This past weekend, we celebrated two of my favorite holidays: Easter, and my birthday. Every year, I never know what exactly to expect from my birthday. Growing up, I had a snow day on my birthday at least once. I’ve had one surprise birthday party thrown, and thrown many parties of my own.
As is customary, I began thinking of what I wanted to do for my birthday about two months in advance. Yes, I realize this is excessive and unnecessary; but I always feel excited about the prospect of getting everyone I love in the same place at the same time to celebrate.
Slowly but surely, my plans this year began to be cancelled. First cancelled was the showing of “Mean Girls” at the Denver Center of Performing Arts; then came my apartment complex cancelling all gatherings in our lounge, which I had booked for a party the night before my birthday. Then, all restaurants and bars were closed for the foreseeable future. My plans for a fun birthday diminished with each cancellation.
When asked by my parents what I wanted to do for my birthday, I kinda shrugged. What is there to do anyway?, I would ask. No one really had a clear answer for me.
The truth is, I’m starting to feel drained by the quarantine. I’m starting to feel the boredom of monotonous days. I miss going out to restaurants and bars, and I miss being able to make memories with people my own age.
I’m not writing this to make people feel bad for me, or for anyone else who is feeling this way. Rather, I’m writing this to show that it is OK and normal to feel this way. I’ve done the very best I can to stay positive during these crazy times, and to be a light for my loved ones. But none of us are perfect, and all of our feelings are valid. It’s ok to feel sad or disappointed at the circumstances that surround us.
.I went into my day for lowered expectations than I would for a usual birthday. I didn’t expect any surprises, unexpected gifts, or grand celebrations. It simply was not possible for any of these things to happen. Instead, I drew great joy from being able to sit outside in the warm weather, get some tan, and listen to my podcasts I needed to catch up on from this week. What a treat!
Instead of sulking in the things that I wouldn’t be able to have on my birthday, I gave thanks for all of the things that I do have: health, a family to spend time with me, a job, plenty of food, mimosas to drink, and so, so much more.
On top of all of that, I have an incredible network of friends and family who made me feel so incredibly loved, even though no one could celebrate with me in person. I honestly didn’t really expect many people to want to reach out to me on my birthday this year, just given the craziness, but I was blown away by all the love and support I received. Some years, I think I have taken for granted the wonderful people who always show me love; but this year, their love was the greatest gift I could’ve received. Remember that love is the easiest thing you can send and receive, and to check in on those you love during these odd imes.
All of this is to say, choose gratitude and love every single day, even when it is not the choice that you want to make. It is ok to feel sad and ungrateful at times, and you have to sit in those feelings; but don’t let them overtake you. Remind yourself of all the things going right for you at this time, and show love and appreciation for the people who surround you.