02A10: Birthday Blues


Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 514

It's my birthday later this month - I even pushed out my Kindle Wish List on social media in the hopes of getting gifts - my thanks to those who humored me. We've set up an online board game night with our dear FGTC friends this Saturday, but admittedly this was a bit of an afterthought that had somehow slipped my mind. 

But to be frank, I'm not 100% feeling yet. And that's understandable, we're still in the middle of a global pandemic and this month Metro Manila shifted back into lockdown. And while it's not like Tobie actually felt safe enough to even consider eating out for my birthday, it would have been nice to at least have the option to do so. Given the current conditions, it's really not possible.

But this is also the year we lost Karen, and that really hit us all hard within our circle of friends. She's the first person that I think of whenever considering asking for Kindle gifts because she would always give me a book for my birthday and I'd make sure to return the favor via her wish list in turn. It was one of the special ways we bonded. And I almost didn't publish it because it felt weird to do so without her. 

When we mapped out our game schedules for this month, I just focused on getting our ongoing campaigns scheduled and that was it. I didn't even leave my actual birthday open for one reason or another because it's not like we were going to go anywhere. We still can't celebrate at O Bar. We probably won't even leave the house regardless of what our quarantine status is going to be by that time. 

I'm going to see my parents on my birthday. But it's not because we've scheduled anything - it's just that I have a reminder to restock their medications on that day as I've been doing every month since the quarantines began. Pre-COVID I'd restock every week, but that is no longer the case. In this time of the pandemic, I still try to minimize how often I visit them in order to minimize this sort of inter-bubble contact, as the DOH is referring to it now. The family is almost fully vaccinated at this point, but we know we have to remain vigilant.

I don't know how to celebrate my birthday this year. I wasn't this maudlin about my birthday last year - or at least that's the vibe I get from my blog posts then. But this year is hitting differently. And I'm sure it's a number of factors including us still being in quarantine, the spike in COVID-19 cases, not having been able to see friends in person for so long, and all that miserable stuff. We try to focus on the positives and count our blessings but there's still so much going badly these days, it's hard to see the light all the time.

I'm not depressed or anything. I'm more largely numb when it comes to thinking about my birthday. I don't know how to answer the question "what do you want to do on your birthday?" that friends and family have or will inevitably ask. I don't feel a particular desire to do one thing over another and that's just how it is. I'll still by myself a keto-friendly cake for the day and blow out the same candle I blew last year and that's as far as my brain can process for now.

Fucking pandemic. Fucking government (non-)response to this pandemic. Fucking 2021.