Ever since December 1st, 2019, I had been counting down the days to December 1st, 2020. My birthday has always been important to me and I usually spend the entire year planning my birthday to make sure that the 1st of December is always the best day of the year for me. Birthdays are such a beautiful time for self-reflection on how much we have grown over the years and for me, is the one day in the year that my busy family and friends all find a way to come together to have fun and celebrate. Through all the chaos of my life, I really enjoyed having that one day to sit down, look around me, and see just how many people are happy and excited to celebrate my life with me.
Therefore, as the end of November started to roll around and I found myself still stuck at home, I was definitely not happy. Hanging out at the pool with my friends during the day and then going around the city, eating cake and hotpot with them at night was no longer a possibility and this made me a lot more upset than I expected.
Looking back, I now realize that it was more than just not being able to celebrate my birthday as usual that bothered me. Instead, it was my inability to control the situation and not have things go according to my plan that I was finding hard to deal with. Throughout this whole experience with COVID-19, so many things have been out of our hands and as a huge control freak, this lack of control really got to my head. I became frustrated that there was nothing I could do and started lashing out at my friends and family, yelling at them for absolutely no reason at all. The fact that I have been stuck at home for almost ten months also really hit me. I would get really anxious as I started feeling like I’m going to be stuck at home for the rest of my life and as if this situation was never going to end, which led to me breaking down and crying at random moments during the day.
However, one day, while on a call with my friends, they helped me calm down and realize that while I may have less control than I normally do, I still have the ability to make the best out of what I have. They helped me realize that during these unfortunate circumstances, it is so important to accept not being able to control or micromanage everything and allow plans to change. Therefore, with the help of my friends, I was able to finally let go of my previous plans for my birthday and make a new one that was more corona friendly. Here are some of the things that I did during my birthday that you can hopefully do for yours too
The most simple but enjoyable thing I did was video-call my friends. At the end of the day, a birthday is a time for loved ones to come together and this doesn’t have to be in real life. With technology developing every day it has never been easier to talk to anyone, anytime, over the internet. Whether it is through zoom, discord, Instagram, Facebook, etc., with one click of a button, you could be talking to your friends as if you guys were right next to each other. Just being able to hear and see all my friends’ faces made the day already perfect for me.
You and your friends can also watch movies together over Teleparty or even by screen-sharing over Zoom or Discord. You can play online games together, listen to music, sing happy birthday, gossip, laugh, and basically do anything you do in real life with your friends over video-call, making it the most simple but fun thing to do on your birthday.
You could also send some food or cake to your friends with a food delivery service. Eating is almost one of the most fun parts of a birthday and even without seeing your friends, sending them food is still possible. You guys could even eat together over video-call and it would almost feel like you’re eating together right next to each other.
Although this is a little bit more complicated, if you and your friends are able to drive and use a car, you can all bring some food, drive to an empty parking lot, park six feet away from each other, sit in the trunk of your cars and enjoy each other’s companies while socially distancing. You could eat, talk, sing, play games, or do whatever you want as long as you are taking all the necessary precautions against COVID-19. Seeing your friends in real life like this and just getting outside and getting some fresh air can be so good for your mental health. As social creatures, seeing other people is such an important thing to us and can be so therapeutic, as well as help you regain a sense of normalcy, which is why this was one of my favorite things to do during my birthday.
This birthday also helped me realize all that I have to be grateful for: a family and friends to celebrate my birthday with, a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in at night, and so much more. COVID-19 has been a tough situation for all of us and there are so many people that have lost something because of it. Therefore, as our birthdays roll around, it is a great time to reflect on our year, both the good and the bad, and be grateful for all that we still have with us and will bring into the next year of our lives.
If you ever feel like this whole COVID-19 situation has been overwhelming and need a little more help, please feel free to reach out to us through the advice section on the TWE website or use these helplines:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US): 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish
Suicide Prevention Hotline (UK): +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90, call 116123
Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
SAMHSA’s National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and TTY 1-800-487-4889
Suicide hotlines of every country