For me, birthdays are a big deal. It’s the one day a year where you can feel extra special. A day where you’re important. A day to celebrate you. So this year I had it all planned. Why not celebrate thirty in Vegas? We had it all booked, there was going to be 8 of us going down to Vegas and we were meant to leave tomorrow.
Then COVID happened.
The world stopped. And so, naturally, the trip had to be cancelled. There were flights to be cancelled, hotels to be cancelled, excursions to be cancelled. It was an awful feeling letting go of a weekend that I was so excited for. One that I had been looking forward to for months. I’ve never been to Las Vegas before so it was going to be the trip of a lifetime. Letting go of that in favour of people feeling like they were going to be able to remain healthy and avoid the fast spreading virus was important to me, but I struggled for several days before making the call. I’m glad that I did when I did because at least the choice was mine, not the government’s (as would have been the case if I’d waited a week).
Giving up Vegas has left me with a lot of feels. Especially staring down a milestone birthday that I don’t feel ready for. Ringing in my thirties surrounded by people I care about was really important to me, and that was taken away rather suddenly. It’s hard not to be a little bitter about it. And really, I am a little bitter about it. But at the same time I’m trying to be grateful. And I am… Kind of. I’m grateful that no one who was to be on the trip is sick, I’m grateful that I’ll still get to go on my trip at some point, and I’m grateful that things aren’t worse than they are where I live.
So I’m trying to practice gratitude this week, when I am looking at the things that were and are important to me falling away. I still hope to make a big deal about my birthday this year, and will probably spend much of it reflecting on my twenties and thinking about what I want my thirties to be. Hopefully I’ll be able to celebrate with friends on Zoom, have a beer and maybe some cake with the people who are important to me, even if it’s from a distance.
I’m disappointed that I’m not going on my trip for my birthday this year, which feels like a massive understatement, but I’m hopeful that it will be made a big deal of in light of the disappointment. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in the next few days!
So let’s address the elephant in the room. There is a pandemic going on right now that is causing many of us to self isolate. In fact, that’s probably why you’re reading this now (or you like me! You really like me!). But anyways, while caution and following instructions are important, we really aren’t in the panic stage yet. Here’s what I mean:
People all over the country are stocking up at the moment (myself included to a lesser degree) but there are some who are going to great lengths to buy up a year’s supply in toilet paper. Fairly unnecessary and leaving those of us who actually need it without. I have 2 rolls left people, this is not a drill. So how am I spending my day tomorrow? Searching all over the city to try and find some toilet paper instead of staying safe in my apartment.
Next up: the employers who aren’t covering lost wages when they are shutting down unexpectedly. Here is something that really bothers me right now. I mean, if you’re a small business that’s one thing. I can understand a little more that you wouldn’t be able to handle the losses and cover the wages. But there are several larger companies (CoughFlamesOwnershipCough) who are instead insisting that they don’t need to cover the wages but will make a strong fuss about being supported by the community when the organization needs something. This is just wrong, and more people need to speak out about this. EI isn’t going to be able to cover everyone.
Much closer to home, a lot of theatre shows are cancelling or postponing. My own show had to make the difficult decision to postpone until the fall (hopefully) to do the responsible thing and not gather people unnecessarily. Its hitting hard. People are losing work, and not a small amount with all the corporate events being cancelled globally, there is a lot of technicians and designers who are going without work. Theatre companies are looking at huge losses. If there has ever been a time to support your local artists, here it is. But the theatre community is strong in its support of each other and I have seen people step up and offer assistance to those who may not have cushions to fall back on, the gathering of information for those who may need to apply to EI, and even just lending support and strength to the administrators who are having to make such difficult calls.
Amongst all of this craziness, I have seen some truly wonderful things happen as well. From housebound citizens in Italy singing with each other to keep up morale, to people within my own community offering to help the elderly and those who have compromised immune systems stock up on groceries and run errands to avoid public transportation. People are really stepping up, and that is what keeps me thinking that things are going to be alright.
So keep calm and healthy out there.
What has been your experience with COVID-19 so far? Are there any signs of wonderful humans in your life to share? Let me know in the comments! (And as always, click like and follow the blog to get the latest. It really helps me out!)