Relationships

What Was Your Birthday Like This Year?

birthday broad city

My birthday is this weekend, and I’m feeling…

…a little sad. My birthday usually means I’m on the dance floor with friends until the wee hours of the morning, or at the very least, having dinner at a favorite hole-in-the-wall with twinkly lights and tiramisu. We talk loudly and laugh, eating joyfully — swapping dishes, insisting everyone taste what’s on our plates, ordering bottles of wine, and sharing desserts until the place is almost closed.

This birthday will look nothing like that.

Just like everything else this year, celebrations are viewed through a lens of unfamiliarity. Nothing looks the way we expected it to look, and it can make you really sad when you think about it. Then it occurred to me that this year almost all of us have had quarantine birthdays. Whether solo, with roommates, or with families, we’ve figured out a way to make it okay, despite our worlds turning upside down.

My favorite celebration this year was my friend Emily’s birthday picnic in the park. Everyone brought a blanket and Prosecco to cheers with, six feet apart. It also happened to be the day Biden won the election, so spontaneous dancing and cheering followed, and the whole city partied together day and night.

As much as I would love to be dancing in the street, or close talking with friends, I’ll settle for a really good cake, and a slow dance. Perhaps 33 will be an “elegant older lady” year. It will definitely be one to remember.

What did your birthday look like this year? I’d love to hear!

P.S. 14 birthday traditions from around the world and which birthday cake do you like?

(Photo from Broad City.)

  1. Ivy says...

    Thirty was going to be a big one for me. I was so excited to be able to party and celebrate with all of my closest friends at my favorite shitty country/hip hop dance bar (that’s a real thing). So when the day came in April, I was feeling a little uninspired. My husband saved the day by arranging for a birthday trip around town — croissants in the park together, looking at houses in our favorite neighborhood, making friendship bracelets with my sister, eating a delicious burger, and opening gifts. He left me to be with my sister for part of the day and when I came home, he had completely decorated our garage with balloons and food! He invited a few people to celebrate (socially distanced, of course) and we ended it by having our own dance party in the garage after everyone left. It was actually a pretty special day!

  2. Kelly says...

    Happy Birthday! My birthday was in March and I’ve lived in the PNW for just over a year, away from friends and family. So I watched a movie that was released the year I was born and that I had never seen (Splash). I think I’ll make it a tradition no matter what now :)

  3. C says...

    I turned 50 in October. It was terrible. I’m a single mom and my friends are scattered around the world. All I wanted was to swim in warm ocean, and here I was in the land of cold. (How did I get here? Why did I stay? Why does a 50th birthday pellet you with existential doubt on all fronts?) I’m normally a very low-maintenance, fine-to-be-invisible, lemonade-from-lemons kinda person. And it’s not like I hadn’t seen it coming. But wow….what a deep dark hole. I turned off my phone, as all cheery greetings reached me (in that hole) as superficial and fake, the bluebirds in Snow White as the poison apple is being handed over. Late afternoon, I found myself in the supermarket with my youngest son, pricing out half-cakes in the deli. The one we picked was cheap and chocolate, with whipped cream and sprinkles. After we drove home in the dark I cut us giant slices, which we ate, sans forks, off the plates I least want broken. Suddenly the day turned extravagant, festive. I laughed through the whipped cream on my lips. My advice to you, if you’re turning 50, is to eat cake first thing in the morning. Maybe even before you get out of bed. It can be cheap cake, not baked with any particular love for you at all. Eat it with your hands. Get it all over your face. It will help.

    • Rosie says...

      Happy 50th, C! I hope the rest of the year is filled with that same post cake happiness!

  4. Adrienne says...

    For my July birthday, my family “surprised” me with a bunch of camp-esque outdoor games, like water gun shooting of the cup across the line, watermelon roll and bean bag tosses so that everyone from my parents to my 5 and 18 month old could participate. Then, my husband planned an executed a perfect seafood pasta dish that took hours to make and was delicious. My mother surprised me with a gift: my recently deceased grandmother’s wedding ring.

  5. Alyson says...

    I spent my actual birthday pushing shopping carts in the cold and rain at a “gap-fill” job after getting fired due to COVID. (32 never looked so gray.) I knew I couldn’t have the day of off so I made myself a birthday week instead :) I spent the day before working on a Pinterest cake I’d never attempt otherwise (delicious). I watched old movies that my husband hates — highly recommend Roman Vacation w/ Audrey Hepburn, The Big Sleep from the Chandler book, and South Pacific. Ate some cake for breakfast the morning of and found a sweet birthday note in my lunch box from hubby. I called my parents and talked and overall just tried to roll with it. I also started a sewing project that morphed into using the silk fabric to line a winter coat I’m making (6 months later but #pandemicdimension). Definitely took several baths while blasting my happy music.

    Us “old ladies” can party however we want. Just love yourself and know that un-birthdays count, too.

    Happy Birthday!

  6. Leah says...

    This year was the big 3-0! Pre-pandemic, I was feeling amazing about turning 30. But by the time August rolled around, I was burned out and just sad. 2020 was a year of a lot of loss and I just didn’t feel like celebrating anything. My family and a small group of local friends helped me coordinate a very fun weekend in Steamboat Springs, CO tubing down the Yampa River with a socially distanced picnic outside. We live in Denver so it was a reasonable road trip and cases were low. Everyone stayed in different places (rental apartments or campsites) so we could maintain our bubbles. It was so much fun to be outside and celebrate. It wasn’t the big blow out party I had initially planned, but it was fun and a refreshing change of pace and scenery.

  7. Emily says...

    To be honest, I had an awful birthday. It was on the day after the peak of deaths in NYC (early April) and I hadn’t left my apartment in a month. On top of that, my boyfriend (who I lived with) and I weren’t sure of the future of our relationship, as I’d just decided to go to grad school elsewhere, and we didn’t do anything to celebrate together– no presents, card, cake. It was really sad. And on top of that, it was Passover… not my favorite Jewish holiday!

    I have big plans for my birthday this year at home in Northern CA. Swimming, a walk on the beach, and a special cake from my favorite bakery. Very determined to ‘get it right’ this time!

  8. Rosa says...

    I live in NB, Canada so we’ve enjoyed a bit more freedom than some of our earthly peers during this global pandemic. My birthday falls in late July and I live on a peninsula surrounded by beaches so this year we had a small beach party with a bbq. Everyone brought their camping chairs and we parked our butts in the water with our chairs and coolers (socially distant) and ate some lobster, salmon, and shellfish. Friends showed up with their pontoons and boats and it was a gorgeous day all around. My husband and daughter’s birthdays are coming up on Christmas Eve and we usually throw a big bash a week before Christmas but that’s not happening this year. We’ll be having a family dinner with turkey to commemorate the occasion instead.

  9. Lisa says...

    I was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis and a submassive pulmonary embolism on my birthday. LOL. I laugh about it because I potentially cheated death (for the moment) as I had been dealing with sharp chest pains for several days before going to the hospital and had been feeling generally unwell for the month prior. I live an hour away from a hospital and kept trying to decide if the pain I was experiencing was going to be worth the drive and whether I wanted to face whatever medical bills would follow from an ER visit. I’m active, eat healthy and turned 47 this year but because of a variety of factors (genetic predisposition being a big one), this caught up with me. This was one of my more memorable birthdays and COVID played no part in the scenario. I can create enough havoc on my own apparently.

  10. Pat C says...

    I had a surprisingly nice birthday August 27th. I was lucky enough to score a free ticket to the grand opening of the Museum of Modern Art. It was wonderful having (what seemed like) the whole museum to myself — I mean, it was just me in front of Starry Night! Afterwards, I treated myself to some purchases at Anthropologie. My husband and I had early dinner plans to dine in the garden at Frankie’s 457, but a storm was brewing. A call to the restaurant told me that we were the last table they were honoring, and that they were packing up the other tables. At their suggestion, I cancelled and we ate outdoors at a restaurant in my neighborhood and the rain started just as we arrive home. I’ve really enjoyed (for the most part) reading everyone’s celebrations/non-celebrations and was brought to happy tears by the toddler being taught the happy birthday song. Kim, have a wonderful celebration!!!

