It was my Birthday yesterday and I turned 44. I am going to be very honest and transparent in this post, because that’s the person I want to be.
It is not my favourite day of the year, but it used to be. Growing up we used to make a big deal of Birthdays. We would wake up in the morning to lots of love and we would all sit on my parents bed and open up an assortment of presents. They would be wrapped in beautiful paper and we would always receive a beautiful card written by my Mum. We knew as soon as we opened it, there were be a few tears because the words would be from her heart and make us feel like we were the most loved person in the whole entire world. I have kept everyone of these cards and look forward to them every year. Yesterday was different. I live in another state to my Mum and the rest of my family, I am no longer married and two of my three children were away at camp. I woke up and it was lonely. This post is not meant to be a pity party for me, but I want to be honest and be able to freely express my feelings.
My first mistake was not making any plans for the day. Thankfully some dear friends insisted on popping in for a cuppa mid morning after my first appointment. They gave me a big hug and made me feel special. I also organised lunch with a friend who is in between jobs so was hoping was free. I chose a place that would make me happy. I then raced home to fit in another appointment before picking up the kids from school. It was then rush rush to get the tired post camp twins to Cricket, make supper for 11 hungry boys and get the kids organised to spend the weekend at their Dad’s. I got home around 8.30 to some leftovers, a big glass of Rose and spent an hour chatting to Mum on the phone.
As I reflect on the day I have a few key observations, emerging traditions and a major shift in how we communicate it this world that I would like to share with you.
- I woke up to the sound of ping ping on my phone. Birthday messages on Facebook were popping into my feed from early into the morning until late in the night. I had hundreds of messages, from all over the world and even from people I don’t really know. But, I am the first to admit that I will often open up Facebook at the beginning of the day and see who’s Birthday it is. I will send a message, but not take a lot of time really thinking about the person, certainly not the time if I were to write them a card. My friend reminded me we are living in a convenience society and it so true, but we can do more. I know I am not the only person who is like this. I am not proud of this either. I did read every single message I received and replied to every one. I did feel loved. This morning I woke up to a video from Facebook that popped up random messages I received out of this cake, in the hope that I would share it. Kinda cute, but still not sure.
- My Mum posted a Birthday message on my Facebook Wall at 7am. These precious words would normally be written inside a card, but now they are there for the whole world to read. I don’t have a problem with this at all, but how times have changed. I am catching up with Mum in a couple of weeks where she will be giving me my gift and I know a beautifully handwritten Birthday Card will be attached.
- Traditions have been forming over the years without me realising until I reflected this morning. My friend who I went to lunch with who is between jobs at the moment and on a tight budget gave a beautiful bunch of freshly cut flowers from her garden. Not any flowers mind you, her first hydrangea blooms of the season. We both love these flowers and I feel very honoured to be a recipient of the first flush. These flowers make me so happy. She did this for me last year too. Another lovely friend stopped me in the school car park with bunch of freshly picked Lavender. I worked out this morning this is the forth year in a row she has gifted me these flowers and again they make me very happy. I even have last years bunch hanging dried outside.
- I received three cards yesterday. One from my children and two from work colleagues who I consider my friends. I remember in years gone by where I would have a selection of beautiful cards proudly displayed on my side board. They would sit up there for a few weeks, where I would often pick them up and re-read them or admire the pretty image on the front of the card. OK time to get really honest here! I have been terrible at sending Birthday Cards over recent years. I don’t know what happened, but I just stopped. The thing is it really bugs me that I have become this person. I want to remember Birthdays, I want to celebrate them more and I want to send Birthday Cards. I don’t have any excuses. I use a system that sends you a reminder two weeks before someones Birthday and you can send a gorgeous personalised physical Birthday card in minutes from your phone or computer.
- People don’t make phone calls anymore. I got a phone call from a mentor of mine who sang me Happy Birthday. She expressed what I meant to her in beautiful words and made me feel so unique and valued. I will always remember this phone call.
- There are so many people in this world who are alone. They don’t have children, family or many friends to make a fuss of them. I had an appointment with a client who lives interstate and she is a single Mum with one daughter. She was telling me that she spent her last Birthday by herself, she even took herself out to lunch. I am sure you can think of one person straight away who may be in this position.
- Birthday’s are a huge opportunity for Businesses when done correctly. I just went into my inbox and searched Birthday. I got three emails from businesses I subscribe too. I have unsubscribed from most Loyalty Programs as I don’t read them. One was from Qantas sent on the 1st of the month a whole 24 days early. I received two yesterday from Kikki-K and AMF Bowling. They both offer me a voucher of sorts. Interestingly, one had a one month expiry and the other 12months. I may use the Kikki-K voucher if I remember, but they had zero impact on me. For small to medium sized businesses sending a Birthday Card with meaning and no attached sales offer or voucher could be the only card someone receives. Then when you text/call/email them a short time after with an special offer, I bet you will get an order. All people want in this world is to feel loved and that you care. Customers are people.
BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD
So last night I went to bed feeling very grateful to have turned 44. I am grateful to be healthy, happy and full of hope. I feel blessed to have three wonderful children, a loving family, gorgeous and generous friends and a life full of love.
Today I am throwing a lot of ideas around my head around some type of Birthday Club. I want to do this better for myself and I know there are many others who would like to do this better. I am not entirely sure what this will look like, but watch this space.
Do you send Birthday Cards?
Would you like to send more Birthday Cards, but it all becomes too hard?