Stranger Makes Birthday Surprise Complete

Birthdays can bring out the best in people. Not always in the person actually celebrating the birthday — she can get a bit demanding (she writes while pointing to herself). But other people often really step up to help someone celebrate a birthday and feel loved. That is the big reason I love birthdays so much.

Here’s a great example from Canada (my native land).

Birthday surprise

A Halifax woman who wanted to surprise her mother for her birthday turned to Reddit for help. The thing was her Mom lives 4,000 kilometres away, in a tiny rural community in Manitoba, nearly four hours northwest of Winnipeg, where there aren’t any floral delivery shops.

So, Alison Hill, put a post on Reddit the night before her mother’s 71st birthday to see if anyone nearby was willing to bring her mother flowers. Within minutes someone had volunteered!

Hill ordered flowers in Dauphin, Man., about a 40-minute drive from her mom’s place, and offered to pay for the gas. But the man wouldn’t take it.

The Surprise Happens

The next day, Tia Hill was sitting in her front yard enjoying birthday wine with her husband and a few neighbors. She told the CBC she said, “If I had known we were having company, I would have baked a cake.”

Moments later, a grey truck pulled up and a man got out to ask if she was Tia. When she said she was, the man went around to the passenger side and came back with an urn full of salmon pink hibiscus and a birthday cake.

The flowers were from Alison and her three-year-old son. The carrot cake was a surprise for both women.

“A perfect stranger,” Tia Hill remarked. “She just ordered the flowers, he ordered the cake. And I was so taken aback. What a wonderful thing to do for somebody.”

Alison Hill added, “I thought that was amazing. It never even occurred to me to get her a cake — I just wanted to send her flowers!”

Tia Hill even called the florist to track the man down and thank him, but he had given a different name there than he gave on Reddit. “I don’t know who this man is, but he came with flowers and a birthday cake, so I love him to death,” Tia Hill said.

Alison Hill wrote back to thank the man too:  “He just said that I’m very welcome, and he does these things because he hopes someday someone will look out for his mom, too.”

 

Matching your Birthday Month to Your Enthusiasm Level

birthday month

Image source

If your birthday is this month, according to a writer for Sweety High, you “always anticipate” your birthday “will be as awesome as [you’ve] imagined.” After all, you’re one of the “optimistic May babies” who can “seize the opportunity to celebrate outside and take advantage of the great weather.” Even if the weather isn’t so great, you’ll  “tend to look on the bright side of things.”

Of course, this article has absolutely no sourcing, so it could all be the opinion of Amanda Pillon, the writer for Sweety High (yes, that really is the site’s name). But who doesn’t love a good birthday personality predictor?

Checking out her view of October birthdays, I did not see myself in the first half of the description about loving Halloween and turning my party into a costume party. Yet, I could agree with the second half at least:

“…they wouldnt change their birth month for the world. The timing also means that fall is back in full swing, meaning the weather is cool, the style is fashionable and the candy is abundant.”

Birthday Personality

My son is February, so I checked his description next. But it was all about people having given up their New Year’s resolutions and being able to eat cake with him and looking forward to spring. This one was definitely not written for a 10-year-old boy.

On to December, for my husband who has to deal with a holiday week birthday, and would definitely agree with the statement: “they really wish they could be any other time of year.” After all, Pillon tells us, “because of all of the holiday commotion, people are either forgetting your birthday altogether, or lumping your holiday presents in with the birthday ones….Youve probably considered celebrating your half-birthday in the summer, instead.”

My friend who does celebrate her half-birthday is actually an August birthday, so I read that one next. Apparently, “August babies know that it is the chillest month to have a birthday,” and “know theres tons of potential in an August birthday and that [their] job is to unlock it.”

Me, I don’t want my birthday to be a job, so I’m glad I’m not August. January didn’t sound so great to me either:

“If you were born in January, chances are that you see your big day as a mixed bag. While youre invigorated by celebrating your birthday along with a new year and new beginnings, you dont love it when people skimp on the gifts because they just bought you ones for the holiday.”

March birthdays seem a little disappointing too: “March birthdays dont always live up to the expectations you have for them…the weather absolutely cant seem to make up its mind…Plus, everyone seems distracted by tests and school, and spring break never seems to coincide with your special day.”

Birthday Spin

April gets a positive spin though as “Everyone else has a good association with your birthday, too, because they relate it to the sun shining and the flowers blooming.”

June, too, since “June birthdays mean summertime is officially here, and June babies cherish that.”

She also had high hopes for November birthdays: “everyone is getting into the holiday spirit, but pre-holiday present-buying panic hasnt set in. Your birthday gets to sit comfortably in the middle.”

A July birthday, on the other hand, “means freedom. Youll never have to worry about being in school for your birthday, and you can essentially transform your big day into a summer-long celebration all about you.”

Now, the summer-long celebration part sounds appealing, but I think the line that most appealed to me came in September’s description.

