Nov 15, 2018
DO NOT WISH ME A HAPPY BIRTHDAY, I HAVE SOMETHING BETTER YOU CAN DO
A couple of months back, I made a very strange decision — I decided I wasn’t going to celebrate my birthday and wish anyone “Happy Birthday” ever again.
This decision was informed by a number of reasons; some are personal reasons I will not want to state in this piece, but there is just this one I want to talk about — birthday wishes are meaningless!
Before you come for my head, why not take a moment to read through my reservations, maybe you’d agree with me in the end.
Social media platforms, especially Facebook, has made birthday wishes more like a robotic action than a prayer it ought to be. Imagine if today is my birthday, I will receive hundreds of wishes from my (almost) 4000 Facebook friends, several contacts on WhatsApp, followers on Instagram and Twitter. If I am in a good mood (or I really like the person), I will compose a nice response to the birthday wish, else I will just reply with “Thank You”.
About 80% of those individuals that dropped me a birthday wish will not contact me or interact with me for the next 365 days, I’ll have to wait for my next birthday when Facebook will send them a notification before they remember I exist. Another 10% of those persons will contact me days or months later — when they need me to do something for them, while the last 10% will stay in contact and occasionally send me messages or call.
There was a time that I look forward to receiving birthday wishes on the 18th of November — the defunct anniversary of my birth. Whenever the Facebook birthday notification of any of my friends, acquaintances rather, pops up, I hurry to send them a wish. The idea is to take advantage of any chance we get to make a person happy and make the world a less hostile place.
Now that I’m older, not only am I not freaked by such messages again, I have also come to the realisation that “You are not defined by the number of happy birthday posts on your wall, you are defined by the depth of your relationships.” What’s the point? Does an acquaintance’s generic birthday wish on your wall really have the power to make your day better? Thank you for acknowledging my existence and trying to make my birthday special, but, let’s be honest — we don’t truly care about each other.
Now I don’t send wished to anyone on their birthdays and I won’t be expecting any wish from anyone on the 18th of November, 2018. But if you still plan on sending me wishes, I ask that you do one of these things instead:
1. Prepare a nice meal for your parents (if they are still alive), and make sure they eat to their satisfaction. Then ask them to pray for you.
2. Pray that GOD ALMIGHTY disgrace and defeat all the oppressors of my brothers and sisters across the world.
3. Donate (any amount you can afford) to a charity organisation, if you can’t find any, look for the vulnerable around you and help them live a better life.
4. See that you make (at least) ten people smile before the end of the day.
5. Think of a creative way to reduce, reuse or recycle plastics — then put it in use.
6. Take a moment from the day to say a prayer for the men and officers of all the security agencies in Nigeria.
If you can do any of these, I would appreciate it more than I would appreciate your birthday wish.
“Don’t make the mistake of placing value on the multitude of wall-posts you receive on your birthday. A birthday wish can give you a momentary feeling of happiness, but in the end, it doesn’t matter.”