  11. Kristie says...

    On my 30th birthday this year I started a sewing group for mums & bubs, which is growing into a beautiful little community. My friends also threw me a surprise party, which I 100% did not expect! They gave me my dream picnic rug because apparently I talk about picnic rugs nonstop hehe!

  12. K says...

    Well, my birthday was just as Melbourne announced continued hard-core lockdown (only 4 reasons to leave the house: essential work, groceries 1 x day, exercise 1hour x 1 x day, essential health/care). I work in a school and live on my own. My work besties blocked out 2 hours for Zoom brunch which was amazing. My family (in Sydney) did videos and virtual cake. Overall, it was OK, but generally sucked.
    The upside was that Melbourne’s strict lockdown meant that I was off the hook for having to be at X place in my life, as literally we hadn’t been able to go anywhere in months to meet anyone!

  13. caitlin says...

    I ordered custom cheeseburger shaped macarons from a local bakery, then drove around town and delivered them to friends and family (while masked up of course!) with party hats. That night I had a group video hang. I usually love throwing parties, seeing all my friends together and crafting a theme. This felt like a good 2020 compromise.

  14. Patty says...

    I made myself breakfast and had mimosas. My two best friends cam e by for a socially distanced walk. Then my boyfriend came over to day drink and eat pizza. I was fast asleep by 8pm and truthfully… it was my favorite day!!! I also deleted Facebook and didn’t have messages coming in.

    It was like all the things that matter floated to the top. I felt so happy to be alive.

    • Yulia says...

      I love what you said: “It was like all the things that matter floated to the top. I felt so happy to be alive.” I felt this way exactly, and am trying to capture this feeling every day now. It’s so possible, even in hard times. Thank you for writing that, Patty.

  15. Hali says...

    Happy Birthday, Kim! I love envisioning you huddle-walking with friends and loved ones down cold blustery city sidewalks after your warm festive birthday dinners. Hope this weekend brings you some kind of silver lining to cherish!
    My husband threw me a surprise zoom birthday party in May. I walked into the living room in pj bottoms and an old college sweatshirt to find 20 or so friends from all over our friend-spectrum staring at me from tiny squares. Their digital presence struck me with a sense of awe and an intense urge to hide. We spent the first 15 minutes of the party taking turns trying to get my parents’ zoom working properly. They couldn’t see us but they could hear us, and they had *zero* chill about the situation. I could tell they desperately wanted to see our friends’ faces and it was a little heartbreaking.

    It was all very cringe worthy for someone like me who has kind of intense social anxiety and who was secretly pregnant, so no champagne could lighten up looks of quieter friend’s faces as they sat there, smiling and laughing politely while my sisters and close friends tried to help my parents.

    The party culminated in a *ZOOM DANCE* which was … also memorably awkward. I LOVE dancing, but you really gotta be in SUCH a particular mood to attend a zoom dance party.

    I found out a few weeks later that the dance playlist was assembled by the guests of the zoom meeting with songs that reminded them of me. I discovered it on my husband’s spotify account while searching for a camping-road-trip playlist in the car. He explained how our friends all contributed to it and suddenly it made a lot more sense and made me very emotional. I had no idea how many people associate me with ABBA! It’s SUCH a good road-trip-dance-party-playlist, a real gift!

    2020 birthdays are certainly dark and quirky. I hope we’ll appreciate everything SO MUCH MORE when we can gather and move safely again.

  16. Catherine Hayner says...

    Jessica, I’m thinking your husband might be the child my husband didn’t know he had! Poor planning skills, projecting his own social unease unto you and your friends, oblivious as to how this will affect you, lack of follow through. Yeah, I get it. My husband is great but after almost 30 years I don’t let him plan shit. I’m sorry your birthday sucked. Next year, plan yourself an awesome weekend away and go for it.

  17. Jamie says...

    Happy Birthday! It’s totally reasonable to be a little sad. This year is so hard, birthdays really bring home just how different everything is. I barely remember my birthday this year. I had Covid in April and was still sick by the time my b’day rolled around in early May. I was also trying to keep working and look after my 2 yo. So, it’s all a blur! I do recall laughing at my expectations for the day – usually I like to do something special, but all I wanted to do this year was sleep in, shower, and go outside. And I remember being SO happy I got to do all three. Really put things in perspective!

  18. RJ says...

    My 41st birthday was this fall and it was the most memorable since I turned 25, and all I did was chat with my parents and brother on Zoom and blow out a candle on a store-bought cupcake while on the webcam. I just never do things for my birthday!

    Somehow, I hit adulthood with the idea that throwing your own party/organizing your own activity for your birthday is kind of gauche. Your birthday should be something your family/friends/partner throw for you to show they love you, right? You shouldn’t be tooting your own horn because that’s a bad look, right? It took me until I spent my 40th birthday last fall alone and doing nothing that I realized that actually, you need to take the initiative and organize something yourself (unless you are lucky enough to always have a geographically proximal partner/best friend/relative who is A) good at remembering your birthday, and B) likes to organize festivities). I’m single, don’t have a lot of friends, and my family all live at least several hundred miles away, so I haven’t had anyone to throw me a party since my 20s. Meanwhile, I’ve gone out to restaurants to celebrate the birthdays of co-workers I barely knew, so why not invite the same co-workers out to do something for my birthday? It was like it never occurred to me to do that even when everyone else was doing that. I just kind of unconsciously expected someone else to do the work, but it was stupid to expect that when no one even knows it’s your birthday (people aren’t mind-readers) let alone feels it’s their place to organize something for you when you didn’t ask.

    It’s my goal next year to coax some work friends into doing something for my birthday. We should be okay by next fall, I hope!

  19. jones says...

    My birthday was in March the week after things started to get really bad. My husband got my birthday cake the day before because he was not sure he would be able to go out on my actual birthday. We got take out and hunkered down at home. I was one of the first COVID time birthdays and now I am just hoping that I get to have some interaction with family on my upcoming one in March.

  20. Daniela says...

    You know, my birthday was not how I planned it at the start of the year but it was still really good.

    My husband and I had meticulously planned an east coast road trip and spent hours pouring over hotels, flights, etc. I did stop short at planning food and activities luckily – it was like a gut feeling not to get TOO excited. I remember at the start of the year thinking that I would be so bummed if our vacation got canceled. We held out hope until August for my September birthday before finally canceling – especially since all our planned states were on travel quarantine.

    Instead, we booked a cabin in the mountains of Colorado where we live and had some strict criteria (hot tub and grill and remote location). We spent the week hot tubbing, stargazing, hiking, grilling, sleeping in, playing board games, blasting music on the stereo system, and watching movies. It was truly wonderful and we even got to enjoy a rare snowfall in early September on my birthday! It was honestly perfect.

  21. AJ says...

    Happy birthday, Kim!

  22. Kelly says...

    My 36th birthday is also this weekend, on Sunday (happy birthday, maybe birthday twin!). It was always going to be a different birthday because it’s my first as a mom – my son was born in May. So I’m leaning into the relaxed family vibe this year. We’ll pick up takeout sushi from my favorite place that’s a little too fancy for everyday takeout and maybe get ice cream from my favorite shop. We normally do a socially distanced walk with friends on Sunday afternoons, so we’ll do that too. Very chill, but I don’t think I want more than that this year – I already feel so lucky that we’ve stayed healthy and safe this year!

  23. Jane says...

    Honestly, this year was the worst birthday ever. My birthday was March 18th, so the week (in the UK) that everything started shutting down. I began working from home that Monday the 16th and by Wednesday, everyone else had, too. My 15 month old was sent home from nursery on Monday the 16th with a fever which was still going strong on the 18th. The worst fever she’s ever had (can we take her to the doctor? we’re not supposed to as it’s a symptom, does she have Covid? what does that even mean for a baby? I cry thinking about how scared I was), the most stressful week at work as we tried to figure out what a global lockdown meant for business financing, and constant fighting with my husband who thought it was all being overblown. I think he got me a certificate to a spa weekend? Ha! and forgot to get a cake. In the end, my daughter was better by Friday – we’ll never know for sure what it was – my husband apologised and we made up and got on the same page (my page!) and it was one I’ll never forget and will make me forever grateful for all future normal birthdays.

