How Do You Celebrate A Birthday On Facebook?

Joshua Wilner

What do you look like the day after?

5 Songs

  • Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door– Bob Dylan
  • Forever Young– Bob Dylan
  • Pink Houses– John Mellencamp
  • Visions Of Paradise– Mick Jagger
  • Ghost Riders In The Sky– Johnny Cash

I can assure you that twenty years ago the morning after my birthday I looked a bit more raggedy than the guy in the picture above. Truth is I don’t remember exactly what I did the night of my 25th birthday but it was a Monday so I know I worked that day.

And I can tell you I am glad Facebook didn’t exist when I was younger and had more questionable judgement about what sorts of pictures to post on Facebook because it is likely there was some drinking involved that evening.

The young buck from my past wouldn’t have written and rewritten two paragraphs seven times because he lived by himself and didn’t have dogs or children wreaking havoc in the house.

There wouldn’t have been any barking or kids insisting that dad is nicer to their sibling nor would he have reviewed a mental checklist of things that had to get done because when you have no other responsibilities there is always endless amounts of time or so it feels.

This much I know from my time in Texas. When you live far away from family and you can’t go to soccer games, school events and family activities your approach to your days changes.

How Do You Celebrate A Birthday On Facebook?

Technically I didn’t celebrate my birthday on Facebook but since I received a ton of birthday greetings there it played a role in my day. Truth is I was surprised by how much fun it was to hear from so many different people.

The cynical side of me says it is silly to be pleased by Facebook birthday greetings because people don’t put much thought into them. They see the notification, point, click and type a message and go about their day without any thought for whether you care or not.

That is the part of me that rolls his eyes at the people who wander through stores so engrossed in their electronic bubbles they have no idea they bumped into you with a car or almost ran over your daughter. It is the guy who looks around at restaurants to see how many tables have conversations going and how many are occupied by heads bent over phones.

There is professional and personal curiosity in it. I have to stay up on social media. I have a remote office so WiFi, smartphones, laptops and all that goes into mobility is of great importance to me.

But I am a father too and I think about how to make sure my children can get along in the world. I hear stories about younger people who are telephone phobic, who prefer to text than talk and I wonder about the face-to-face communication.

Are the stories true? Is there a real problem or is there a generational conflict?

Good Friends, Colleagues and Acquaintances

Some people grow up in families where they celebrate with cards. They send out birthday cards, holiday greetings and what have you. That wasn’t us.

We were usually the family that used extra wrapping paper to wish someone a happy birthday and our name so they would know who it was from.

That has stuck with me. I am usually good about remembering birthdays but don’t expect me to get a card because it rarely occurs to me. I just don’t think about it.

One of the things I like about Facebook is that it has helped fix that problem for me. That birthday reminder is helpful and when I see it I usually make a point to do something about right then and there.

I usually figure that it works that way for other people too.

That is tied into why I appreciate the greetings from so many of my friends and family. People lead busy lives and it is easy to get caught up in our own worlds and not connect with people we might really want to speak with.

It surprised me how much I appreciated those greetings. A bunch came rolling in today and those made me smile too.

5 More Songs

  • Brothers In Arms- Dire Straits
  • If You Could Read My Mind- Gordon Lightfoot
  • Tougher Then The Rest- Bruce Springsteen
  • All I Ask Of You- Phantom Of The Opera
  • Can’t Find My Way Home- Blind Faith

Every now and then I stumble across blogs that are composed of photos that people take of themselves or their families. They do it every year on a birthday or some holiday. I always think it might be kind of fun to do it but for one reason or another I never do.

So just for kicks I am throwing in a photo that was taken shortly before my birthday last year so for all you scorekeepers I am a hair short of 44 below and 45 in the shot above.

See you on the other side.

Joshua Wilner

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