Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Today, I turn 35 years old and while I don't feel old, I do know that I've lived through a major shift in how we live.
I've resided in Mass, Virginia, Alabama, Nebraska, Iowa, and soon... New Hampshire in my years. Radio has taken me to many amazing places and I have spent many birthdays alone but not this year.
My mom and I are very close and I have 3 brothers and 1 sister. In the past, my family would have to send me a gift in the mail for my birthday to acknowledge the day. Tonight, my mom will throw me a birthday dinner with my girlfriend and then we will have a big dinner on Saturday. Yet, I remember years where only my closest relationships, two or three friends, were the ones who communicated with me on my birth-day.
Now however, the world is so much smaller, so connected. By 8 am today, my Facebook page had 30 people in over 10 states wishing me well. My Twitter account as of 9 am had 5 people sending kind thoughts my way. I'm sure by the end of the day, those numbers will have tripled.
It's interesting to see what happens on your birthday these days because social media allows contact with people you wouldn't necessarily know if you saw them on the street. Linkedin, Tumbler, Instagram or other sites allow you to learn about a life you normally would never come across. We are all networked into to each other today and we know of the major events in each other's lives like birthdays or marriages or divorces without knowing about the person's daily life.
This isn't some major declaration, I know. But on my 35th birthday, it has struck me that I knew what my FB was going to look like at 9 am before I even got up. It's become almost a requirement when you see that little present box in the right hand side of your screen. Even if you haven't spoken to the person in 20 years, you write them a note. You must. You feel compelled.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate every single person taking time out to send me a nice message... it's just different than what I grew up with or experienced for the better part of my first 30 years. My 12 year old sister will grow up knowing this act as required behavior. I'll be curious to see what the internet looks like when she turns 35. What will be required behavior on a birthday? Will it be more or less than what we do today with Facebook?
In meantime, please take a second remember what happened today in Memphis in 1968. Today is my birthday but I always want people to remember the man who was gunned down today and take the time to point it out.
Thanks for all the birthday wishes. Today is a day that I look forward to all year ... even if it means I'm getting old.