  24. Christine says...

    Happy early birthday, Kim! I just celebrated my birthday yesterday. Surprisingly, I think it was one of my best birthdays in a while! I let myself take the day off, ordered brunch from my favourite place and ate it in bed while watching a Christmas movie. I was also able to slow down and take birthday calls and respond to texts and have proper catch ups with friends and family.
    For me, this year it has been about the little things. Even though I didn’t do anything as exciting as I probably would have done, I felt like I was able to connect with friends more than I probably would have done pre-pandemic.

    I hope you find the little things that will make your day special!

  25. Anne says...

    Oh I’d definitely like to redo my 35th birthday last May! I spent the day trying to work from home and be Mom to my 2 year old while my husband went to the office. I drove through traffic to pick up my own birthday dinner. My husband gave me a bathrobe with the wrong monogram. My sweet mother sent a birthday cake and some dear friends reached out… but it still stings a little bit to think about for some reason…

  26. Lala says...

    My birthday is on the 20th (turning 29!) and is for me very much linked to Christmas. This is the first time I have spent Christmas away from home and I’m a little wobbly at the prospect. All of my friends have left the city but I will have to stay for work, so will be spending both days with my (new!) boyfriend! Thankfully he is a great cook, and is really getting into the spirit of things… But it feels like a seismic, adult, shift!

    • Jules says...

      My birthday is the 20th too! I’m turning 36 though. :). Happy birthday, birthday buddy!

  27. Katrina says...

    Sending you the biggest hugs from Toronto. You’ll have a friend celebrating you over here on Monday.

    • Lala says...

      Happy birthday Jules!! :)
      Thanks dear Katrina, you are so kind!! <3

  28. Viv says...

    I turned 70 in August. My 2 sons & their partners- plus my husband & my 2 year old granddaughter brought pizza & OKC THUNDER cake & we celebrated outdoors on an open deck. She played in the yard & it was the best! So thankful we were all well.

    • Lauren says...

      Lovely! Belated birthday wishes, Viv.

  29. it’s on saturday. husband and i are going to Ace Hardware to buy paint. we bought a rowhome and now we’re fixing it up before we move in.

    we are painting the 2nd floor bedrooms.

    because we know how party. :)

    • melissa says...

      happy birthday fellow 12/12 er!

  30. Haley Teach says...

    My 30th birthday was in September. I treated myself to a day off work and made a nice dinner and birthday cake to be shared with my husband. I have never been a big birthday person, but it was still not how I expected to celebrate my 30th. Honestly, I did cry that day due to the shear sadness and disappointment this year has brought. I plan to make socially distant plans for my half birthday in March!

  31. Ashley says...

    My birthday looked a lot like the explanation of your night in the park.. rose, individual cheese boards for each couple and 4 of my closest friends in the park. It was lovely and perfect and I have really enjoyed the small intimate celebrations this year has brought. I usually am overwhelmed by expectations (of my own, built up in my head, not shared with anyone) and then disappointed. So this year has been perfect.

  32. Heather P says...

    This year was my 50th and it is my second birthday since I lost my husband. My two kids and I made it special by flying in a hot air balloon over the Napa Valley. It was the perfect socially distanced yet special way to commemorate. It was something that my husband and I had on our bucket list so it made me feel closer to him too.

  33. Jade says...

    My twin brother and I turned 30 this year (which felt monumental!). He is currently living in the States and I (and our family) are in Australia. We had been making plans for the past two years for a grand American adventure – afternoon sails on the Hudson River and four and twenty blackbird pies to celebrate in New York, cable car rides and museum tours in New Orleans, Disneyworld Adventures to make my parents childhood wishes come true and a cruise to the Bahamas to end what could have been a trip of a lifetime. Instead we settled for a Skype call and a care package sent with love and a promise of the biggest hug when it is safe to do so again. Happiest of Birthdays Kim! A Sixteen Candles-sequel 33rd Birthday might just be a memorable one yet.

  34. AR says...

    We should probably all just pick a day next year and celebrate our birthdays twice in 2021.

    • Haley says...

      Yes please!

    • Maryn says...

      1000000% down for this

  35. Helen says...

    My birthday (my 30th!) is also this weekend—happy birthday, Kim! I’ve had a long time to adjust to the idea of doing a whole lot of nothing to mark this big birthday. Friends have done a lot to make it feel as special as possible (distanced yard hellos even though it’s cold, rain checks for dinner when it’s nicer out, etc) and there will be cake, my husband, my dogs… a whole lot of love. But it’s a strange feeling, this year, to be okay and safe when so many people are suffering. Sending everyone love.

  36. Ali says...

    This year we had the kids plan our birthday celebrations, for me they decided on a onesie disco party with balloons and for my husband they planned an elaborate surprise which involved me having to park the car down the road and us all jumping out with confetti when he got home.
    I think they can plan all our birthdays from now on, they have the best ideas and seeing their excitement is a gift in itself!

  37. Robin says...

    This year, I took my birthday off of work. I intended to clean the house, but I quickly wised up when I realized I was home ALONE for once. (No child! No husband!) I instead spent the time day drinking and watching all of my favorite classic movies. I never left the couch. (Ok, maybe to refill.) It’s funny because we talk so much about missing socializing (which I do), but I hadn’t realized how much I miss “me time” as well. It’s so important.

  38. cg says...

    I turned 50 in May -the height of the first Shelter in Place. So many people texted to wish me a happy birthday, so many were saying how it sucked that I couldn’t celebrate big for the milestone year. But honestly, I didn’t want to celebrate big. I’ve never been that way. When I turned 40, I treated five other girlfriends who are moms (mostly young children) to a day at the spa and tea after. It was lovely to honor them as they honored me.

    For my 50th I wanted it to be even quieter, not because I felt bad for turning 50, but because it just felt right. So, my birthday was exactly the way I wanted it to be: just me, my husband, and my daughter. My parents called to wish me a happy birthday, and dropped off a gift. We took a walk around the neighborhood, ordered take out from one of my favorite restaurants, and watched a show on Netflix. I got a family hug (daughter on one side, Huz on the other), and it was otherwise a very chill day.

    • cg says...

      BY THE WAY, happy birthday!!

  39. Sad Girl says...

    I’m turning 40 on the 14th. I will be spending it alone and I’m pretty upset about it.

    I’m single, don’t have a ton of friends, not close with my family, out of shape, and unemployed since March when my company closed and I was laid off.

    I feel like the biggest loser of every metric of success and personal happiness that I should have at this point in my life and I’m trying not to cry.

    Monday is going to suck.

    • cg says...

      Just wanted to say Happy (Gonna Be) Birthday to you here. I know this isn’t much but I “see” you here, and I “hear” you here. You’re not a loser, your circumstance is unfortunate, but success is marked by so many ways, I am confident you shine in many other areas. It’s just so hard right now to shine in all the ways you do.

      “Wild Geese”
      You do not have to be good.
      You do not have to walk on your knees
      for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
      You only have to let the soft animal of your body
      love what it loves.
      Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
      Meanwhile the world goes on.
      Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
      are moving across the landscapes,
      over the prairies and the deep trees,
      the mountains and the rivers.
      Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
      are heading home again.
      Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
      the world offers itself to your imagination,
      calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
      over and over announcing your place
      in the family of things.
      -from Dream Work by Mary Oliver

    • AR says...

      Sending you some birthday love!

    • Josephine says...

      Oh Sad Girl, I’m sorry that this year’s birthday might not be the best. The optimist in me is hoping you’ll find a way to celebrate yourself. You deserve a treat. I’ll remember to send you a little love on Monday. ❤️

    • Sarah says...

      You’re not a loser!!! You are precious and the world needs you. I am sorry you are spending your bday alone, but thank you for being responsible. I wish I could throw you a party.

    • Jen says...

