It only takes three consonants and one punctuation mark to wish someone a happy birthday. And in a time when folks prefer short emoticons to sentences to communicate, it’s not surprising that our facebook walls are filled with these sorts of greetings on the day of our birth.
It’s commonplace for people to hate on facebook. (Yet, while the haters hate, they are simultaneously updating their statuses. “Facebook is the worst.” 240 Likes.) And most people roll their eyes when they talk about the wall of posts on one’s birthday. Nobody wants to admit that it’s actually fun to be the “person of the day,” just like we once were in elementary school.
However, I’m not a hater. I love a facebook birthday. This year, my birthday was on election day when folks were taking to social media with passionate political monologues and gruff gubernatorial grunts. My birthday was just a pebble on the political highway of facebook activism. And yet, my wall was still decorated with three word well wishes from folks who took four seconds to post.
And seeing each small boxed face next to a greeting reminded me of past lives and loves. This year, an old ski teammate called me by a nickname I hadn’t hear in years. When I read his post, I could hear his distinctive voice say “Becksterer” even though I hadn’t heard that sound since high school. (Hi, Craig!) It was a fond reminder of my old days of high school ski racing.
Other voices echoed just as loudly. A facebook birthday wall is that it is a reminder of the assortment of friends I’ve collected over the years. It’s a living cookie tin of life. I have posts from friends I’ve known since kindergarten. (Hi, Camille!) I have posts from friends with whom I’ve shared tiny apartments. (Hi, Andreana!) I have posts from boys whom I secretly crushed on in college. (Nope, you’re not finding out that one!)
And when other people have birthdays, I love posting on their walls. It takes a measly couple of seconds to remember someone for what they meant/mean to you. It’s a quick reminder of a particular person who imprinted on your life in some way.
Today, November 15, marks the birthdays of two facebook friends. One, I met during a work trip to Japan where we navigated the busy Tokyo metro with other colleagues. The other, I met in a shared cab to a karaoke bar during a rockin’ Miami Beach bachelorette party. I haven’t seen either person since those memorable days, but I posted well wishes on their walls this morning nonetheless. And as I typed, I reminisced about those trips, when life was a little more carefree, exotic, and exhausting. Yep, my friends’ birthdays reminded me of so much more than just their persons. Their birthdays reminded me of me.
So, if it’s your birthday, I’ll write on your wall and you will be celebrated. Then, like everyone else, I’ll get right back to online shopping 🙂