We all have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. On the one hand, we feel the need to keep in touch with one another and on the other, we want our privacy. Most of my 'friends' are so different from me, that if we were forced to hang out with each other in real life, the chances of us finding anything in common to talk about would be in the fractions of a percentile. If you have 'made' friends with enough people on Facebook, eventually you will find that your feed has a birthday reminder popping up just about every day of the year. It is pretty easy to skim past it and not acknowledge the person who is celebrating because maybe in a strange way, it feels too personal to wish someone a happy birthday....especially a person who may be a long lost acquaintance and nothing more...especially if it is a 'friend' who is a lurker; someone who logs in on the FB but never comments, never posts and never interacts....Ever.
But today, I learned my lesson the hard way.
I don't throw parties. I never throw parties. I hate throwing parties. For the most part I am a social introvert. People scare me. Even my friends scare me. But this year, I decided to go out on a limb and invite my friends and 'friends' on a camping trip out to the desert. March is a shitty month for having a birthday. It ranks up there with November as The Worst Month on Record for having any type of outdoor party....and our house is too small for much of an indoor event. So, I decide that to celebrate, I am going to have a camp out at the only place I know of where the weather is mostly reliable this time of the year. Its a place out in the Washington desert that I have been visiting for a long time and a place where I feel pretty comfortable. And it is beautiful. And there is climbing and hiking and bird watching and a bunch of other stuff that a person can do if they decide to make the short drive. It seemed like the best bet I could think of for an 'easy sell' to even my most reluctant friends.
Except that, even though we have been making the day trip out to this climbing area since January (because it is sunny and warm and dry), on this particular weekend (which also happens to be my birthday), the weather has turned to shit and the forecast calls for wind, rain and less than ideal temps. So, this person (me) who never throws a party and decides to throw a party, has to cancel said party. This person (again, me) cannot convince even her best of friends that it could possibly be a good idea to make this trip happen. The one notable exception to this being her steadfast husband who smartly decides to remain neutral in this situation.
Canceling your own birthday party feels shitty....like 'cry in the shower all morning and try and pull yourself together' sort of shitty. It shouldn't be a big deal. I keep telling myself this. "Whatever, the weather is bad...it will be better some other time". But I know myself, and the likelihood of me having enough courage to actually ask people to do something for me on my behalf again in the near future is slim to diminishing. It isn't gonna happen.
And then I turn on Facebook. And for some stupid, crazy reason, it makes me feel better to see all of the birthday wishes pouring in on my page. It's kind of lame, I know. And at the same time, it isn't lame at all. It is like opening little packages of happiness. And suddenly, I don't feel so bad about having to cancel my own party because none of these people would have been able to come anyway and they are still taking the time to tell me that they love me. And that is a pretty special thing.
So from now on, I am going to return the favor. Even if it is a person that I may never see again in my entire life, I am going to take 30 seconds out of my day to wish them a Happy Birthday. Maybe if they are having a sucky day, it will help them to have a better one....even if it is for a minute. Because everyone deserves a little love on the day they were born....everyone.