The happiness of a virtual birthday party

Manila--Before I celebrated another birthday last month, I attended my seven-year-old niece’s Barbie-themed birthday party at a pizza restaurant. The balloons were in all shades of pink. The party hats were pink. My niece wore pink from headband to shoes. I’m not fond of pink so I wore a purple top. At least, it’s still near to pink, as there were purple balloons all over the place.

I don’t remember my parents throwing a birthday party for me with such flair. I think there was one time but it was never repeated. I grew up in a family that is not the invite-the-entire-neighborhood type during special occasions. I think that’s why during my birthdays, I love spending time alone, in my so called “me” time, and I would never trade it for anything in the world. I do celebrations, which are just intimate sit down meals and coffee time with friends, that is, if we’re not all too busy to agree on a date, after the birthdate.

So when I joined social media a few years ago, I tried, just for experience, putting my birthdate out there, publicly. I was anxious about what happens on that day. Will there be a Facebook party and is everyone coming? I don’t even party and I don’t like being in a roomful of people I just met, I hardly know or I have known from some distant past. Only a few know my history and what I do at present.

But true enough, there was a party. My FB wall was swamped with all kinds of Happy Birthday and HBD messages, mostly with exclamation points. It’s like opening the door for every person who rings it and who says his greeting, with almost the same inflection as the others, when you’re face to face. And then the hugs and kisses. There were advanced and belated greetings too.

It’s that convenient. And because they went into trouble writing their greetings, I hit the like button on each friend’s greeting and thanked them individually. For those with added wishes apart from the HBD, such as jokes and or asking how I was doing, I made sure I replied to the greeting with not just a thank you.

There was one time I wasn’t satisfied with just thanking each one who greeted, or was having second thoughts if indeed I got to thank everyone, and in which case if I forgot to thank one or two of them, I wrote a thank you message on my wall.

Years on and birthday greetings turned wackier with emojis and GIFs of birthday cakes with candles, exploding fireworks, flowers with wine a