      Oh Sad Girl. That does suck.
      I think the operative word you said there is ‘should’. You’re measuring your life against everyone else. Stop comparing and redefine success in YOUR terms. And happy birthday!

    • Lena says...

      Im sending you all the love and light i can muster.
      My advise: Embrace the suck – this way 2021 will feel even happier and you can woo everyone with romantic and unique stories of when you turned 41. Happy birthday! Make this year one to remember, and then forget.

    • Rebecca says...

      @SAD GIRL I think that milestone birthdays have a way of kicking our asses. I had stayed at home with my kids for a long time and felt like my identity was completely tied to theirs. When I thought about turning 40 I cringed because I felt like I hadn’t hit any of those metrics of success either. But I decided to go back to school, got a challenging job where I continue to learn and am 100% happier most days. There are lots of people who don’t hit their stride until later in life! Happy Birthday!

    • L says...

      I’ll be thinking of you on Monday, wishing you a very happy birthday!
      Please be kind to yourself. It’ll get better!

    • Yulia says...

      I’m thinking of you now and will be thinking of you on Monday. You have friends here. Cry if you want; cry as much as you want.

    • Ray says...

      Ooof sometimes the cry just needs to be released. Your life has value beyond any mile stones or body Shape!
      Happy birthday from my home to yours

    • Mimi says...

      Happy Birthday! I also turned 40 this year and it was not how I wanted to celebrate either. Maybe you can get yourself some great takeout and your favorite drink and birthday treat, and then plan to turn 40 again next year (like I am planning to do).

    • Caitlin says...

      Sad girl,
      This stranger (me) on monday is totally going to have a drink by herself, likely standing in the kitchen, 100% cheers-ing to you for your birthday. Is that weird? Maybe, but I am rooting for you. I am sending you love and hope. These days are dark but I am hopeful things will get better.

    • Le says...

      Oh, Sad Girl, I wish I could give you a hug. If there’s anything Cup of Jo shows me, it’s that even when we feel most alone, there are people–strangers even–thinking of us and caring about us and rooting for us. You can add me to the list of those people here. It will get better! –Also 40 This Year

    • K. says...

      You are NOT a loser. It’s ok to feel sad, it’s ok to wish things were different, but none of this calling yourself a “loser” crap, please! You are a precious soul, no more or less deserving of joy & warmth than any other struggling human on this Earth, and I am sending you BUCKETS of love and hugs. You deserve all the beautiful, good, and tender things that you wish for, dear Sad Girl. I will be thinking of you extra hard tomorrow. You may still be feeling sad, but please know that there are people out here who are truly rooting for you! <3

  40. Stefanie says...

    I turned 40 on March 16th – the day my state went into lockdown. It was the first day of remote learning, no daycare and working remote. So the day was a hectic blur to say the least! We had been planning to celebrate my milestone birthday with family and friends on a cruise to Italy in May. Needless to say, that was cancelled indefinitely. I didn’t have time to be sad and was merely focused on trying to make it through day 1 of quarantine and also wrap my head around what was happening in the world. While the big plans for my birthday were wiped out, I told myself – who am I to compete with a global pandemic?! So I didn’t. I am looking at the positive this year and am grateful that my family (so far- knock on wood) has been safe from Covid, kids are back in school, we’ve been fortunate to still have our jobs and I am 100% certain our dog is living her best life having us home with her all day! I am also looking forward to seeing everyone with their over the top celebrations coming out of this. And a reminder – we will come out of this and we will celebrate again! I, for one, cannot wait!

  41. Chrissy says...

    Oh Kim, I can totally relate. My birthday was rather sad this year, and even though I was expecting it because of the pandemic and all, not being able to celebrate with all my loved ones still got under my skin in a way I *didn’t* expect. My wonderful hubby asked me if I was sure I wanted to forego our usual fancy dinner out (which was still allowed under pandemic SOP with the requisite social distancing, but I was too paranoid to), and then he offered to get me a lovely gift to compensate for it — a super cute Pandora bracelet with the just-released Star Wars charms, including a super adorable one of Baby Yoda. I know the man really loves me because he masked up and went to the store while I stayed home in relative safety, and then patiently fielded my many phone calls and texts asking for closeups of the charms, lol. The gift was wonderful, but I really missed being able to talk and laugh with friends and family over some yummy food, as well as blow out candles on a scrumptious birthday cake. I’m really hoping things return to some semblance of normalcy next year with the promise of a viable vaccine, but until then I have to keep the faith that we’ll be able to fete each other during special occasions the way we all deserve very soon.

  42. Stefana Dunca says...

    my bday was in april and I’d resolved that it won’t be like any other year (it’s my favourite day of the year and I LOVE the attention)and that i should suck it. I was hanging out on my balcony on the 4th floor when I hear a “Steffi!” from downstairs and 2 of my best friends were in the interior courtyard and started singing “happy birthday”. before they finished the song half the neighbours had joined in, clapping along at their windows, most likely out of excitement that something “publicly fun” was happening that they could be a part of. it’s probably going to stick around as one of my most fondest memories.

  43. Ana says...

    Happy Birthday!
    My birthday this year was a far cry from the usual dinner and drinks with friends that is usually the norm. My husband spent a lot of time teaching the Happy Birthday song to my toddler. On my birthday we had cake and she sang the song very proudly to me. It was so cute and adorable and totally out of tune and full of giggles! I guess we will catch up on the dining and drinking next year but I want to hear her sing forever!

  44. Kim says...

    Worst birthday ever for me…I found out I lost our baby at 13 weeks two days before my birthday, and I had a D&C on my birthday. The whole thing just sucked so much, and I know I’ll always think about our sweet baby and that pregnancy ending on my birthday.

    • Ingrid says...

      Kim, I’m so sorry for the loss of your precious baby. I hope you are finding strength and comfort, and that happiness is coming.

    • Paige says...

      I’m so so sorry for your loss. That sounds incredibly sad and hard and I’m just so sorry for the loss of your baby, loss of your birthday, loss of happy memories etc. I’ve lost a baby too. Sending peace and healing and that future birthdays can be both sweet and sorrowful.

    • Shannon says...

      I am so very sorry for your loss, Kim. I don’t know if this helps at all, but please know that you are not alone. I also lost a baby right before my birthday (back in 2013), and they scheduled the D&C on my birthday. Just horrible. Sending you hugs and wishing you peace on the other side of this.

  45. Julie says...

    My 40th birthday was April 13th, right in the heart of the initial lockdown. My husband had planned a big Italian feast at a restaurant with about 25-30 of my closest family and friends. It was incredible disheartening to not be able to celebrate with friends, let alone leave the house, but we made do. We ordered a fancy dinner from one of our local restaurants, he ordered me macarons, and we watched funny distracting stuff like Letterkenny. It was nice! Everyone I love, even those who contracted Covid, are healthy now and that’s all I can ask for. Plus this gives me the excuse to do a girls 40th birthday weekend with friends either next summer or the following year, whenever it’s safe.

  46. Loren says...

    My birthday celebration consisted of me sitting alone in my apartment fielding phone calls and video chats all day and opening exactly one present: a mask. It was too hot to cook myself anything so I had a tuna sandwich.

  47. Rebecca says...

    Happy Birthday Kim! I definitely had my worst birthday ever this year. I turned 38 in August and my younger brother (and only sibling) had just died in an accident in June. On top of grieving, I was also suffering from horrible pregnancy nausea so spent most of the day lying on the bathroom floor. My family tried their best to make it special. My parents watched my 3 and 6 year old, they made dinner and bought a beautiful cake but sadly I couldn’t keep a bite down! My friends also called, texted and dropped off gifts and treats which was so lovely and my husband bought me a gorgeous necklace with my kids initials on it but overall it was a hard day. I’m looking forward to celebrating 39 in a more joyful way with the happy addition of my new baby daughter who will be making her appearance at the end of March!!

    • Ceridwen says...

      Very sorry about your brother. Sometimes having the love and care of others move around you in your sadness is all you can manage. Much love x

    • Robin S. says...

