June 07, 2016

Facebook Birthday Wishes

Facebook Birthday Wishes 2016
By John R. Greenwood

They kept coming and coming. Some short, some with added exclamation points, some with nice comments, a few with shots about my advanced age--but they came. I was here to see them, and appreciate them. Facebook helps the Happy Birthday chain letter extend far and wide. At first you don't pay attention because you know your name is popping up like spam from a porn site all across the internet. People you haven't heard from in years show up at the party and wish you a Happy Birthday like you were special or something. At first you treat it matter-of-factly like the Happy Birthdays don't mean anything to you. Then reality sets in. These are people who you embraced as friends somewhere along the last 61 years of your life. You start adding them up like the accountant at the end of "It's a Wonderful Life." Then as you look closer at the list you realize how lucky you are to know the people you do. Whether it's family or friends, they are people who have touched and influenced your life in some fashion. I have been blessed with an abundance of people who, even if we haven't seen each other since high school, I consider a friend. Close friends or old friends, immediate family or distant relative, the experiences and memories remain a part of us. It's not about keeping score. It's about the ride. It's about how we got to this point and who was some cog in that wheel. Whether they contribute to our campaign or whether they're viewing from the curb they're a participant in our album. It doesn't matter to me if you were at my wedding or graduation. I could care less if you were someone I knew for one summer or you're someone I've seen Monday through Friday for the last thirty years, you're important to me and I cherish whatever connection we shared regardless of the footprint. What has been most important to me in this 61 year journey has been the stories of the people I've been blessed to know. The people sending Facebook birthday messages are a cross section of my life. There are many people on that list I have never even had the pleasure of meeting in person yet their well wishes blanket me with calm and comfort. It isn't about what people do for you, it's about what people mean to you. Knowing a friend is struggling with a sick parent or the loss of a pet at the same time as you can ease you through a rough patch. Something as simple as a "Like" on a feel good moment can fluff your pillow and make you sleep a little better at night. Facebook can do a lot of damage if left alone in the wrong hands but it can also shrink our world just enough to see our friends and family a little clearer and closer than we could before its existence. 

To all of you who were kind enough to send me birthday wishes, I thank you for them and I thank you for your friendship regardless of how thick or how thin it is. You make me happy to be in this game. Even if birthday wishes never arrived from you, know that if you're on my list, you are there for a reason. It's because you're someone I met along the way and that means more to me than anything. 

Happy Birthday to me?

You betcha.


  1. Well, hey, Happy Birthday to you, John! Blog pals are pals just the same as Facebook friends, right? I enjoyed this meditation on friendship and its many variations. Thanks for posting thoughts that got me thinking.

  2. Very nice post -- what fine thoughts you expressed -- barbara

  3. Very nice post -- what fine thoughts you expressed -- barbara