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April 3, 2012

Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday.

When I was small, a birthday was simple. I’d wake up to my parents and younger sister singing “Happy Birthday,” Giving me a funny card, and perhaps some socks or underwear. If I was really lucky, my mom baked a box of cupcakes after I caught the bus and dropped them off to share with my classmates.

Decades later, I still find the ingredients for those early birthdays so appealing. As you grow up the fashionable thing is to make a spectacle of the day, an exception to the rule that is your year, but in this simple form the birthday reminds me of three things:

  • There are people who remember and care for me. While my parents and sister were not standing in my room singing this morning, they all pinged me in some way. My grandma, the techie of the bunch, sent an email with specially colored font. :) And my left hip is thoroughly massaged from all the text messages, Facebook wall posts and Twitter mentions I’ll need to respond to. It’s awesome that people took the time to remember and respond—even if they were helped along by social media.
  • There are things I need to make another year. More than a wild night, for sure. I need focus. I need growth. I still need socks and underwear. Rather than spending my money on a pony or my day in a costume, I prefer to think about the things that make each day of my life great, and being happy with that.
  • There’s nothing better than sharing. Life is something you can easily race through, from birthday to birthday, until it’s done. It’s also something you can give, you can receive, and you can share. The interactions we have and the joy that comes from them can be truly euphoric, and while fanfare may be a bit much, no birthday should be recognized in solitude. Friends, coworkers, even strangers are better than being alone.

Thank you to all of you who make my birthday a day worth living. I wouldn’t have made it this far without you.

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