Birthday / Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Enjoying a birthday during the pandemic

I recently had my first Covid birthday and it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I turned 20 this month and although lockdown had technically ended, Covid has not. While I was back in London with my parents and had the opportunity to go out to a restaurant, I chose to stay at home to celebrate since I knew it would be busy and somewhat unsafe to go out at this time.

A lot of friends and family have quite frankly suffered through the lockdown and their lockdown birthdays, especially those who are due to have a second covid birthday. A friend of mine had her 18th birthday not only during the lockdown but also actually having covid at the time.

During the lockdown in May, my family celebrated my sister’s 17th birthday and it was a wholesome experience. We watched Finding Nemo, and this has become a yearly tradition after we discovered that the film was realised on May 30. She also received Aragorn’s sword from Lord of the Rings so it wouldn’t have been a bad birthday, lockdown or not.

Spending this time with my family was precious and very much needed

For my birthday, we were lucky enough to have a Formula 1 race. We usually watch it as a family, but since I’ve been at university, I’ve had to sadly watch it alone without the screams of my mother and groans of my father. Getting to watch it with my family on my birthday was special and spending this time with my family was precious and very much needed.

My mum cooked a beautiful feast of biryani, raita, vegan chocolate cake and lots of side dishes that she shouldn’t have. Simply sitting, eating biryani and watching cars drive around in circles was a surprisingly lovely birthday for me.

Last year I celebrated my birthday by going to eat with my friends. The meal at the Warwick branch of Giggling Squid was really nice, but it doesn’t compare to home food or real Thai food. When I look back at all the birthdays I’ve spent simply going out to eat with friends I’d never usually go out with, it seems somewhat odd.

In the gift department, I was more than satisfied this year

Perhaps this may be a Covid realisation or just an adult acknowledgement. I truly believe that even if there wasn’t a lockdown or a pandemic, I wouldn’t take the typical route of buying an unnecessarily expensive Oh Polly dress and to break my ankles in heels on the way to a regular restaurant.

In the gift department, I was more than satisfied this year. Though they may not top the Nazgul Sword I received on my 18th birthday, a set of Le Cruset Pots were very much exciting to open. As you may notice, my family has a silly idea of gifts but I truly do love it. I cook a lot both at university and at home so I was really thankful for my parents to get me the iconic red pot, which can go in the dishwasher too.

I feel like this Covid birthday hasn’t been any less of a birthday

My sister was unbelievably thoughtful and painted me a still of Azula from the Last Airbender. She chose my favourite scene and still from the show without even asking me and painted the best canvas I could ever ask for.

Upon reflection, I feel like this Covid birthday hasn’t been any less of a birthday than any other, but probably better. There were no expectations for me to buy an expensive outfit or feel the pressure of forgetting to invite someone to whatever birthday function I would have had.

People put a lot of emphasis on the big numbers like 18 and 21, although to me they’re just like any other birthday. I’m not sure if I’m coming off as boring but I truly felt like staying at home with my family and Azula was the safest and best way to celebrate my 20th. When I look back in 10 years I hope I’ll still be happy with the way I spent the big 20 because it felt like my favourite birthday so far.

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