Saturday, November 17, 2018


Getting old has never been what I've dreaded about the coming of my birthday. It's always been the "how will I be greeted?" part. And since I usually try to go on leave from work on my birthday and I don't live with my family anymore, this mostly happens via social media. Several years ago, when Facebook still allowed it, I would change my birthday on my profile to something months away from my actual birthday. This way, when it comes, my connections won't be notified about it. And because I don't allow posting on my wall, people who truly know when my birthday is would message me privately instead.

I firmly believe that how we behave on social media should make sense if that were to be how we behaved in real life. A birthday greeting through private message makes sense, because that's just between the greeter and you. It's more genuine and sincere. A birthday greeting on your Facebook timeline, on the other hand? That, to me, is the equivalent of shouting "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" at you while you're in a crowded room. People who don't even know it's your birthday would then greet you too (the equivalent of commenting on Facebook) and those who probably couldn't care less would smile and applaud (liking or reacting) just so they don't seem unsympathetic. Is there anything wrong with greeting someone on their Facebook timeline? Not really. Maybe it's just not for an introvert like me. Or I just feel like it's too impersonal, like it's only being done to show off that they remembered my birthday. And maybe there's also the thought that, is that it, a few taps on your phone is all I'm gonna get from you on my birthday?

I'm not really a materialistic person when it comes to receiving gifts, for my birthday or otherwise. In fact, I'd rather not receive a gift at all than receive a poorly conceived or improperly given one. I believe in the old adage "It's the thought that counts," and I think part of that should be knowing the recipient well enough to be sure they'll appreciate the gift. I always give a lot of thought to the presents I give people, even the way I give it to them. So when a good friend sent me a large cake at work two years ago (I wasn't able to go on leave then), I actually got mad. Because she and I worked in the same place, she could have just given it to me after work. Or she could have had it delivered to my apartment. I didn't want people to know it was my birthdayshe knew thisbecause I didn't want any obligatory greetings from people. If I'm important enough for you to know my birthday, you'll greet me on my special day without needing Facebook or someone else's greeting me first to remind you. I felt like, man, by putting me under all that stress of having to hide the cake from everyone especially during the time I had to go home, this friend who sent me this cake didn't know me well enough at all.

Maybe I've matured a lot more since that cake incident, because in hindsight I admit it was a little bit neurotic of me how I reacted. Or it could be that my friends and colleagues know me better now. I received five birthday cakes this year, which was the most number of cakes I've ever gotten in celebration of my being born, and I actually appreciated all of them, including how they were given to me (it helped a bit that I knew what was coming for two of those cakessorry, guys, haha). Anyway, thanks to everyone who made my birthday memorable in a positive way this year and here's to more birthdays celebrated with friends, family and loved ones in the future!

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