Life often gets busy when you least expect it. Between the pandemic, work, school, and adjusting to new social norms, there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day. In addition, most people can only recall about seven things at any given moment. All of this adds up, making it tougher to remember the small stuff.
Birthdays, for example, are likely not super high on the list of priorities. But that doesn’t make them any less meaningful.
While our friends and family forgive us for missing a birthday or special occasion, like an anniversary, we’re much harder on ourselves. It sucks not being there to celebrate and show the people we care about that we value them.
So, why are we so hard on ourselves when we forget?
The answer is pretty straightforward.
Most people grow up feeling happy and cherished on their birthday. Friends, family, and everyone else aware of your “special day” go out of their way to prop you up. They make you feel like the king or queen of the world. It’s a deeply personal experience that sticks with you for the rest of your life. One that is common across countries, cultures, and much of history—since the Romans started celebrating birthdays for ordinary folks in ancient times.
When you think of birthdays, it’s hard not to associate them with how you feel about your own. It’s that warm, fuzzy feeling you get—not for any particular party you’ve had or the flavor of the cake. It’s the memories you’ve created with loved ones, co-workers, or schoolmates that bring a smile to your face. The truth is, when we miss someone’s birthday, we think of how it would feel if they did the same to us. It’s like that person cared so little that they didn’t even think to send a text. In reality, it probably just slipped their minds. But that doesn’t make it hurt less. When you miss celebrating someone else, it’s hard for you not to contemplate them feeling hurt by it.
As the saying goes, “treat others how you would want to be treated.” Even the smallest gesture, like a text message or short phone call, can mean the world to someone. And it starts with a single act: remembering.
So how do you stay on top of life’s special moments? You have a few options.
Following the launch of the iPhone, and the introduction of apps like Facebook and Google Calendar, keeping track of people’s birthdays on the go got significantly easier. But they also have their limitations and issues.
With Facebook, for example, it’s hard to keep track of your actual friend’s birthdays and other special life events when you have a ton of old schoolmates and casual associates crowding your feed. With so many profiles floating around, few of them you would ever celebrate with in person, the significant dates can get lost in the noise. It takes more energy and time to manage. Amid the chaos, missing the people that matter most becomes more likely. And posting a belated message just doesn’t feel the same.
The Google Calendar app, on the other hand, requires more work. Already packed with appointments and meeting notifications, mixing in events like birthdays will only increase your chances of missing them. Perhaps this method makes sense for type-A people. But ultimately, It requires mental capacity that the majority of people don’t have to spare. For life’s special moments, you want the reminder to stand out from run-of-the-mill activities.
There are a ton of tips and tricks out there to call your attention to upcoming occasions. Recurring gift orders, for example, are an impersonal but consistent way to show friends and family you‘re thinking about them on their birthday.
One app that reduces the time and energy you spend to keep everything in order is Hip. We built Hip to make sure you never forget the people and life moments that matter most. With Hip, you can add people and celebrations, customize your reminders, schedule birthday messages ahead of time, and get recommendations for unique gift ideas when you need a bit of inspiration. You get all of these great features in one app.
People who love Hip use it for any celebration—anniversaries, holidays, housewarming parties, weddings, and so much more.
It’s important to note that not everyone celebrates birthdays. There are countless reasons for it. But almost everyone on the planet celebrates something with the people they love—whether that’s a reunion or a significant life event. The best way to show the people in your life that you care about them is to be ready and present when those moments happen.