Today is my 25th birthday. It’s a Friday, so one can only assume I would have had an absolute blast. However, with an interesting plot twist, my silver birthday plans to travel to Los Angeles to spend the weekend with a best friend were, of course, cancelled weeks ago along with most of March and the entirety of April.
If you’re unaware of what I’m referencing or perhaps reading this sometime in the distant future, it is nearing the end of April in 2020, and we are in the midst of a global pandemic. It feels silly even to type, as if some people aren’t aware of the current, devastating situation, or as if the future of our planet doesn’t depend on a contagious virus that we know nearly nothing about or rest in the hands of billionaires across the globe who couldn’t care less about the actual lives of those living in their countries.
I remember realizing weeks ago that my birthday would look a little different this year. It was only actually in the coming weeks afterward that it became more obvious to me that the jokes about a zoom birthday were more than likely going to become my reality. It officially hit me once I started hearing about weddings in quarantine, seeing isolation engagement photos on facebook, or reading an all-too-adorable story about a whole neighborhood that paraded around in cars to wave and wish a young child whose party was cancelled a happy birthday.
I’m not quite sure how to spend my day. I typically would go to brunch with friends, get my nails done, maybe have a picnic or go see a movie, and by the end of the day find myself twirling around at some bar hopefully very tipsy. I would have surrounded myself with family and the community I’ve created for myself, most of whom are also trans and/or queer. My birthday this year will look much different.
I’ll be the first to admit that celebrating anything during a global pandemic, in quarantine, surrounded by tragedy, does not feel like the most appropriate display of reverence. However, in times of such uncertainty, I think that sometimes, the most trivial things can be so grounding. The words of love from all sorts of people in my life are so incredibly comforting. It may not be the 25th birthday I always dreamed of, but it’s mine to celebrate and make the most of, nevertheless.
As more holidays, birthdays, weddings, and celebrations come and go during this time of quarantine, many of us are being forced to find new ways to spend these moments together while apart. Whether it’s a virtual “house party” or reaching out to send a message through social media, this is what community looks like. While we don’t always have each other to hug and to hold, we are still able to support one another in a multitude of ways. Everywhere you look, there is disaster, but in the midst of disaster is a comforting reminder that we are all still growing older, that lovers are still falling in love, and that someday soon, things might feel a little more normal.