It was something we all joked about, yet something all of us had to experience. I reminisce on the days that a few friends had to celebrate their birthdays in quarantine, those with March, April, and even May birthdays, while the rest of the population was sure it was only those born in the previously listed months that had to go through such a boring celebration. Memes were made, predictions were shared, but now I find myself typing, and you find yourself reading, an article more than a year later about how literally everyone had to celebrate their birthdays in quarantine.
While the other holidays were reduced to a phone or Zoom call, the hurt is not the same. We will always have another New Years, Christmas, Hanukkah, what have you, in the years to come, and they can all be celebrated the same no matter the year. But birthdays are bitter-sweet to miss out on. They mean that we are getting older, a year is being slivered off, and birthdays offer a nice little compensation for that realization: being allowed to gather and celebrate however with your loved ones. Except this year, we had to take this existential knowledge with little distraction. Further, as collegiettes, many of us might have, or will, miss a 21st birthday party. Of course, there is more to this date than I will include in this article, even if we do not consider the legal rights we get. Culturally, it has turned into a big milestone and day that we can really let loose and celebrate more than usual. It is within itself an experience, something literally “once in a lifetime.”
Of course, you probably knew all this, so let us find some kind of point to bring ourselves closure. Is there any? It does not get any more obvious than to simply conclude that no, we will never have the excuse to party like it is our 21st birthday again. We might have even lost those we would love to celebrate birthdays with in the future. It is simply not fair and that is okay to think and dwell on. What we need to take away from this, though, is something that has been circulating as memes on social media, too. We were told this quarantine would take two weeks, and we all poked fun at our friends who had birthdays in those two weeks. Even if realistically, it would have taken longer than that quick time period, there was a lot that the government and even us as citizens could have done to make the time way shorter than it was.
We need to recognize that we are all in this together, that by following guidelines, we are doing ourselves and others a huge favor. In the grand scheme of things, missing a birthday might not matter that much, but it is a little sign that by not coming together as a community, we all missed out on one day and literally one year of our lives. There is no reason to be selfish, to turn our noses up at literal science, and to put our own desires of going out before others’ safety.
Stay safe and make sure others are, too, collegiettes.