Although it is the most popular month to be born, there’s the upside of having “the first birthday of the school year (which is also the most exciting birthday all year).” And, the part I liked best, “everyone is eager to get back into celebration mode, so they jump at the opportunity to make yours a great birthday. You love being a star for a day.”

Why, yes, I do love being the star — only in October. See you then!

Age calculator has to be a scam right?

I have acknowledged previously that math is not my favorite subject. Still, I am not numerically illiterate. Really, I can’t imagine why anyone would need the help of a site I came across answering the question: “How old will I be in the future?”

age calculator

Clearly the site is targeting younger people. The default year is 2000, and those of us who need to go back from there (not so far back, I swear) have to painstakingly click and click and click (not that many times, I swear) to get to our birth year.

At least now, thanks, to this handy dandy calculator I can now admit that I am exactly 45 years, 6 months, and 13 days old.

Now, I know you are going to gasp with shock and awe when I tell you this, but on April 20 2019, I expected to be 46 years, 6 months, and 13 days old (give or take a day — allowing for leap year).

You know what? I was right, I should be that age exactly! The calculator confirms it. Wowza!

But what’s my exact age, really?

You can also simply click on a year and it will do the calculation for you. In 2035, I will be 62 years, 6 months, and 13 days old, which, actually, suggests I didn’t even need to worry about the leap year messing with my day-to-day count.

If you really want specificity, you can click on the age calculator and enter your hour and minutes of birth, plus your timezone, and learn “your exact age.”

So, the real question, is why would someone take the time to develop this site? The comments don’t indicate a swell of enthusiastic users oh-so grateful for this calculator’s help:

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 8.59.58 PM.png

Although I did appreciate Lele’s sense of humor when he/she commented: “what if the world ended don don don.”

Perhaps it is just for passive income generation (note the embedded ad in the image above). The site did also feature a few famous birthdays — though it is no competition for the site FamousBirthdays.com, which is insanely successful. The age calculator site offers blogs too actually, so I clearly need to be paying more attention to my competition!

In the meantime, consider this blog a Public Service Announcement letting you know where you can calculate your age down to the minute. You’re welcome.

 

One More Birthday Power to Enjoy.

You can easily imagine this headline: “Birthdays should allow you to choose your age” caught my attention. I’m all in for anything that gives me more power on my birthday — mwahahaha!

A writer in the Zanesville Time Recorder was going to celebrate her birthday by being 45 again. She noted this meant her older son was born five years before she was. She made an interesting observation though: “why not? If I can identify as either sex or any color or nationality, I choose to identify as a 45-year-old.”

We are a society increasingly open to people making their own identity choices. So, age fluidity could just be added to the list.

The writer further admitted, “truth be told, I feel as if I should be about 25. This aging stuff never really bothered me much.”

This year my birth certificate would attest to the fact that I am actually 45. I’ve written recently about reaching a point in my life where the number is making a dent on my psyche.

But I’ve been thinking more lately that maybe the reason we get so caught up in the numbers, and surprised when we reach them (30! 45! 50! AARP’s 55!..gulp 60!) is that we have no personal context for the experience.

Birthday Age

Remember when we were elementary schoolers who thought that being 21 was just as old as a 40-something? Basically, people were sorted into “babies,” “kids like us,” “teenagers,” “adults,” and “grandparents.”

Even in our twenties, we had the groupings: “younger than us,” “adults,” “parents” and “grandparents.”

But now that I’m in my mid-40s, I have to recalculate. Forty-five has always seemed old before now. But then I look ahead at how old people are getting (those 110 year olds I wrote about), and have to realize I could have another 45 years to go! If I feel old now, what am I leaving myself for later? Ancient? Crone?

I wish I could agree that the “aging stuff never really bothered me much.” It hadn’t for the longest time. She’s got the healthy point of view: “The best part of aging is that age really is just a number. And as you grow old you start to forget what that number actually is.”

Maybe I’m just not old enough yet to embrace that perspective. Still, I’ll admit I’m all for the idea of being whatever age you want on your birthday. Or at least acting that way! Most who know me would argue I act like a spoiled 9-year-old girl every birthday — complete with balloons, baked goods, and a big, brassy “it’s all about me” attitude.

Birthday Popularity — An Interactive Map

Clearly, I am not the only person out there who thinks birthdays are interesting. People with a lot more talent than I have for visualization and processing data have put together a cool heat map demonstrating the popularity of different birth dates.

Any loyal readers of this blog know already that September birthdays are the top-ranked for popularity, but on his “digital sketchpad for data stories” site, Matt Stiles provides an interactive way to see where your big day lands in comparison to others in the world.

birthday popularity

Birthday Popularity Ranked

To get the results, two decades of American birthdays, from 1994 – 2014, were averaged by month and day. There’s even an estimated conception date, for those who don’t shudder to think about that reality about their own parents.

Birthday popularity

It’s interesting to see that only one of the dates in the top 10 is outside of the month of September. Apparently October 14th is a particularly appealing day for parents to get busy!

While we’re at it though, let’s take a moment to reconsider the fact that you share your birthday with an estimated 11,000 people in America alone! That’s the median number of births per day.

