… a perspective
Today many people judge “their” level of happiness, their worth, their value, as to how many people remembered their birthday. Why is that?
My family moved into a small town where there were only about 30 kids per each grade level. The school housed K- 12. Since I was the outsider I was bullied. So, I speak to this issue as having lived through being alone and wondering where I fit in. I questioned if anyone even saw me other than for an object to poke fun at.
A TRUE STORY:
In second grade I was invited to a birthday party for a girl in my class. Wow, me invited! I excitedly walked to the birthday girls house with present in hand. Shortly after I got there and placed my present on the pile of gifts. The other attendees gathered round start chiding me and told me I was not wanted and that I was to go home. They kicked me out! It was obvious this was planned. Even the birthday girls mother standing in the background aware of what was transpiring just starred off into the distance and did not say a word. I Left embarrassed, and almost in shock how could they do that! It left me with a bad taste for birthday celebrations. I walked the streets solemnly with damp eyes and did not return home till the party ended. I did not want to explain to my mom what had happened. I made a decision right then and there that others would never see how things like that hurt me. It was one of the best decisions in my life! As they saw nothing could hurt me their insults and bullying faded out. I became stronger. I walked away from many so called friends and moved on to become the type of friend I wanted to have.
The people I decided to befriend were often in the same boat I was in. They too were rejected for some reason – not smart enough, not clean enough, and often form a penniless family. My new “friends” became a blessing. I got more than I gave.
In elementary school I was a testimony to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote “The only way to have a friend is to be one!’
Somewhere along the line, the insight below was shared with me and made me change the way I thought, about birthdays in particular, and I want to share it with you. I hope that is will give you a different mindset about birthdays.
Let us go back a generation….
Years ago, usually the woman of the house kept the little black book with the Christmas card list and everyone’s birthday, anniversary, and the like by month. It was her responsibility; it was one of her many jobs to be sure to send greeting to everyone on her lists. Originally, she was expected to write letters (a lost art) but with commercialization letters became cards. But as you know card and letter writing is disappearing. There are only a few in my generation that continue the tradition. (Where we used to receive upwards of 300 Christmas cards this past year, I got 4.) Just a thought if you are one of those that keeps up with the lists in the little black book, just remember you may be the only one in your circle of friends and acquaintances that does. So even if you may call or text someone on their birthday that does not put you on their nonexistent list to call you back.
Today in general people are too busy to think much outside themselves so dates that do not affect them fall by the wayside.
Thank you, cards, are also, something that most people no longer send or receive. It had been mandatory as a child that I send a thank you to anyone that gave me any kind of gift. Not anymore. So, we continue the gift giving traditions without a thank you. It is a good place for offense to creep in. And in my post Is your anxiety fueled by offense? We learn that offense can can bring on anxiety and waves of negative emotions.
You see more woman must work outside the home and as we wear many hats we tend to dwell on self-survival and our needs not those of others.
But I want to get to my real point! Ask yourself: How many of your “friends” were present when you were born? Let’s take it one step further, how many of them were present at the conception party?
Those are the people that I would expect to remember… unless they are dealing with issues and are self-centered or anger and distrust are present. Things like that is on them not me!
In Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls did not invite the whole town to her birthday? No back then people were isolated and maybe the family had a cake and you may have gotten one present. It was not until birthdays like everything else became commercialized with much more than just a handwritten note but cards and party favors and decorations. Birthdays were MADE into events.
Check out this link: a birthday party – Little House on the Prairie Compare how Nellie Olsen celebrated her birthday in comparison to Mary and Laura Ingalls. Take away – “but the party is actually quite sour because Nellie and Willie are so spoiled” lots of gifts and hard feelings.
Today social media has stepped on the band wagon trying to remind you whose birthday it is. If it were not for their reminder how many of them would you remember? Me… nothing but those of my kids and parents. Hate to say I even have to think hard not to miss my sibling’s birthday. But my forgetting a date is on me not on them. And if you are like me, I may see a birthday notice on FB but I wonder why should I say something to an acquaintance if I struggle with remembering those closest to me. I am so often in a hurry to read a post about something that affects me, and my family. I forget about the birthday notification.
And frankly there is no one I know where I attended their birth or conception!
Now consider this! You graduate from High school there are many people present. When is the last time you got a card a call or a text saying congratulations today is the day you graduated? I never have, and these people were actually present at that momentous event.
The day of your birth did make an impact on your immediate family, not a group of people many of whom you only met in the last several years. In fact, I can even forget my own birthday but that happens when you get older. Even the card writing woman of the last generation were spurred on to keep up with the Joneses as to who had the most complete lists who send out the most Christmas cards and do not think for a second that the card companies did not have a hand in this. I do not need to compare myself with others.
With the boom in electronics and social media we have fallen prey to that which was once a conscious decision. We have become an entitled society relying on electronics and social media to alert and keep us in line. And without the internal mindset of importance, a simple date of your birth is likely to just slip away.
When you start to put these things in perspective, the lack of birthday wishes somehow loses some of its impact. It certainly changed the way I thought.
I much rather desire people to know me for what good I have done, know me for my cheerful attitude, know how I have overcome the odds and that gives them hope. I do not mean they have to remember one great thing I did to help another in need, but I must continue giving living in selfishness and consideration of others.
Today busyness channels people into the necessity of thinking about themselves more than others. You even see mothers’ texting wildly with a crying child tugging on their leg. You see a table full of people all on their phone instead of communicating with each other. One big thing noticed is that we are unguarded when we text or even on the phone you can say something, and the other person cannot see your face and often takes what you say from their perspective not yours. Many people will take offense and anger disillusionment etc. take place. The communication of yesterday has been turned upside down.
Another example of how inward people have turned is something everyone has experienced. People just walk across roads and parking lots without even looking! They must feel entitled or something. I always take a moment to acknowledge the driver who stops for me. Do you?
So, what if it is your birthday. It is just a date on the calendar the actual event was amazing for your parents not your friends that you have gathered since. I would rather have one good friend than lots of acquaintances… (I do not need a whole list of FB friends most of whom I will never see again.) You need to create good times with your friend or friends not on just a specific date.
Times where they experience what you long for.
On your birthday do not judge your happiness on who and how many actually remember what to them is just a date on the calendar, instead reflect on the positive aspects of your life and how you can improve. How many people in the last year have gained a little bit of hope, and joy from knowing you?
Just something to think about and place things in perspective.