Today isn’t just like any other day. Today is my birthday. Today is also my first, and hopefully only, birthday during a widespread pandemic. As I sit here this morning, I have been reflecting on a lot of things. This is set to be the most understated birthday I’ve ever had, and I am surprisingly fine with that. There will be no parties, no visitors, and no decorated cake, despite it being a tradition in our home. There will just be one gift, instead of many, because both of my parents and I can’t work right now during the pandemic. I assured them that it is fine, and it is.
We are currently in a state of self-imposed lock-down at our house. Our state’s governor hasn’t yet issued a shelter-in-place order, but we are doing it anyway. We aren’t leaving for any reason, except to go to our local independent pharmacy’s drive thru for necessary medications. We have at least a 2 month supply of food, drink, and other essentials, so we are prepared for a long time. This has become our new normal, our different reality.
This may be our different reality now, but I find it hard to complain. There are some days when I have to eat something I would rather not, and I think about the countless people out of a job right now who are going hungry. There are some days that I wish I could just go shopping, and I think about the people dying in this country and around the world to this virus. Suddenly, it all doesn’t seem like such a big deal. If there is one thing this virus has shown me, it has shown me how much we take for granted, and in what ways we are still being selfish.
There are those around the country and the world who are likely to think my family and I are paranoid, or crazy. Those people must not have someone they love who could easily die from this virus. I do. My wheelchair-bound, autistic brother has a highly compromised immune system. He had pneumonia once when he was younger, which puts him at a higher risk for it again. He is exactly the type of person whom this virus could kill. Then I think of my parents, who are both in their early 60’s. Their age alone puts them at higher risk with this virus. They are my only immediate family, and they are all at risk of not only catching this virus, but dying from it.
That risk of death for my family is why, as a mostly healthy 31 year-old adult, I am staying home with them. That is why I cancelled my plans to have my best friend over today for a mini-party. That is why I am not out shopping this morning with my mom like we do every year. That is why I am not upset that my mom made cupcakes for me instead of a decorated cake. That is why I am grateful for even that one small gift. That is why I am writing this for you today.
As a younger person, I know how hard it can be to be living through these types of times. We generally aren’t used to people telling us we can’t go places and do things when we want to. We are used to meeting up with friends, spending time with our extended family, or just being able to go to a store whenever we want to. To be encouraged to stay home, and limit our exposure to others is very hard for some of us. If you are one of those wondering what the big deal is, or if you really do need to take more protective measures, I am here to tell you that it is important that you do. You could be saving lives, including those in your own family.
In my state in the United States, we have a 1, 2, and 4 year old all fighting to survive this virus. So yes, it can endanger children. In my county, we have 5 people confirmed to be infected within 15-20 minutes of where I live, so yes, it can be in your neighborhood. I want to say that despite this, I am not panicking. I am not looking to make others panic. What I am asking for is for all of us to be responsible during this time. Reconsider going out to where a bunch of people are if you don’t have to. Wash your hands regularly and don’t cough or sneeze into the open air. Be grateful for all that you do have. Try to be kind and understanding to others during this time. Try to be patient. Try not to complain.
I have so much faith in all of us to come through this together and be the better for it. I believe we all are going to learn and grow, I know I am. As I celebrate my birthday tonight with my parents and my brother, I know it will be the best birthday ever. That’s not because of a cake, or gifts, or shopping trips. It’s because they are still there to celebrate it with me, and I really couldn’t ever ask for anything better. So let’s all do our part to make sure we, and others, can keep continuing to celebrate our birthdays together with those we love!
Hello my fellow APer's! It has been a long time! I hope this isn't too heavy of a post (it isn't meant to be). If you have happened to be around since I started posting here, you know my posts can go a bit deep. I am excited to see so many new people on AP! I can't wait to read some of your work! Blessings to you all and thanks for reading!