Last week I celebrated another birthday. Big party? Nah. As I recently learned from my friend Kiernon James, birthdays can be a day to pause and ponder your life. So this year I found more joy in taking time for reflection and introspection on the day of my birth celebration. I sat quietly and appreciated the people, experiences, and lessons that were an integral part of my previous year. Think of it like a mini New Year’s Eve celebration.
Another aspect of my birthday I’ve come to enjoy is the avalanche of birthday wishes I receive on Facebook. I know, I know… many people spend entirely too much time on Facebook, but for all the flack technology gets for creating distance between us, social media sites like Facebook allow us the unique opportunity to have personal conversations and connections across any distance, any time.
You’ve got to admit we’ve come a long way since the long distance telephone call (did I just date myself…?), and the way we communicate has changed because of it. We now we have the benefits of technology. We have text, IM, Skype, Snapchat, Facetime and online social networking. We can connect with the world, and each other, in microseconds.
So beginning a day or two before my birthday, I usually start seeing a trickle of “Happy Birthday!” messages appearing on my Facebook wall. By the time my actual birthday arrives, the posts are adding up—each person giving me their own virtual hug. This year I especially appreciated the birthday posts… all 239 of them! Some people I’d seen recently whereas others I hadn’t seen in over 20 years, but I still felt a personal connection to each and every one of them.
In the Facebook universe, clicking the ubiquitous button is the acknowledgement that I appreciated their post. And for many of the posts from my closest friends, I even added a personal reply which may have included special nicknames or personal references that we share—i.e., “Thanks, Pegleg!” for my friend Peg in Hawaii, or “Let’s get together again soon!” These special little interactions made the posts even more meaningful, and not just for me. My birthday had given many of us a great reason to reconnect again.
So let me leave you today with one thought: When you feel the nudge to send out some love to a friend or family member—especially if they’re far away—don’t let it pass you by. Use your technology and make the connection! Send a text, IM, or post. Tell them that you’re thinking of them. Go ahead and give them a virtual hug—especially if it’s their birthday. Because after all, there’s nothing better than putting a smile on someone’s face. And by doing so, you’ll usually end up smiling, too.
To Our Better Balance!
Michael Thomas Sunnarborg
Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is a professional speaker, best-selling author, and life transition coach. His passion is to help people reclaim their power of choice and find better balance in their work, relationships, and life. You can follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter, or find out more at michaelsunnarborg.com
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