Do you want people to wish you a Happy Birthday (when they know it’s your birthday)?
I do. Is that childish? Unreasonable? Silly?
My left brain, logical, rational mind says, “Of course it is. Grow up!” But then, my emotional half of the brain says, “No! I mean, what the heck, we go nuts — crazy, out of control, over the top — on kids’ birthday parties and we don’t even wish each other good wishes on the anniversaries of our births? What’s that about?!”
There’s a real imbalance there. I mean I’ve been known to throw my share of fun parties for kids. So, I’m not knocking the parties. I’m just saying that I think parents could help each other out a little bit if they would just show some thoughtfulness and kindness toward each other, even when (or maybe especially when) they know that the person to whom they’re extending the greeting is over 30. Maybe we make those middle ages feel older by letting go of the joy and celebration that surround the birthday parties of childhood.
Here’s what started this little train of thought.
In past years, with more than a handful of people, I’ve experienced something like this:
I send an email telling someone that I can’t meet to discuss some volunteering obligation (for the kids) because it’s my birthday. In response, I get nothin’.
No, “Well, I hope you have a good day.”
No, “Happy birthday, girlfriend!”
No, “Oh, no problem, I wouldn’t want to meet that day, either.”
Not even those two little words, Happy Birthday.
Sure, I’ve sometimes been told that I have too much of a Pollyanna attitude toward life, (what some consider to be an annoyingly positive, silly and cheerful disposition). But I don’t think wishing people who are over 30 or 40 a Happy Birthday is immature or offensive.
Hmmm. On second thought…
Maybe that’s not it at all…
Is it that some people don’t want to even think about their birthday when they’re over 40? So they don’t want to touch the topic at all? Are they afraid of somebody grumbling back at them? What? Enlighten me, please. Gosh, if that’s the case, then…well…I feel sad for them. Who says we have to stop enjoying life at a certain age? Why? Where’s the logic in that? That can’t be healthy. Who knows where that might lead…
Grumpy Old Men (1993)
Notice that I’m not saying anything at all about materialistic goods. I’m not saying that I want my friends and family to purchase the latest must-have handbag or some blingy piece of jewelry. That’s not at all what I’m talking about. It’s about kindness and consideration. Thoughtfulness and sincerity that’s simple and instinctive.
For example, when I went into a store (on my birthday) with my son to select little trinkets to include in his favor bags for his birthday party, he saw something that he thought I would like for my birthday, so he said, “Mom, you should get that…for your birthday. C’mon, it’s your birthday!” A very nice woman overheard him and turned to me and said, “It’s your birthday? Well, Happy Birthday! Yes, you should get that for yourself!” My son and I both smiled and thanked her and as we walked away, he said, “Wow. That was so nice!”
Two simple words.
What a difference. Physically, I felt lighter and stood taller. My thoughts turned to more positive, happy places. I felt grateful for that stranger’s kindness and those two words.
Now I make a point of keeping track of people’s birthdays and wishing them well on their day (unless, of course, they make it clear that they’d rather not be reminded). To each his own. Right?
Well, whenever it’s your birthday, this one’s for you: