Happy birthday – whoever you are!

She came into the cafe to meet friends for coffee. At the counter ordering her coffee when suddenly the staff and then the whole cafe erupts into singing her happy birthday. What a lovely way to celebrate this person’s special day.

It makes me wonder again at the power of singing to brighten someone’s day. 

So just how universal is  that little song? How many languages can you sing that ditty in?

I can sing it in Te Reo Maori, French, Italian, English – how about you?

Special smiles all around. Does this happen in other countries?  

This made my day and it wasn’t even my birthday that day.   It also reminded of my own recent birthday treat at a cafe.  I got $9 off my order as a birthday gift time during my ‘me-month’.  A really cool idea – and a great marketing ploy. 

Back to the concept though. What are we really saying to that person whose birthday it is?  Are we happy that they are another year older? Are they happy?  

Do they want to celebrate their entry into this crazy life?  Or is it enough to just wish that they have a special day?

Shouldn’t every day be special? Well life is short – make sure it is good. This is in our own hands. 

I remember on my birthday a few years ago, I was feeling a bit bereft just because I waited all day without getting any birthday greetings on Facebook- of all places. It turned out that day was the day Facebook went down!  Shock and horror!  I felt neglected, even invisible to my family and friends.  Then I thought – what is so important about recognition? 

It had me wondering why I felt I had to rely on that social media platform to feel remembered and valued?  Why? Am I not enough for myself?  Why do we need validation? Am I so egocentric that it must be all about me?

Should I worry about what others may or may not think about me?  Or get upset if they don’t even appear to think about me at all? Which is worse – to be not thought of or to think that no-one cares enough to acknowledge another year’s living?

And yet, a simple act of acknowledgement is all it takes to make a person feel loved.

Note to self: Remember to remember others’ birthdays and make  the time to do this with meaningful words not just the trite ‘happy birthday’.  Make someone else feel that special feeling. 


But today really is my birthday and I have been out to lunch at Havelock with friends and then back home to a scrumptious dinner of rainbow trout and creamed mushrooms  and a delicious red wine.

 And I got a singing ‘happy birthday message’ from my grandchildren – and yes lots of facebook messages too.  I feel special all over again if yet another year older – which is of course a privilege in itself.

Life’s for Living – Every. Single. Day.