I did it.
I kept my birthday a secret.
A secret to Facebook, that is.
I took inspiration from my lovely friend Sarah, a.k.a. I Speak Canadian. She wrote an Opinionehted.com post about birthdays and the muddled mess of inauthentic wishes one receives on the good ol’ Facebook.
When I read her post in the spring, I thought ‘hmmmm … let’s just take the old birthday date off the wall and see what happens.’
Very little happened.
And it was lovely.
My 41st belly button day, as Sarah calls it, went unnoticed, unacknowledged and unposted by many. The first recognition came as a bit of a surprise. An old friend from my four-year stop in Gander, Newfoundland, posted in the morning:
Happy Birthday to you!!! Today is your Birthday??
A handful of messages straggled in, mostly from people who did know when my birthday was. My cousin for whom I was often mistaken as a child (and vice versa), my brothers, former teammates (and forever friends) at Shaw, some childhood friends.
And then I went about my day. I was in the States with My American. We spent the afternoon on a drive through the country, heading to the Ice Age landmark at Dry Falls, WA.
That means my phone was off. No roaming charges for this old broad and, thus, no network access.
We got home, made dinner and spent the rest of the day relaxing in front of the TV. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect birthday.
I posted a Facebook status:
I woke up next to my beloved and then we made breakfast, went to visit an Ice Age landmark, came home and had cold beer, made dinner and spent the rest of the night watching Chopped and Sweet Genius. That’s a perfect birthday.
Posts started coming in then. I ‘liked’ each one as a ‘thank you’ for their good wishes. Many commented on my status that they didn’t know it was my birthday.
And that’s OK.
What was I trying to achieve? In the beginning, I wanted to see how many people remembered my day without a prompt from the behemoth that is Facebook.
In truth, I’m guilty of it myself. I remember the birthdays of my mom, my brothers, my boyfriend and my dog.
We don’t need to remember special occasions or phone numbers or the little details of life any more. We have Facebook or calendars on our smartphones to remind us.
And ultimately, it reminded me of a valuable lesson.
That life is better served living. Instead of letting Facebook remind everyone when my birthday is and spending the day ‘liking’ or commenting on post after post after post, I was out doing stuff.
Not paying attention to Facebook and the notifications bar on my phone.
But paying attention to me. And my boyfriend.