452: Happy Birthday

A Thousand Things to Talk About
452: Happy Birthday

How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

Full episode script

Back in Episode 105, we talked about traditions of birthday cake and celebration when asking if birthdays are a big deal for you. Today, however, I want to look at that anniversary of birth through a different lens — HOW you like to celebrate. After all, some societies somewhere on this planet have been recorded as celebrating birthdays since 3,000 BCE or before, so there’s been more than a few good ideas about how to do it.

Some of the most interesting responses to this included some of the least gift-and-dinner-ish ideas I’d seen — though, to be honest, if that kind of celebration is your thing, more power to you.

One friend said that they choose their birthday as the day that they set a new idea or intention for each year, rather than January 1. By resetting their year on their birthday, they explained, they felt it had more individual significance than something that changed on the calendar.

Another person said that they treat their birthday as “upside down” day — rather than sleeping in as they normally would, they got up early. Rather than indulging in celebration foods, they fasted. According to them, the tradition helped her understand what choices she was making out of habit, and which choices were being made because they truly fit her life.

Facebook has also stepped into their own birthday alternative, In August of 2017, Facebook rolled out a new feature for all users where a birthday could be “donated” and any user could fundraise for a nonprofit. There’s been some pushback, with some users unhappy that Facebook takes a 5% cut for management and processing fees — but it’s also been a tool that has raised some pretty significant cash for nonprofits in the last few months.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.