Thursday, September 10, 2015

Birthday Well-Wishes

Reposted from Facebook:

I want to thank everyone who shared birthday well-wishes with me.

I tend to feel really weird about birthdays because they occupy a strange nebulous space in my understanding of social norms. For instance, if I'm seeing someone in person at their birthday party it makes perfect sense to wish them a happy birthday, but if it's a casual acquaintance or old friend I've grown apart from over time, wishing them a happy birthday from afar feels disingenuous somehow.

"Hey, Happy I-have-a-pressing-excuse-to-acknowledge-your-existence-without-acknowledging-that-we-aren't-really-on-regular-speaking-terms-but-I-must-be-compelled-to-wish-you-well-regardless-because-I-don't-want-to-violate-the-social-custom Day!"

At the same time, I just feel weird about the whole "this is my day, get me gifts and cards" thing. Figuring out what to get other people can be kind of a chore, and I don't want to put others in that position either. Exchanging cards is just weird in general unless we're personalizing them in some way, which I try to make a point of doing whenever I have time.

"Hey, here are some words somebody else said that express how I feel." I'm a writer, I'm not sure that excuse should fly with my cards. It's like if you're an artist and you get people cards with pictures of cute animals and flowers that somebody else drew. How are we meant to react to receiving that beyond, "Yup, you sure picked out a card with a picture on it we both like. Pretty sure you could've just sketched something on a piece of card stock in ten minutes, it would have meant a lot more to me and saved you money in the process, but this is cool too."

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, other than to point out this occasion is one of a million things that make me awkward. But thank you all for your kind wishes and thoughts. And for those of you who didn't mark the occasion, as I probably didn't on your own birthday, believe it or not you're in my thoughts more often than you might think.

And thank you spell-check for reminding me I don't know how many S's are in the word occasion. That's really all I wanted this year.

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