My Birthday In The Time Of Pandemic: A Milestone In A Period Where Nothing Else Makes Sense

In this time of pandemic, when deaths  are everywhere, I'm not certain how birthdays should be celebrated appropriately. I thought of just offering a quiet prayer. But in a period where human survival hangs on a thin thread, birthday is a reminder that another lease of life is granted. Thank God. I today. My wish goes to the world to curb the spread of COVID-19

I've lost track of days.

Since Metro Manila had been placed on Enhanced Community Quarantine almost three weeks ago and everyone was forced to stay at home with no work routine to fret, I haven't bothered checking dates and days.

But the third day of April is always on my card, even if calendar no longer makes sense to people who are trapped at home.

I figured, in this time of uncertainty when everyone is dying elsewhere, birthday is a relief, a reminder that we still have a beautiful life to look forward. This pandemic is a reminder that each day is a celebration of a new lease of life. So cheers!

This year definitely is not the loveliest for a birthday celebration. The world is in disarray, fear is in everyone's head and thinking of putting up balloons and blowing off candles in a birthday cake sound unfathomable. But there's still life out there worthy to be celebrated.

I've had a number of bad birthdays in the past. I detested gatherings. So I spent all my birthdays quietly and alone. I would go out and treat myself to lunch or dinner. 😛

Except in my elementary and high school days where my parents love to throw a celebration for me, I rarely have birthday events with friends or colleagues since college. Some of them did not even know when is my birthday.

But in the past two years, I have changed my perceptions. My views towards birthdays. I began to recognize its importance. That birthdays should be commemorated because it's  a reminder that every year we are given a chance to see the wonders of the world.

Life itself is a gift and must be cherished and appreciated.

Home cooked meals: 
Banana cinnamon loaf, Mango cheesecake, Thyme chicken.
Potato salad, Linguine carbonara

A week before my birthday, I fell ill. 😞

As terrible as the thought of catching the dreaded COVID-19, I began to wonder if toothache and swollen gums are symptoms of the virus. Crazy thing! But in this time of health crisis, it's inexorable to never feel anxious towards everything. Even toothache.

My two upper teeth and a lower tooth throbbed excruciatingly, so painful I thought my head would explode. Two days later, my gums swelled. 😢

Outside the house, the sun spread its hottest rays and its spiky beam teared through the wall of our living room like seethe of a log fire. The spew of midair coming through the window seared through my skin. So uncomfortable I barely moved around the house without spitting irritation.

To make matters nastier, the adjacent phase of the village, where we usually passed to the town center, was put on lockdown. Moments turned into a period of displeasure. I eventually lost appetite to work on the revision of my two books. However, I tried my best to get on with life by sticking to my vision of a beautiful world when this crisis is over.

Birthday During Pandemic

I'm grateful I survived the last three months of 2020.

It's already a great blessing to reach this far in life. Though this is quite a gloomy year for celebrations, considering the grief and fright ripping across the globe, I am grateful I survived the first three heavy months of the year..

The world really had a bad start. Disaster, plane crash, war tension and finally the spread of corona. it seems nothing good happened at the first quarter of this year. So to make it today is enough.

I cannot go out to reach out to those in need, but I am offering what I have today in prayers, to those who have none, to everyone who is suffering from the wrath of this pandemic.

May God bless them with excellent health, and that they may be protected from the disease and have food in their table. In every prayer I uttered, I am offering it to the people vulnerable to the disease, to the sick and the dying, and to health workers who are laying their lives to save others.

Each day feels like a struggle of survival. As though we are fighting an unseen enemy and each moment feels like we are walking in a battlefield teemed with dangerous scaffolds. One step away from the virus is like taking two steps away from the scaffold of death.

Confined at home for 18 days and just watched the world tallied number of deaths, as if nations are competing for the number of gold medals in the Olympics, I could not help but wonder what else to expect. The only consolation I have is that I am not part of the statistics.

It's hard to feel ecstatic when outside everything is uncertain. It's still the fourth month of 2020 but days are so vague 2019 feels like so long ago.

Linguine carbonara

I'm lucky, my sister and I are safe. Though not entirely safe as the environment we lived is unpredictable. It's a consolation we're staying home.

My brothers and parents in the province are healthy and away from the danger of catching the illness. And that's enough. I should be at peace.