A couple of other things I learned? Selfishly I of course looked up my own birthday. Turns out it is more common as a date of conception (netting a June 29 birthday at 111th), than it is a date of birth (115th, with a date of conception estimated at January 13 — no, Dad, if you’re reading this, I don’t need further detail about that critical January so many years ago…some things can be kept private between you and Mom, OK?).

I may not be a fan of data and statistics if I have to do any of the calculations. But I do love it when someone makes it so easy for me to sort through and find out cool stuff. Enjoy!

 

The Birthday Effect’s Not So Great

3380318326_1f245e133d_b

Photo by atalou on Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Have you heard about “The Birthday Effect?” Apparently, researchers in the United States, England, Switzerland and Japan have found the probability of death increases on or near people’s birthdays.

The main reasons are “stress related to the birthday, increased consumption of alcohol and drugs, and the tendency of terminally ill patients to hold off their passing until their birthday.” There is also what’s called “the birthday blues,” which increases birthday suicides.

The statistical anomaly known as “The Birthday Effect” is seen in some celebrity passings, which are captured now in online round-ups. Of course, since this site aims to be THE source for everything birthday-related, we’re due for a gallery of our own. So, here goes.

Famous Birthday Effect-ers

Renaissance painter Raphael (not the Ninja Turtle named after him) died on April 6, 1520. While the cause of death on his 37th birthday is unclear, “he reportedly died after an especially wild night with his long-time lover Margherita Luti.”

Another painter who died on his birthday? Grant Wood. The American painter, best known for his American Gothic, died of cancer February 13, 1942. He was 51.

Jazz saxophonist Sidney Bechet played his final notes on his 62nd birthday. He died in France of lung cancer on May 14, 1959.

Academy-Award winning Ingrid Bergman died August 29,1982, on her 67th birthday. The iconic  Isla Lund from Casablanca had fought a long battle with breast cancer before her death. Her ashes were sent back to her home country, Sweden.

The actress may have been doing a final ode to playwright and poet William Shakespeare who is thought to have died from a heart attack on his own April 23rd birthday in 1616 at the age of 52.

Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique (and a Smith College grad — just saying) died on February 4, 2006. She died of congestive heart failure at her Washington, D.C. home on her 85th birthday.

Activist Ella Baker, who fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., W. E. B. Du Bois, and Thurgood Marshall, died on her 83rd birthday (December 13, 1986).

One more who rode into the sunset on his birthday? Johnny Longden. The Triple Crown-winning jockey, who rode Count Fleet to Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes wins in 1943, died in 2003. He was born and died on Valentine’s Day.

If birthdays are a reminder of loved ones for you, check out this past blog.

Weighing Kid’s Birthday Priorities

Any reader who knows me personally likely knows how much I HATE morning talk radio. So much talking. So early in the morning. Blah blah blah. Please be quiet!

Still, I did listen to Allan & Ashley of Warm 106.9 asking listeners if it was OK to miss their kids’ graduation and birthdays. Or at least that’s what the blurb said they were talking about. See:

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 2.42.47 PM.png

But I endured five minutes of their blathering and didn’t hear a peep about missing a kid’s birthday. GRRR.

Yet reading about my annoyances is not the reason you read this blog (or at least not the main reason). So, let’s get back on topic. Even if Allan & Ashley ignored it.

Is Missing A Kid’s Birthday OK?

I found a “happy place for smart women” site with an article addressing this very question. And the author really did talk about it…not just say they would.

The article’s author Mia Freedman admits that she did miss her two-year-old’s birthday for an important, long desired interview with a Prime Minister. But they celebrated the birthday the next day, when she returned, and her toddler didn’t much notice the difference.

It helps that the child was so young. Plus, I’m not going to say that someone should lose out on an amazing personal or professional opportunity because of a child’s birthday. Although they should think hard about it first…

But, turns out Freedman was writing in response to a comment by a UK social commentator named Katie Hopkins who said:

“I would rather earn money than be with my kids on their birthday…Why is this is so hard to understand? Work today. Enjoy tomorrow more.”

Gulp. There are too many ways I want to respond to Hopkins, and few of them are “happy.”

Hopkins’ comment caused a response that merited her time on a follow-up program in which she said:

“My children recognize that I’m on the road a lot, I have to work a lot….They understand we’re a team, we all have to work together and it only takes a few steps from special child to spoilt child and I like to think mine are simply special. If I miss the day – I haven’t forgotten the day – but if I miss the day we’ll make it up some other time.”

Make an effort is what I say

Yes, this sounds more reasonable. Still, suggesting I am spoiling my child by trying to accommodate his or her birthday gets under my skin. Obviously I would not put my kids’ birthday ahead of keeping my job and the livelihood that sustains said kid and my family.

Still, I prefer to think of prioritizing your kid’s birthday before a work engagement as telling your child they are special to you rather than spoiling them. After all, the birthday is pretty much the one day a year a child can hope to be spoiled and put first on the family priority list. Where do you stand on this issue?