Question: My birthday is coming up and I don’t know how to celebrate now during COVID-19. I am not feeling excited for this birthday. How can I find a way to still celebrate this year?
Birthdays are a wonderful thing to celebrate. It is a time to reflect on your life and all that has brought you to this moment in time. Often, it is also a time to allow your loved ones to pamper you and celebrate you. I understand your feelings because many of the ways we may have celebrated in years past are not possible now during the pandemic.
When things change it provides an opportunity to be creative. I have seen many creative birthday parties during this time. I have participated in drive by parades where we wave and carry signs to make the birthday person feel special. I have joined in Zoom parties where we video conference with our friends and families. I have seen groups reach out asking for cards to be sent to the birthday person so they are inundated with well wishes from people they may not even know.
Think about your past celebrations and which ones you enjoyed the most. What was it about those birthdays that you really enjoyed? Perhaps it was being with family and friends, or it was the nice meal you were treated to, a trip you took, or the gifts you received. Even with social distancing and safety precautions there are ways to maintain some of the aspects of what you enjoy about birthdays. If family and friends are involved, make sure to tell them what you want so they can find a way to celebrate you that you will enjoy. Things may have to look different this year, but that does not mean they cannot be special in a different way.
There is another aspect to celebrations right now that can affect our feelings. There can be a sense of loss from the way you thought things would be right now. This may cause some grieving and feelings of uneasiness. I like to think of birthdays like a fresh start, a new year with resolutions to be made. Looking forward in this time of uncertainly may bring feelings of sadness rather than hope. It is important to recognize this and allow yourself to feel your feelings. It does not mean we are ungrateful. It just means we are grappling with the changes we are going through in an honest way. Birthdays can be a time of introspection and that can bring a variety of feelings.
Senior Concerns is offering community birthday parties over Zoom to celebrate older adults age 65 and up. These will be held once a month on the 3rd Thursday at 2pm. The next two dates are June 18th and July 16at. Anyone with a birthday that month will be recognized and anyone else can join to help the celebration. If you would like to join email email@example.com to sign up and get the link to join the party. This is a great way the community can help to make your birthday month feel special.
Find a way to make the day feel special to you. Treat yourself to a special meal, call some friends, take a walk. Take a day off from watching the news or doing tasks and errands. You have experienced so much in your life, endured so much, celebrate so much, and this is a day to sit back and relax and enjoy your memories.
Martha Shapiro can reached at Senior Concerns at 805-497-0189 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.