I love birthdays, even quarantined ones

September 28, 2020 10:59 AM

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A soccer ball, Hydroflask water bottle, basketball, and various snacks inside a chalk-drawn square. Photo courtesy of Lauren Choy.

A soccer ball, Hydroflask water bottle, basketball, and various snacks inside a chalk-drawn square. Photo courtesy of Lauren Choy.

I’ve never been much of a morning person… 

The birds that sound like a sweet melody to my brother echo in my head like a screaming baby when they wake me up. For me, it’s the pounding headaches I face whenever I oversleep that always motivate me to painstakingly drag myself out of bed. 

My mom cut my hair the other day. She cut it to my shoulders — the shortest it’s ever been since the bowl cut I wore in 1st grade. 

I was tired of my long black hair going all the way down my back in the middle of the summer, making me WAY too hot. The ease of tying my hair back in a tiny ponytail makes things much easier, and I realized if I hated my haircut, I'd have months before going back to school anyway… 

I miss my friends. I used to hate the overwhelmingly busy schedule I had before quarantine, but now that it’s over I want it back. Quarantine has shown me that I didn’t realize how much I loved certain things until they were gone. 

But food can lift my spirits in a matter of seconds. 

No matter what. 

Well, food and exercise. My quarantine life has basically turned into a perpetual routine of eating and exercising. 

Exercising relieves me from any and all of the stress and responsibilities that surround me. Whether I’m with my teammates or not — I live by basketball and soccer. Just like my friends and family, sports also remind me of who I am. 

Sometimes I feel like quarantine is taking that away from me, but talking with my friends and family and exercising enables me to be myself every day. 

Yes, I miss being on the court or field with my teammates. Nothing can replace that. But sometimes I’ve learned that quarantine life is all about doing what you can. 

So on some days, I run, read, snack, train, write, watch TV, eat, learn… 

And other days I just relax and do … well, absolutely nothing. ;) 

Entry 2:

Describing this day as a rollercoaster is an understatement. 

Compared to my usual quarantined days of staying at home, today was a drastic change. My thoughts were flowing like a rapid river, and I actually got out of the house. Twice!

This summer, my family and I were supposed to go to South Korea. In Korea, we get to see family, visit places and eat DELICIOUS food, but my favorite thing about going to Korea is definitely the beach – the spectacular sunsets, soft sand and calm oceans. 

Today, I went to the beach. It will never be quite as great as Korea, but it was extremely relaxing. I swam in the water, laid in the sand, and what seemed like a blissful eternity later, my mom reminded me it was time to go.  


I didn’t want to leave. Just then I remembered, I was going to see two of my friends! For the first time in a couple of months, I was meeting up with them. 

Seeing each other for the first time in forever was weird but exciting, and my excitement nearly clouded my judgment. I wanted to hug them! But I couldn’t because COVID-19 is unfortunately still a thing. :(

I hear many people telling me how the pandemic that has punctured everyone’s lives can often bring on a bitter-sweet sort of vibe. But I often have trouble seeing beyond the bitterness —t he ugly truth that it’s taking lives, jobs, education, etc. gives me little reason to look positively. 

The fact that people are losing their lives to a virus, getting targeted because of the color of their skin… 

Thinking about this makes me sick to my stomach. The inequity that exists within American society is so deep and flawed, the holes need to be patched now more than ever. 

Nevertheless, seeing my friends for the first time in what felt like years reminded me of the bittersweet part of the pandemic. Also how lucky I am –– I don’t have to worry about any of the real bitterness that the pandemic creates. 

I often make the unimportant problems in my life seem … humongous.

Just like how the little problems can feel big and important, every seemingly insignificant thing you do to help the injustices in our world also matters. Together, all the tiny steps add up to something great.

“It’s the little things that matter most.”

Entry 3:

Today is the big day! Or, well…the day before the big day. Tomorrow is my brother’s birthday — a day that is very hard to forget. Not just because he’s been counting down the days for the past month, but because I love birthdays. 

Birthdays are fun. 

And his birthday is my second favorite birthday. After my own, of course. :) It can be sad to have your birthday during quarantine. You can’t go anywhere, see anyone, or do practically anything. But I am determined to make his birthday the best one he’s ever had. Birthdays are really special to me—they serve as an opportunity for all people to feel appreciated, and absolutely everyone has one. 

Birthdays are special. 

I find it funny that your birthday is such a major life event, but no one can even remember the day when they were born themselves. That’s what makes my brother’s birthday so special to me. I have vivid memories of the day he was born a little more than a decade ago — the excitement that filled me up and leaving school to go see him.

This year, I ordered balloons and streamers to decorate the house with. We are going to make a lemon cake for him. Compared to the usual cakes we make, this feels quite simple. In the past, my mom has made sloth, truck, superhero cakes and more! But I am often only responsible for eating these cakes, which are probably much harder to make than I think. Tomorrow is going to be fun, but I’m already tired from such a long week. After all … birthdays are exhausting. 

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