      Wishing you a very peaceful holiday season, Rebecca. I am so sorry for the tragedy you have faced; that sounds so difficult. So happy you are surrounded by so much love and support… how wonderful that your baby daughter will be born into such a loving group!

    • Rebecca says...

      Thank you both so much. Your comments mean so much to me. My daughter IS lucky to be coming into such a loving and supportive family and friend circle!

  48. Rue says...

    I baked strawberry shortcake cupcakes, which was just elaborate enough to take up the afternoon, and it felt fun and festive to give myself something I normally wouldn’t have time to do but really enjoyed making and eating!

  49. Kate says...

    My kids had their 4th (two weeks into quarantine, at the end of March) and 6th (mid-November) birthdays. It meant none of the usual parties for both of them; even family gatherings weren’t possible. This was hard for me, worried about how to make it special. So, we asked our street to help – they placed rainbows in windows for my daughter’s birthday and stars for my son’s (their choices), and we did an afternoon walk up and down the street to count the rainbows and stars. Our neighbors TURNED OUT for this in ways I never imagined. They also gathered in the street for each at 6pm for a socially distanced happy birthday singing. The fire chief lives on our street, and in March turned his truck lights on for the song. In November, he surprised my son with 3 fire trucks up the street with sirens and lights. I’m sure my kids have never felt more loved on a birthday, and they would have never experienced it without COVID.

    • Gabrielle says...

      This is incredible and so moving! Can I move to your neighborhood?!

  50. sara says...

    Happy Birthday! I spent my birthday in a hospital, giving birth to my daughter.
    It was a crazy day.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow!! congratulations, Sara!

  51. My birthday was extremely low key (we ordered takeout lobster rolls and ate cake at home) but my husband knocked it out of the park with his gift. He reached out to my nearest and dearest and asked people to send video clips of what they love about me. It brings me to tears even thinking about it. He asked my parents, old friends, new friends, coworkers, my literary agent, and ended with a Cameo from one of our favorite 90s actors. I physically sobbed as he played it for me. Funny how if we hadn’t been in a pandemic, he probably wouldn’t have thought of it. It’s nice to remember the (tiny) moments of happiness in 2020.

  52. Sasha says...

    Happy birthday, Kim! I hope you have a wonderful day! My Mom’s birthday is in two weeks. We were going to drive to stay with my parents for her birthday and Christmas (after quarantining and taking a test here). But now she is undergoing breast cancer surgery today, and our plans are all up in the air (she will not be able to see her doctors if she comes in contact with people who live outside her province like us). Any ideas from other readers of how to support her from afar if I cannot travel there?

    • Julia says...

      Hi sasha, I’m really so sorry to hear about your mother’s surgery. My heart goes out to you not being able to see your mom at a time like this.
      When my sister had cancer surgery (she’s healthy and all healed up now!) my cousin sent her a bright red sweatsuit to wear in her recovery to make her smile and feel strong. If it’s not too late, I would send send her something fun like that!
      my very best wishes to your mom and your family!!

    • Katey says...

      Hi Sasha, Maybe to help support your mom from afar you could send her a little bag of wrapped gifts, notes, etc. Nothing huge…small surprises and notes of encouragement wrapped up beautifully. This way when she needs a little pick me up she can pull something out and hopefully feel a bit more cheerful and smile knowing you are thinking of her. Wishing your mom a speedy recovery.

  53. Ashley says...

    I feel so lucky that I was able to have a proper 30th birthday celebration the first week of March. I was 39 weeks pregnant and went out for a really nice meal with my husband and in laws and came home to a few friends at our house. Looking back it feels especially magical.

  54. Maywyn says...

    Happy Birthday Kim!

  55. Mallory says...

    My birthday is tomorrow. My city is on lockdown – no outdoor dining, no outdoor gatherings, no socializing, period. It makes me sad, but I’m going to do my best to lean into total cozy vibes – delivery food, candles, The Holiday on the tv, snuggled with my husband on the couch and feeling my first baby’s kicks which just started last week. <3

    • Meghan says...

      Congratulation, Mallory and happy birthday! <3

  56. Marcie says...

    My 40th birthday was March 19th. It was during the very hectic week where everything shut down. My husband had planned a surprise party for me, and 3 of my friends from out of town were going to fly in. He had to cancel everything at the last minute, and tell me the news. At the time, we all thought things would get better “by summer” so he said we would just postpone my party. None of my friends sent me anything, no gifts, no cards. I think they were all just waiting for the postponed party that obviously never happened.
    We ended up ordering sushi, and my husband got me a very fancy cake. I had a nice day in the end, but still SUCH A BUMMER.

    • Meghan says...

      My birthday is also March 19th! I had planned a road trip with my brother, which we canceled the day before he was supposed to get on the train to come see me. It’s such a surreal time to look back on – it went from “maybe we’ll just avoid the most crowded touristy locations out of an abundance of caution” to “CANCEL EVERYTHING NOW!” in the matter of a couple of days.

  57. Alex says...

    I had a wonderful birthday, actually ! I turned 35 in september. I’ve never really celebrated very much, so taking a long walk in nature with my husband and then having a delisious sushi on the terrace of our favourite restaurant was more than satisfying :)

  58. Kate says...

    This year was my “champagne” birthday (I turned 31 on the 31st day of October!)

    But last year, when I turned 30, I took myself on a trip to Paris and Champagne in France. I’m sooooo grateful I chose to celebrate my 30th in a big way and didn’t put it off! I told myself I would take a solo trip every year on my birthday but that didn’t quite pan out…but I am very lucky, I celebrated at home with treats and wine and games with my bubble of roommates and friends and it was wonderful. And just in time for my country to lock right down again.

    • Lauren F. says...

      Kate, I also took myself on a solo trip to Paris for my 30th birthday! Great minds!

  59. jade says...

    This year I turned 32 on a Tuesday in May. I took the day off from work and then baked bread first thing. I spent the rest of the day trying to recreate my family’s homemade ravioli recipe and homemade pasta sauce. Around 11:30 AM, I got a call from my best friend. “Come outside!” she said. So I look out the apartment window, and there she and her two children are, waving at me happily. They brought me a box of fresh donuts. A dozen!!! All for me. Well I shared with my husband, but this meant I was off the hook in terms of baking my own cake too! It was such a lovely happy surprise in such a strange version of a birthday. My day ended with my husband and I sitting down to enjoy my successful, homemade feast… and then a few more donuts. :)

  60. Kari T. says...

    Our son turned 3 in November. There was no party. But the best part was our small town of ~450 people threw him his own Parade! Complete with the firetruck as the finale. It was incredible and I will never forget it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that’s incredible, Kari!

  61. KC says...

    Happy birthday, Kim!

    I turned 35 in April. It was my first birthday as a mother, and we’d originally planned to take our first family trip over that weekend to a cabin outside of Sequoia National Park. But instead we took a picnic dinner to my mom and dad’s rather large backyard, sat 50+ feet away from them and chatted (which was wonderful, because we hadn’t been seeing them, and had barely left our small Los Angeles apartment until then) while my daughter practiced tummy time on the blanket. My husband surprised me by bringing along a cake without me noticing, and coordinated for a bunch of friends to surprise me and sing me happy birthday by zoom. It was actually lovely!

  62. anne says...

    Happy Birthday Kim!

    I had my 32nd birthday on the first day of lockdown here in Illinois. My family did a zoom thing, which was very nice of them, but also I was really sad. Since then, we’ve figured out different ways to make family member’s birthdays better, but mine was right at the beginning, no one was expecting to send cake or anything. I’m dreading the fact that my rapidly approaching next birthday will mean I’ve spent a year alone. I could really really use a hug. Sorry, I’m just a total ray of sunshine over here…..

    • Jenny says...

      Anne, sending you a big virtual hug, and hoping you and your friends and family can start planning something incredible for your 34th bday in 2022! Could be good to look forward to it, and you will deserve a big over the top birthday!

    • Yulia says...

