friends will not remember when your birthday comes around.
It is in these instances, when people you don’t expect to remember your birthday, actually remember and send you a message on your wall, or a text message to your phone, or even better, a phone call. These are the actions that most likely have meaning and value to birthday celebrants.
It almost seems like we have lost the true meaning of someone’s birthday, not with the ‘triviality’ that these Facebook birthday wishes have somewhat attached to the event. Just like a child’s birth is almost always celebrated, I think that the tradition of celebrating the anniversary of one’s birth is something that should continue every year for as long as one is alive.
If you ask why. I could ask why not? If Valentine’s day is celebrated every year without fail, by a great many people, as is Mother’s and Father’s day, and all the other celebrated and observed ‘special’ days each and every year. If these are, I argue, why not your birthday, each and every year? Why not, when perhaps one of the greatest and best things in and about life is the birth of a baby. What then would be so wrong in ‘properly’ remembering the anniversary of that day?
Of course “celebration” doesn’t necessarily mean having a loud party or any such. It can be something as simple as spending the day alone in your house, if you must, for whatever reason. But ultimately the celebration aspect of it involves the acknowledgement that you have lived yet another year on earth, and being grateful for it. ‘Celebrating’ the fact that you are still alive when many others are not.
So in that regard, whether you decide to spend the day with family and friends, or alone, and irrespective of whatever things you decide to do on your birthday, the moral of the story remains the same: On your birthday, get away from that computer screen and go enjoy your birthday.