A birthday is the most exciting day of the year in the life of a Facebook user. Grade school classmates, co-workers, high school friends, random people I’ve only interacted with once (or twice), my mom’s friends, college acquaintances , and a few cousins will fill my email inbox with notifications from Facebook. I will feel appreciated and loved by the people saying “Happy Birthday, Ali!” and “Miss Webster, have a great bday.” My bestest of friends (and potential stalkers) will wish me a happy birthday on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, via text message, email and possibly create a YouTube video in my honor…
In middle school, I shyly arrived to school with my birthday treat. In high school, I was sometimes disappointed by my classmate’s ability to remember the important day. In college, I was surrounded by a lecture hall full of students and a professor who did not even know my name (much less the date of my birth). In my professional life, I’ve vowed not to work on my birthday. Even though I’m not sitting in a social setting, Facebook makes it impossible to feel lonely or depressed on your birthday. There are people next door and across town and around the world that can instantly connect with you. Beyond Facebook, technology enables you to respond to twenty or two hundred and twenty birthday messages in the form of writing, video, pictures, etc. on multiple platforms (WUPHF, anyone?).
An unlimited text plan, my proximity to great friends and a loving family, and my puppy have helped me avoid (or just delay?) the angst of a quarter-life-crisis. I’ve never visualized myself at this age, I only received this predication from fortune teller in a circus tent: “Ali Webster, when you are twenty-five, you will independently own a house and a car and spend a disgusting amount of money on dog treats, toys and doggie daycare. You will go to Pick N’ Save for double coupon day, have a knack for reviving houseplants and light scented candles for house guests. Although your responsibilities suggest a certain maturity level, your behavior dictates otherwise. You will still take naps on a regular basis, miss your big brothers, cry when your nephew bosses you around and have PBJ’s and juice boxes for lunch at your desk.”
At the time, I insisted that my traits never aligned with the Pisces sign. I explained that I thought I was an Aquarius and begged her to alter the prediction. As it turns out, I am a Pisces and astrology can be embarrassingly accurate.