Today is my birthday (for the record, I like vanilla cupcakes). Call me selfish, but I’ve always thought of my birthday as my very own special day. The one day out of the year where I make the all the decisions, do whatever I want, and no one bothers me. It’s a day all about me.
Alas, we’ve entered the digital age, where it seems everyone wants to co-op my birthday for their own profit. Starting weeks ago, the emails began rolling in. May 4th is coming up (like I’d ever forget – cake and gifts – it’s a big deal to me). We’ve noticed you have bought books by this author before and thought you’d like to know she has a new book coming out on your birthday! Or, Happy Birthday! Purchase a flight before the end of the month and we’ll give you bonus miles as our gift to you. Or, this year, for your birthday, change your Facebook status to ask your friends to donate to your cause.
Um, no. It’s not “Stop skinning baby seals for their coats day” (though I will say right now that this is a disgusting practice that needs to end, and it is one of my Facebook causes). It’s MY BIRTHDAY!
This practice of trying to glom on to my celebration, using stored data from past purchases and near and dear causes to get money from me, my friends and my family is intrusive, and, yes, I’ll say it, a bit tacky. If I’m interested in your cause or what you’re trying to sell, I’ll probably be more interested on some other day, at some other time, when I’m not so inwardly focused. Try selling to me then. For today, let me celebrate in peace.
It’s my birthday. No big deal in the grand scheme of things but, as Pink Floyd once wrote, ‘Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.’ Maudlin to be sure, but since we’re all mortal, it’s tough not to reflect on what’s been accomplished and what’s still to be done.
In that spirit, I’ve given some thought to what I’m most proud of and what I’d like to do between now and the inevitable appearance of the Grim Reaper. Here goes: