Wednesday, May 1, 2013

(Birthday) Love in the Time of Facebook

Yesterday was my birthday.  I'm not sure how I got to be 42, but so far, it's looking pretty good!

I had a wonderful day.  One of Star's babysitters arrived at 7:30am to finish getting Star ready for school and to take her there.  Scott and I escaped and went out to breakfast (which we almost never do), went hiking in Marin, went to some used clothing stores, I got a pedicure, Scott and I hung out together in the house, and then I went to dinner with a group of girlfriends.  When I got home, Star was still awake, so I snuggled with her and we talked about our days. 

Running parallel to my actual birthday, was how my birthday was celebrated in my virtual life.

Facebook was the most active of my online identities.  Here's a breakdown of who I heard from through Facebook.
  • Actual friends.  These are people who are likely to show up in my facebook stream often and I choose to have an in person relationship with them.
  • Family members.  By choice or not, these are people that I'm related to and their birthday greetings are wonderful. 
  • People I knew in High School, College, or Law School. Oh, it's so awkward.  Many of these people know such an outdated version of me.  They knew me when I chose to be called "Jenny."  They remember me when I was a French Horn playing band geek.  Some of them knew me when I was an out of place Californian living in Oregon.  There are definitely people from my past who have transitioned to "current" friends, but for the most part, these are a group of people that I don't have an actual real-time relationship with.  It's sweet that they mention my birthday on facebook, because facebook tells them it's my birthday, but it feels so inauthentic.  Also, it puts my head in a weird place on my birthday.  While having a nice day off from work doing what I wanted to do, I was continuously thrown into the past thinking about these people.  What do they think about me?  Should I be embarrassed about something that I did in front of them in my past?  Should I try to forge a real relationship with some of these people?  Or, should I un-friend them and have less head clutter in my life? 
The people who texted me birthday greetings are all in the category of actual best friends and family.

One friend sent me a message through Words With Friends which was unique and cute.

And, I got only one card through the mail.  It was from my in-laws and felt quaint in the best possible way. 

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