I come from a family where birthdays are nice but they aren’t the absolute biggest deal in the world. A meaningful birthday would be receiving some nice handmade birthday cards, perhaps a nice sweet treat, and most importantly, secretly telling the family chef what we’d like for our “special Shabbat dinner” on the upcoming Friday. In contrast, there are people and families where each and every birthday is HUGE! Everyone for miles knows about it, brings gifts, calls and emails, decorates doors or even puts up lawn signs.
Some people also enjoy people acknowledging their birthdays on Facebook. For years, I smiled happily when people wished Happy Birthday on Facebook. I was happy when I got over 100 birthday wishes on an average year. But I didn’t personally write back to each person, and I didn’t check daily to see who was celebrating a birthday that day.
This year, I vowed to do better. Every day for the past three months—since my last birthday—I have made my first appointment “FB Bdays.” As soon as I turn on my computer early each morning, I go to Facebook, check birthdays, and wish each friend a happy birthday.
I assume it makes them happy. I have found it a wonderful way to check in with each and every Facebook friend throughout the year—1 or 2 or 6 at a time—nearly every day of the year. It is heartwarming to connect with very old friends, and sometimes just a drop embarrassing when we can’t exactly remember who a certain person is. While making it through an entire year of wishing friends Happy Birthday may not be as big of an accomplishment as making it through the entire Talmud in 7 years, it sure is a good feeling.
So friends, if I haven’t wished you happy birthday yet, chances are I will—in the next 9 months.