      Longest hug, Anne. Thinking of you. Please (if you can) buy or make yourself the loveliest, dreamiest cake you can imagine this year! I would love a slice of that cake. :)

  63. Grace says...

    I turned 38 in October. My husband had secretly ordered chocolate cake from Republique bakery in LA to surprise me with an indulgent treat. But, he is also a frontline doctor who has spent most days and nights at the hospital in this pandemic. He texted me that he was inundated at work and was sadly going to miss the window of time to pick up the cake. I rushed in LA traffic to go pick it up myself, while taking work calls in the car. We were very tired that night, but we sat on the living room floor together, with our toddler in our laps, and we ate cake together. It was lovely.

  64. Sarah Atkinson says...

    My birthday was the end of April and I honestly don’t even remember it. I remember feeling sad that day, but now looking back I don’t know what I did or didn’t do. Even though nothing is as it should be this year, I wish I would have done something even the tiniest bit memorable.

  65. Jessica L Nare says...

    I turned 34 in April in the middle of the shut down. My husband made “reservations” for us to have a special dinner at our home. He played host and met me at the door with a class of champagne, arranged for my brother (a sommelier) to provide a virtual wine pairing, and even hand printed menus. This special 4-course meal at “petit chien” was my most memorable birthday yet!

  66. Julie says...

    Happy birthday!

    I was worried before my birthday in September. It was a Saturday so I was worried I would have too much time on my hands. I managed by planning ahead to spend some quality time with myself. I got my only pedicure so far this year, got lunch and FaceTimed with my mom (I always miss her on my bday). When I got home my husband and I went to pick up my ice cream cake that he had ordered :). We ended the night with super fancy takeout. It was wonderful!!

  67. Allyson says...

    My very calm, rational, somewhat stoic husband cried in bed the night of his birthday this year. He’s 34- not a remarkable birthday- but he was underwhelmed by the normal birthday *magic* that everyone usually feels entitled to. His sister was self quarantining and didn’t come by, even in a mask. No one got him a card (and I failed to have our 3 year old make him one. That’s totally my bad). It was very sad and very understandable. This year sucks.

  68. My birthday was the first week of April. I remember thinking “at least my 30th won’t be in quarantine!” (next year), but now I’m feeling less hopeful about that… this year, my friend set up a picnic in the park and sat 10 feet down the table from me. Honestly, it looked like a bachelor date – fancy charcuterie, a vase of flowers, bottle of whiskey… I would love to be together with my favorite people for my next birthday.

  69. Megan Lec says...

    I turned 30 in May and had imagined a big barbecue with friends celebrating my husband and my birthday (we both turned 30 in May) as well as our little one to be who is now here! While things were very different my husband and son treated me like a princess all day and I made the explicit request that ALL meals be delivery thus saving myself from dish duty for a day. As many others have said, I plan on 31 being a celebration to remember.

  70. Raquel says...

    My bday is on December 31st. If there is a person who thought they wouldn’t have a quarantine bday that person is me. And now things are shutting down in Cali and we are going back to sheltering in place/lockdown/full quarantine/can’t take this anymore but so so necessary.
    My celebration will be a mix of champagne, cake, wine, whine, hope, wine, tears of joy, tears of sadness and gratefulness (and wine)!

    • Ana says...

      Mine is on December 30th Raquel. I am the last of my family. I remember saying to my son that his birthday *might* be in lockdown on May 22. But surely we would be out for his brother’s on July 12th. Not to be. Also in Cali and just wish people would shut down properly so we can do what other countries have done in managing it! Happy birthday to a fellow Capricorn!

  71. Sage says...

    I turned 28 in July, and we got the keys to our first home that day! It’s been good to us so far; lots of space for our two year old to run around and throw toys everywhere, hahaha. (His new thing is telling us “No, I HAVE to play” when we point out it’s bedtime.)

    I love celebrating birthdays, my own and others, but this is only 1-2 years in the grand scheme of things. We’ll get through it! And speaking as a hypochondriac inundated by COVID news… I’m just really, really, really happy to still be existing and having birthdays at all.

  72. Happy Birthday, Kim!

    On my birthday, I socially distance walked the beach with a friend and then took myself out for take-out breakfast from Urth Cafe solo. I sat on the edge of a park in Laguna Beach eating and watching kayakers in the ocean. I generally have mega-anxiety on my birthday while receiving all the happy birthday texts and Facebook posts so I actually was glad not to have to see people or do anything.

  73. I turned 40 and cried long and hard.

    I live in Oregon and our most beautiful forest burned down that week so it was rough. I had planned to walk the El Camino in Portugal, but clearly Covid had other plans. My fiancé is an angel and work with all as best he could. There’s a lot to still be grateful for but holy hell.

    I’ll cash in next year and double my time in Europe.

    • marcella says...

      El Camino is great you will love it when you get to go :) I only did 5 days of it (From Leon ~ Ponferrada) and it was amazing. I studied abroad in Sevilla 5 years ago and met up with a friend during spring break. We would wake up and be on the road ~8 am, stop for lunch around noon, keep hiking til 2, then check in at an albergue and chill for the rest of the day, and kick our legs up! every night we would walk down to the local tiny store and make dinner and drink wine since it was 2 euro a bottle ;) hope you enjoy it. also.. I see now you are doing the one in Portugal not Spain!! Lol. either way it will be amazing!!

  74. Sheila says...

    My birthday was earlier this week and felt very… odd. I don’t think I know the vocabulary word to describe it properly. I felt sad and weird in the morning, then much more satisfied in the evening.
    My spouse was traveling (which was stressful on my nerves for obvious reasons) so I didn’t spend time with anyone. Fortunately I didn’t end up feeling alone, just a bit lonely. I did chores and read a lot of my book, then ordered an indulgent meal from The Cheesecake Factory for pick-up! Watched it with a Hercule Poirot DVD series I’m borrowing from the library :)

  75. Kelsey says...

    Happy birthday, Kim! My birthday is March 7. It fell on a Saturday this year, and my husband and I went to eat at a tiny, woman-owned restaurant I’d been wanting to check out. It was delicious and fun. But there was also a sense of something looming–we wondered if we should be there, but in DC, where I live, there hadn’t been any public health announcements or restrictions at that point.

    In June, the restaurant closed permanently due to the pandemic. I’ve thought often about how we sat there, imagining coming back and bringing friends, and how little we knew. But I also treasure that memory as I gear up for what will almost certainly be a much more pandemic-y birthday in 2021!

  76. I turned 30 in May at which point NYC was still totally shutdown.

    Honestly it ended up being a weird blessing in disguise as I didn’t have to spend all that time stressing about planning a party and the perfect celebration. Did my best to do some of my favorite things — a Zoom workout from my favorite studio and takeout brunch from my favorite place. Throughout the day I ended up doing Zooms with various groups throughout the day. Not the 30th birthday I planned (I originally also had Hamilton tickets for that day). But it wasn’t awful.

  77. Lauren says...

    My own birthday in October was a nonevent, which is just the way I like it: I got a bunch of pierogi delivered from our local Ukrainian diner and called it a night.

    My dad’s birthday this Sunday, on the other hand, was a whole thing: he turned 70, and my two sisters and I had been planning for years to meet up with him at the family cabin we’d been visiting since childhood. Since that was out of the question, we had a three-hour Zoom that combined a Sherlock-Holmes-themed online escape room that we completed together and a hot sauce challenge (so as we puzzled over the game clues, my sister’s watch kept going off and we had to tuck into a total of 10 bottles of spicy stuff). It was a tech-enabled version of exactly how we would have spent an evening together in person, and man, I know how lucky I am to have ended that chat and thought, “I could have done three more hours, really.” I see you and you can’t take this away, 2020.

  78. Veronica says...

    I had the worst birthday ever this year, and my birthday is in February (so pre-COVID in the US). I turned 30, and literally everyone but my husband forgot my birthday. I was in the middle of an intense depression and I just lost it the day after my birthday. The good news is, I am in a much better place now, and everyone will probably forget I *could* have had a blowout this year, and they will forgive me for trying to really go big for 31 or 32 (I’m not that hopeful on things being resolved in February, so 32 may be more realistic).

    • Shayna says...

