The trouble of a card

Every time I write a birthday card I run into trouble. I always have the expectation of writing something powerful, something unique and special. Something that really speaks to the person who will eventually receive the card. And I always feel I fail utterly.

The thing that usually makes it impossible to reach my aim is that I also expect I can do that in just five minutes. That’s where I go wrong. How is five minutes ever enough to remind yourself of all the moments you have shared with that person and what s/he means to your life? It is just not going to work out.

In that situation my twisted mind begins to think that it’s obviously impossible that I come up with all these great thoughts I set out to have – but there must be someone else who’s already had them and phrased them much better than me. And so, in the times of our copy-and-paste-world, I frantically search online for some fabulous quote that will explain all my wishes and hopes to the lucky receiver.

Let me tell you – this search takes much more than five minutes. Usually, I run into riming birthday wishes that in their turn must be pure copy-paste-examples of the cards filling shops in every other city in the UK*. And while these are perfect for some people, they’re just not my style.

Not completely resigned, I turn to quotations of life by famous philosophers and writers – for sure they must have something to say. But this too, is a dead end. Who wants to hear about the struggles that you have to overcome, how the bleak days in your life make you stronger and how important it is to see things positively in a birthday card?

Usually this is the point where I give up; I have spent much more than my initially calculated five minutes, have found nothing feasible, and – depending on the person – either go for one of the not so kitschy greetings or gather my remaining brains and write something myself, hoping that it doesn’t sound too much like what I have written in last year’s card. (Do people remember that, anyhow?).

So, whoever is up to receiving a birthday card from me this year – feel warned. I’m trying, but it might be that my awful time management for birthday card writing beats me to the punch and makes me come up with something other than I set out to send out. Still, love you guys dearly and am so happy that you’re around. The card just might not say it, but it’s true nonetheless!


* Depending on where you live, you might have or have not had the chance to visit a British card store. Here in Germany we usually buy our cards in ordinary stationary stores. Of course, you’ll also find them there in the UK. But additionally, there are British shops that exclusively sell greeting cards – for each and every occasion. They have everything. A card for every possible greeting one might think of. A whole store full.


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