Is it just me, or has anyone else had a birthday during this Covid-19 lock-in? I like to call it a 'lock-in' rather than a 'lockdown'. I have very fond memories of lock-ins from the years BC (before Covid). A lock-in is snug, and jolly, and there's usually a sing-song - lockdowns feel like being stuck inside a scratchy jumper that's too tight around the neck.
Even though billions of people sang Happy Birthday for 20 seconds while washing their hands on my birthday last Tuesday, it felt like the loneliest day in history.
I've never been a party girl. Large groups of people have always been my idea of hell, but this week I would have given anything to have everyone I know in a room together, eating cake and playing party games.
Getting a year older in a period where time seems to have no meaning felt bizarre. I always take stock on my birthday. I weigh up the past year and make an agenda for the year ahead. This year, it felt somewhat pointless, maybe even a bit naive to make plans for the future.
Where would I like to travel to? Will travel even be possible this year? What new skill would I like to pick up? Ju-jitsu has been on my list for years, and I had just started classes when the pandemic kicked off. I have two Brazilian ju-jitsu gis and my white belt sitting in a bag in the corner of my room, gathering dust. Jungle BJJ - the club I was briefly a member of - is doing online fitness classes every night, but I don't even know enough of the basics to get involved. It reminds me of when we used to go on holidays to Mallorca and I'd watch the Spanish kids playing together in the local playground, but couldn't get involved because I didn't speak Spanish. So this year, on my birthday, I didn't bother making a plan. I broke a lot of traditions this year.
My mam is the most generous person I know. She'd give you the shirt off her back, but she'd wash it and iron it first. She asks me in February to start thinking about what I want for my birthday. There's a battle between us for who can experience more joy; her from giving, or me from receiving. It's usually a draw, because for every generosity cell she has, I seem to have inherited a receiving cell.
I love presents.
But I do not love surprises. This places me solidly in the 'difficult to buy for' category. This year was the most difficult. There's nothing like a global pandemic to give you a bit of perspective on whether yet another pair of jeans is really necessary. Being forced to spend all of my time in my house with all of my stuff has made me supremely aware of how unnecessary most of it is, and how the most valuable thing in the world right now is space.
Is anyone else experiencing clashing desire at the moment? Does anyone else want to see everyone they know, but also want to throw their phone away and not talk to anyone? Maybe it's the emotion of getting a year older, but the mixed signals I'm giving myself are like broken traffic lights at a T-junction. One minute I want empty, vacant space and the next minute I want to wrap myself in the arms of my boyfriend and kiss the faces of stranger's babies.
Room, area, territory, is what I want in the morning, but after my first coffee, I want to touch handrails and not get a worry pain in my stomach. It's headroom, legroom, yards and miles before lunch, and after that I want to queue close to strangers and have them breathe down my neck.
Run into a crowd
I want to drive far away and run into a crowd. Maybe I'm just cursed to always want what I can't have, and be the creator of my own misery.
I made myself a birthday cake because baking is what we do now. I put a coconut-scented tea light on top of it so I could make a wish. I wished for freedom and health and to be carefree. Even if freedom looks like sitting on the couch all day binge-watching Tiger King on Netflix, it feels different when you can choose to leave and meet friends. Out of guilt and virtuousness, I made my wish for everyone. I want freedom and health and serenity for everyone, not just for myself.
But because I just told you my wish now, it's not going to come true anyway, is it? Maybe wish rules don't apply when you're blowing out a tea light instead of a birthday candle.
There was one highlight to the birthday - Anna Daly, Lucy Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth and I all share the same birthday. I set up a WhatsApp group, but we're still waiting for one person to reply. That Lucy Kennedy, eh? Notions.
Sunday Indo Living