      I had the worst birthday of my life. It was March 22 – the week the world seemed to stop turning as everything shut down. I had just cancelled a much-anticipated trip to Austin to see my BFF and go to a concert at Willie Nelson’s ranch that she won tickets to. I was still recovering from a horrible illness that left me bedridden, exhausted and scared to death I had COVID (testing was not available at that time). I was anxious about returning to the office where social distancing and masks were not happening and got into an argument with my boss trying to convince her to let my staff and I work from home – I was just a mess, anxious and sobbing. My husband and I got into a fight. So. Yeah. Onward and upward, fuck you 2020. Happy to have survived this year and celebrate brighter times in 2020.

    • Sheila says...

      Oh, dear. I’m sorry that happened. Birthdays always feel like such a pressure—I simultaneously hope that someone will throw me a big party and that it will just be a low-key day! I can never decide which I’d rather have! But some acknowledgement, at least, by loved ones is the least I’d expect. I’m glad you’re in a better space emotionally now. Happy belated birthday :)

  79. Sacha says...

    Happy birthday, Kim! I turned 32 in November and, while it wasn’t the worst birthday, it was a pretty deflating day. My family wasn’t big on birthdays growing up, so now as a single woman who lives alone, I plan celebrations that honor what I need each year. Between 25 and 30, that usually meant a small party in my own style (at my 26th, a friend in his 30s stood by the fireplace sipping wine and eating homemade apps and remarked it was the most grown-up he’d ever felt). Last year, I flew myself to Paris for a solo trip after an especially underwhelming dating stretch.

    Needless to say, I was pretty stumped this year, with a forecast in the low 30s, my family 1400 miles away, and dismal COVID numbers here in the Midwest. I started the day with a croissant (a nod to past/future travels), took a masked walk with a friend, did yoga, ordered takeout, and chatted on the phone with everyone who called to mark the occasion.

    A gentle reminder for anyone celebrating: It’s your day; do what you need–including setting boundaries. While it was nice to hear from everyone (it’s easy to feel forgotten when quarantining alone), the conversations inevitably turned to the pandemic. I alternated between comforting those struggling and explaining to those who didn’t understand how bad the situation is/was here, why I was celebrating the way I did, and why I wouldn’t fly home for Thanksgiving/Christmas. I didn’t realize how emotionally draining it all was until I woke up the next day feeling completely hungover (without a drop to drink) and very grateful for the quiet solitude of my apartment. I would have savored each call if they’d been spread out over a week, but the marathon was truly exhausting. In hindsight, I wish I’d politely ended each conversation after 10-15 minutes and scheduled another time to catch up.

  80. marcella says...

    my birthday was this Sunday and yep.. was kind of dreading it. It’s hard to feel like I didn’t accomplish much this year (even though I paid off some student loans!). I turned 27 and feel like time is going by too fast! ha. I had a nice day where I decorated the tree and listened to Christmas jazz, and facetimed a couple of friends. It was low key and I honestly feel better now that it’s over, lol

  81. Jasmine says...

    My best friend and I (a fellow COJ enthusiast) were born within a few days of each other so we always do joint birthday celebrations. This year, we moved out of our city apartment to spend the pandemic with our families but we met up in the middle of our hometowns in DC and spent Halloween (smack dab between our bdays) with two other friends for a hike and dinner at an outdoor pizza garden (yes these exist!!)! It was different from our usual celebrations but still lovely to spend it with a close-knit, small group and be outside.

  82. Eliot says...

    My birthday was in October and it was definitely different. I had an important career moment that day – presented at my first international academic conference. I had planned to be in Europe for my birthday because of the conference so I was definitely a bit disappointed to be sitting in my bedroom. But it was still a success! Then I met up with some friends at a park and we sat 6 feet apart, ate homemade macaroons, and just chatted. Our university has incredibly strict pandemic guidelines (which I’m grateful for), so none of us had seen each other in person since March! That made the most mundane get together feel really special.

    • Eliot says...

      Also, happy birthday, Kim!

    • Sage says...

      Congrats! You must have worked hard to get to that point. :)

    • Brianna Glenn says...

      Congrats on that big milestone conference! I’m sure that was incredibly disappointing to have to do it online but major kudos to you!

  83. Meghan says...

    Happiest of birthdays, Kim! You are someone so worth celebrating and rooting for. My birthday is on Tuesday. My partner and I rented a yurt just north of where we live in Algonquin Provincial Park for two days. (Eastern Ontario, unceded territory) We’ll cook, snowshoe, x-country ski, drink wine and play games. Feeling so fortunate to enjoy the great outdoors.

  84. Anna says...

    I turned 25 in September and it was definitely a disappointment but it made me decide to make my birthday special for myself each year. It was just a normal day of caring of our 3 month old while my husband had remote classes for grad school and work all day. After putting the baby to bed I made myself my favorite cake- my grandma’s chocolate zucchini cake! Next year I will buy myself a gift, wear a fun outfit, have a special lunch or dinner, do something I love like hiking or a sewing project and make a chocolate zucchini cake!

  85. Scarlett says...

    At the beginning of the year, I imagined that I would be spending my 30th birthday dancing and drinking with friends. Then I found out I was pregnant, and a couple of months later came quarantine…. so, no dancing or drinking. Instead I spent my 30th birthday 8 months pregnant on our back porch in the shade of a hot August day sipping a La Croix. It’s not what I pictured but it was nice, regarless. My husband went to Word Market and picked out a bunch of things that he thought I’d like and gave it to me– bath oil and salts, chocolate, and a bottle of wine to enjoy when after baby was born. He nailed it!

  86. Julie D. says...

    Hi Kim, first happy birthday to you!
    My birthday was a month ago , which meant here in Montreal that I could not see anyone outside of my household… First my kids and I had a countdown to the big day with a song we made up (we did it for all of us) and on the day, they jumped out of bed at 6 a.m. to sing the 0 sleep left song, which was the best!
    I dressed up for myself (glitter skirt and fancy earrings!), did zero chores (not even the dishes, which is pretty rare with 3 kids!), spent most of the day talking on Zoom/Teams/Whatsapp with my parents, in-laws, friends I have not seen in a long time instead of working (hope my boss does not see this), opened a package from my parents, got fancy chocolate cakes delivered courtesy of my brother, and a nice dinner + drinks and more cakes and presents with my hubby and kiddos. It was very sedentary but nice, and surprisingly not lonely! Also made plans to go to London with my mom for my 40th in two years… =)
    My brother and sister in law’s birthdays were back in October when it was still ok to gather outside and we went hiking and had homemade brownies and presents at the halfway mark… it was pretty so fun we may do it again!

  87. Liz says...

    My birthday is this weekend, and I’m so excited for it. I’ve organized an online cooking class with a dozen friends and family members across multiple states and countries. I’m craving the opportunity to have shared experiences with friends again — anything more than just another zoom happy hour — and with this class, we’ll all get to learn how to make tahdig together and eat the same things at the same time, even if we’re all in our own kitchens. I’m not usually a big birthday person, and had kind of expected to let it pass without fanfare. But a silver lining of all this is that I’m going to get to gather my friends from the UK and all over the US at the same time — which would never happen on my birthday in a more normal year.

  88. Annie says...

    I felt sad as I approached my birthday (October 31) but I ended up having a wonderful time – my partner and I took a trip to an AirBnB on a goat farm. We hadn’t gone anywhere together all year and we had such a relaxing, rejuvenating weekend of hiking, cooking and lounging. He also led a little birthday ritual for us and it felt really special. Normally I’d have a party but I appreciated a more low-key vibe this year!

  89. Annie says...

    I turned 29 in June, so I’ve been spending the last year of my 20s cooped up in my flat. I live in London where lockdown has been pretty strict, so there was no meeting up with friends for outdoor celebrations. I was actually supposed to be on the coast of Spain for the whole week over my birthday swimming in the ocean, exploring old cities, tasting Spanish wines, but that was all cancelled. However, I was very happy on my birthday. I made the decision that I was going to be happy and enjoy the day despite not doing any of things I had planned or would have wanted to do. So I took a long walk to buy myself gelato, ordered sushi for takeout and shared some wine with my husband, and I was a happy camper :) We’re all in this together!