So I resolved to mark my birthday with wine and cheesecake, and some more. Banana Cinnamon loaf, Creamy Linguine carbonara, Thyme Rosemary chicken, to mark my birthday. My sister prepared a potato salad.

Home cooked meals I personally prepared for my special day

Pandemic as a reminder

Hours were slow and days were dull.

Watching the world shut by the pandemic feels like hell, like I am plaiting along the valley of ruins ogling through the city of wrath, dragging my steps closer to the hole of damnation. It is just a matter of time before I would blow up in exasperation.

But when I think about the outside world, the sick and the dying, the spread of the virus, the homeless. informal settlers who don't have enough food in their table, I began to reconsider and ponder on the circumstances. 

Somewhere, someone is fighting for life, someone is struggling to survive, I am still lucky I am safe at home. I should not whine. We have food stock. I only suffered an annoying toothache and swollen gums. It is not the end of the world. A day before my birthday, the ache and swell gone. Thank God!

Watching news every day and saw the escalating number of cases of infected persons in the Philippines, it is hard to never be scared with what comes next. Not that I am afraid to catch the virus but I am worried that the ECQ might be extended if the government's assessment on the situation is below expected. God forbids!

I am literally jobless. My start date in Ateneo de Manila has been postponed due to home quarantine. And worst, the managers of the BPO company I last worked with did not approve my request to extend my resignation date to April 9.

Such a bunch of callous, ruthless, selfish leaders who are insensitive to the situation. I was only requesting an extension because it is difficult to dive into the midst of the crisis without an employer, it's not that I am bankrupting the company.

But the vindictive leaders who only bend when things are favorable to them, refused to approve as if I am some sort of an obsolete machine worthy to be thrown out when no longer in use.

Read related post about my BPO sojourn, CLiCK HERE

Anyway going to the pandemic.

Its effect is terrible, It changes everything in the face of the earth. It stops mobility of everyone across the globe. Nations are forced to bend its knees, unleashing its stringent measures to control the spread of the virus.

It is a double-edged sword to everybody, work has stop, events are halted, going somewhere is impossible.

Somehow, it has a lighter side. It keeps us grounded, forcing us to go back to the basic. It helps us recognize the essence of silence and solitude, the value of compassion. It opens our eyes who are the people who stick around us.

Fast food replaced with home cooked meals and busy office routine is traded with sleeping and eating routine. We learned to take care of our health.

As I marked my birthday quietly at home, I pondered what have I done to protect the planet, what have I contributed to make this world a better place to live in, free from pollution and cruelty against animals.

I figured, COVID-19 is not a punishment and this period is not a judgment day like some sort of Apocalypse but a wake-up call to change our ways, a learning lesson to do our part to protect our environment and respect species in the wild.

Using the motto of Ateneo education, MAGIS! Meaning to do better, to strive more to perform better. Let us help things get better for this world and for everyone as a tribute to our Creator. 

My Birthday Wishes this Year

This year, let's admit it, is not what we have anticipated when 2020 rolls in. We have bigger plans, what to do, where to go, how to live the best year of our lives, but nature and circumstances always have its own mysterious ways to remind us that we exceeded the limit.

In the time of pandemic, when the world is wrapped in uncertainty, confusion and fear, it is essential to never think of just personal gain but for everyone to be protected from the virus, to wish them safe and at peace.

No-bake cheesecake topped with Mango gelatin and mango cubes

My birthday wishes this year go to the world to curb the spread of the virus, to the sick that they may be healed and may have the courage to endure the pain, to the dying that they may be comforted with God's consoling embrace, to the health workers that they may be protected while attending to the sick, to everyone that they may stay safe and calm.

May this period be the time to ponder of our behavior towards the environment, the way we treat each other, the way we treat God's creation, the treasures of the earth. Are we doing our part to keep this world a safer place to live in?

This is an opportunity to nurture an advocacy towards the environment and nature, to think outside of our comfort zone, to be generous, to share what we have to those who have none, to empower others to follow suite and recognize God's gift.

My only wish for myself is to get away from 2020 alive. I could not ask for more. God is in control. He knows what's best for everyone. And in His time, everything can be perfect.

Stay safe everyone, maintain good hygiene and stay vigilant. We can get through this. We will be healed as one, while the environment is also healing itself from pollution. Soon this crisis would be over and we can get back to normal.

This too shall pass.


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