So yesterday I turned 31. A case for much joy and celebration (I had a microwave meal for dinner and fell asleep in the afternoon for the second day running whilst watching the closing minutes of that days stage of the Tour de France – damnit) so as you can see, I really lived it up.
Anyway about ten days ago I decided to remove my birthday from Facebook as an experiment. Every year 40-50 people, many of whom who don’t speak to me at any other point in the calendar year, will wish me a happy birthday, prompted by Facebook. So I wondered who would know without that prompt.
Usually I’ll wake up to a few messages but only my mum had posted on my Timeline. This continued throughout the working day although one of my best friends from school had sent me a text along with messages from both my sisters. I thought this would be it but then just after five o’clock I got a happy birthday message from someone whom I solely know via the internet. This means in all likelihood that this fabulous young lady actually had my birthday written down somewhere (bizarrely enough she is one of the handful of people’s whose birthday I actually know off hand. I think she is the only person whose I know who I’ve never met). This followed by another of my best friends from school leaving a message on my Facebook wall meant it started coming up in people’s feeds and they had a prompt and ten or so more happy birthday messages came.
I did this essentially to write a blog post to see how much we all rely on Facebook for something like knowing whose birthday is when. I’m as guilty of it as most. I know most of my school friends birthdays from memory (and the important landline numbers still) but go beyond my school friends then there are very few I know. Facebook has become essential to most people for knowing when there is a birthday.
Also I used to find it strange (still do) that people whom I’ve not conversed with since school will wish me a happy birthday if prompted to by Facebook. I only say happy birthday to those with whom I actually speak with from time to time yet some people feel compelled to say it to everyone if prompted to by Facebook, I’ve got to admit I just don’t get this. I know many of us are Facebook friends with many people we haven’t seen since school but I’ve found many of these people who have wished me happy birthday in the past on Facebook wouldn’t have done so at school when I saw them everyday!
Facebook at times is a bizarre service. I got a couple of messages last night asking if it was my birthday as I had posts on my wall saying happy birthday but Facebook didn’t say it was my birthday and they didn’t know who to believe. That is where we’ve got to boys and girls. I think that says a lot.
So anyway, I’m now 31, things are the same as when I was 30. My sister still thinks I look like a young Novak Djokovic (despite being older than he is) and the only person with whom I spoke face to face yesterday was one of my neighbours to tell her that the paint job on my balcony was fine and she could sign off mine as completed. That sums up my world pretty well. This is the fifth birthday I’ve ‘celebrated’ in this apartment and it is probably the last. Where I’ll resurface next in still very much up in the air but this 32nd year might not be exciting but it might very well be extremely significant in shaping the rest of my life as I look to move from a tenant to an owner. Scary times indeed.
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