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I am older and wiser

My birthday is on May 29th, which means that every so many years my special day overlaps with Memorial Day. This year was one of those years, so I was able to drag my birthDAY celebration out into a three-day birthWEEKEND. I chose to drag it out not so much because of my uncontrollable urge to celebrate turning 33, but more because it was a perfect and unarguable excuse for me to be completely lazy. I didn’t have to change a diaper or wash a dish. We did what I wanted when I wanted for 72 hours straight. And, really, the only downside was that it made Tuesday morning, and my return to my real life, a total bitch.
The theme for my birthday weekend was lazy, lazy and more lazy. I completely retreated; I disengaged; I went off the grid. It was great. When I resurfaced Tuesday morning, I found birthday well wishes in all forms awaiting me. Below, I will categorize and rate these greetings.
1. Birthday Cards
Sending cards falls under super thoughtful on my birthday greeting rating scale. To send a card you have to remember a person’s birthday is coming far enough ahead of time that you go to a store, buy a card, write in it, and then mail it. Few people send cards anymore, which is kind of a bummer, because I love getting them. There is something so nice about seeing a bright pink, hand written envelope mixed in with the gas bill and the Penny Saver. I proudly displayed my birthday cards on my entryway table even though they kept getting knocked over by lunchboxes and other pieces of mail. Cards do make me feel a little badly though because even though I love them, I am almost never organized enough to send them – even if I buy them, I drop the ball and don’t follow through with the writing and/or the sending. Nonetheless, I am always happy to receive a card.
2. Birthday E-mails
Birthday e-mails earn a thoughtful mark because they aren’t quite as thoughtful as a card since they don’t require the same kind of forethought, but they are still quite nice to receive. Also, unlike cards,they make it simple to thank the sender since it only requires hitting the “reply” button. Plus, birthday e-mails don’t cause as much guilt for me since I occasionally remember to send them myself.
3. Birthday Phone Calls
Speaking of guilt, birthday phone calls are massive guilt inducers for me. They are super duper thoughtful, but tend to make me feel like a horrible person since I almost never remember to place them. They require the sender to know the exact date of the person’s birth (unlike cards which really only need a general ballpark and any inaccuracy can be blamed on the USPS), and require the caller to commit to giving up an undefined amount of their time depending if the birthday person answers the phone and if he or she is feeling chatty. Birthday phone calls really high-light for me what a shitty person I am and how I really don’t deserve the wonderful friends that I have. For example, my friend Devin left me a birthday message, but I really have no idea what she said because the whole message I was thinking Shit! Devin’s birthday was two weeks ago!! I suck!!!

4. Birthday Facebook Messages
On the opposite end of the spectrum from birthday phone calls are birthday Facebook messages. For birthday Facebook messages, I’m going to have to make a division and assign two different ratings.
a) Birthday Facebook Messages from people who use Facebook like they used to use e-mail
These messages, from good friends with some sort of personal note attached, are thoughtful.
b) Birthday Facebook Messages from people who send birthday messages to every single person on their friend list.
These are the birthday wishes that actually get on my nerves. I am going to rate them as huh? These are the messages from people who only know that it’s your birthday because Facebook told them. These ones really stump me. We both know the sender doesn’t care it’s my birthday. Why did they send the message? I even got one with my name misspelled. Not to be ungrateful, but I’d rather not get a birthday message than to get one with my name spelled the wrong way. That being said though, it did make me feel a tad special to have my the message bell on my phone dinging away like a Vegas slot machine.

I know I am sounding ungrateful, and perhaps at 33 I am already beginning to sound like a crotchety old woman. I assure you, I am neither. I enjoyed every birthday message in every form, and I truly appreciated them all (sans the misspelled name). At 33, I feel like I am getting closer to getting my shit together, I might be a little older, but I feel a little wiser as well. Perhaps this will even be the year that I finally reciprocate to all the good friends that I have, starting with Devin. Happy Belated Birthday to you, Dev, and I’m sorry that I suck.

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