Birthday Anxiety

I avoided Facebook because birthday well-wishes terrify me. Every year I peruse Facebook, tossing out generous likes, loves, wows, and occasional angries. When I can, I leave positive comments. Sometimes, in a pique of social energy, I share something personal and perch by my post to banter with others until I have depleted my gregariousness. But when my birthday rolls around, anxiety seizes me. The thought of all the kind wishes overwhelms me, sweat beads on my chest, and my arms feel cold. I cannot make myself click the link.

I know this is irrational, the same way a compulsive hand-washer knows they need to put the soap down, but it is phenomenally hard, and I feel as if I am losing my mind.

Today, I revisited my Mom’s written in a wind tunnel birthday greetings and cheery notes from Egor’s side of the family. I forged ahead. Clicking on Facebook was like jumping in a cold swimming pool. “I can get used to this,” I tell myself, “Since I don’t know what to say, I’ll copy and paste thank yous.” In a few seconds, my anxiety ebbs, and I find myself smiling and writing sincere thanks.

Never think you are unappreciated when you do something nice. Every kindness waits to be enjoyed.

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