  90. J. says...

    My birthday is March 13! The day a national emergency was declared and when a lot of people began quarantining. I wonder if it will be associated with the pandemic in the coming years. My birthday was going to be fairly quiet anyway, just dinner with my now-husband and we were going to go to the symphony which got canceled. I insisted we do curbside takeout, I think the restaurant we were planning to go to was still open for indoor dining but I wasn’t into the idea of that right when things were getting serious (and we still haven’t done anything other than takeout). We told them it was my birthday and they included some nice chocolate with our dinner. I wore the same dress I had planned to wear to dinner, just at our dining room table. :)

  91. katie says...

    I turned 35 in June, a month after having my first baby. I was pretty apathetic about my actual birthday because I had already experienced such a huge and life-altering identity change, but it was still nice to celebrate with two friends and my husband by spending time at a local outdoor winery. It was my first time seeing them in months and so much had changed, but it was such a great breath of fresh air.

    • Amber says...

      Katie, I turned 35 in June as well, 4 days after my son turned 1! So I don’t actually remember my last two bdays, haha. 34 was spent in a postpartum haze, and 35 was shortly after the big first bday blowout (which consisted of just my husband, son, and myself at home, but lots of balloons, cake, presents, and zoom calls). I literally asked my husband how old I am the other day, as I seem to have skipped these last two bdays.

  92. gk says...

    i celebrated my 40th birthday on the day this post was written! when we started the year, before covid hit, my friends and i had talked about taking a girls trip somewhere this year since most of us were turning 40. covid killed that dream, and one of those friends died in april – a few months before she turned 40.

    as it was, my birthday yesterday was quiet and celebrated with immediate family (luckily, my parents live with us). my mom got me a “birthday girl” pin to wear for all my work zoom meetings. my husband made me a veggie pot pie and got me cozy clothes to wear. my 6 year old made me a card, insisted on noise makers, sang happy birthday to me 3 times, and told everybody on virtual 1st grade that it was my birthday a million times. i finished the day by watching schitts creek. it was a quiet birthday, but a good one. although not what i had imagined, i am grateful to have made it another year.

    kim, i hope your birthday is filled with cozy joy and cake :)

    • Sasha says...

      I am very sorry about the loss of your friend, GK.

  93. Shizuka Otake says...

    “So what kind of day(s) do I want to create knowing I’ll be holding them in my memory forever? ” What a great way to think about your birthday and other celebrations during this time. I love the way you’ve framed this and found some agency.

  94. Kimmie says...

    I live in Laguna Beach, so my 28th birthday was just an outdoor dining (per CA guidelines at that time) small lunch with family. After we did a short walk to a nearly stranded beach and played with my 8 month old nephew in the sand. Not the Disneyland trip I had planned, but still special and intimate with the people I love.

  95. Clare says...

    Steamed Crab Legs @ home – different, special & crazy easy (just have something to crack them with!)

  96. Erin G. says...

    My birthday (in July) did get me down for all of these reasons. But, my (now) eight-year-old’s birthday was just yesterday and it was really sweet and perfect. We did a tiny drive-by party of his couple best friends and grandparents and everyone ended up chatting from their cars for half an hour (so happy to just be socializing). We made a pretty incredible cake at home and his favorite dinner. The last few hours of the day were just him, his dad, and I talking about how fast these eight years have flown by. He went to bed with a new book and a smile on his face. I had the thought that adults sad about their pandemic-birthdays should take a page from the kids and just enjoy what is…

  97. jen says...

    I went on a walk on the beac and it was stupendous. The beach has been my savior this year. There’s nothing better than sand and salt water. It was a little sad that I couldn’t see any friends but I saw family. It’s the little things!

  98. Liz says...

    It was April, and everything was still really scary and locked down. I turned 30 and had settled for Indian food take out, but my boyfriend snuck my parents and brother and sister-in-law (who came straight out of the ICU as a nurse bless her) into my backyard for distanced pizza. I wasn’t even aware how sad I was to not see my family on my birthday until I got to see them.

  99. Catherine says...

    Turned 30 on April 1st… I was the first of the quarantine birthdays celebrated in my circle, so we really didn’t know what to do. We ordered food, ate cake, and popped some champagne. Definitely mourned the multiple trips AND the night out that were supposed to happen. However, as weird as this sounds, it makes me feel a little better that so many have now had the same quarantine birthday experience. When it seemed like it might be just me, I felt lonely. But now, we’re all in this together! I’ve had four other best friends all turn 30 this year too. So on to 31!

  100. Ella says...

    I went for a hike with my husband and dog, enjoyed my free birthday Starbucks, ordered a nice dinner in and had a few thoughtful gifts dropped off by friends and family.

    It was my 30th and at the beginning of what my area is calling “code red”. My husband’s 30th was less than two months earlier and it was sad to reflect how much worse case numbers had gotten between his birthday (where a small outdoor distanced gathering was possible) and mine.

  101. Maha says...

    Happy birthday, Kim.
    I also celebrated my 33th birthday this Sep. i celebrated mine with my husband. We spent the night at a hotel, had a movie marathon (something you never do with kids) and had fancy dinner on bed, wore a new lacey Pj’s and soaked an hour in the bathtub. It was one of my best birthdays ever.

  102. Meg says...

    I just wanted to say, I love this post and the thread of comments so much. It makes me feel less alone. We’re connected by this shared experience, for better or worse. I often think about how people in future generations will view this pandemic when they look back and I think this thread is a great peek at what life was like for many of us experiencing it.

  103. Kerry G says...

    My 35th birthday was in June. My husband, dog, and I rented a cabin in the Methow Valley in Washington. It was so special to be able to get away from the city and the news and take in the beautiful setting. We hiked, cooked, drank wine, played card games. It was one of the best birthdays! However, it made coming back home and facing reality so much harder!

  104. Maria Rowley says...

    My birthday was on a Thursday in May and my friends had planned a bike parade for me for the weekend, but sadly my precious Yiayia (Greek for grandma) died in LTC that night after contracting Covid 19. We hated having her there but my mom had had her own health struggles and was in the hospital in March/April and we couldn’t do it all. It was so early in the pandemic so we never got to visit her or say goodbye. We were devastated.

    A few weeks later, a few of my closest girlfriends surprised me with a mini backyard birthday for me/memorial for my Yiayia. They wore Toronto Raptors jerseys in her honour (her team) and sipped red wine through straws (her fave). We ate cake and laughed and told our favourite stories about her sassy self and it was perfect.

    • Kathy says...

      What a beautiful memory and way to honor your Yiayia. I’m so sorry for your loss, but glad you had the chance to memorialize her.

    • Laura Miller says...

      Maria- Those are GREAT girlfriends. Keep them forever. What a gift. Very sorry about your Yiayia- sounds like she would have loved your celebration of her though. Just perfect.

  105. Erin says...

    Happy birthday Kim!!
    Welp, my birthday is two days before Christmas. I have to admit, I’m already feeling pretty down about it. My husband has a grueling work schedule and can’t take the day off as in years past (everyone is clinging to their jobs in this Covid economy), and I’ll most likely be charged with wrangling our 3- and 4-year old girls from 8am-8pm. I love my kids but I also enjoy some ‘me’ time on my birthday, and given that I can’t even really get out of the house with them due to Covid and living in the artic tundra (kidding but pretty close), it all feels very anti-climatic. I’m hoping for some nice homemade cards, maybe a messy boxed cake, and a special bottle of bubbly. We’ll just try again next year. Thankful to be healthy.

    • Brianna Glenn says...

      Hoping for an unexpectedly wonderful day for you! Wish there was a way to safely get your address–I’d be happy to send you a homemade card. :) Happiest of birthday wishes to you!

  106. Elle says...

    I live with depression so one of the most helpful practices was for me to adopt the practice of telling myself upon waking up each morning that, “Every day is my birthday”. For whatever reason that keeps me going day to day. It is, for me, a surprisingly effective lens through which to look at the day and highlights the ability to make each day valuable and to actively find joy in that, which I am able to do and that has actually been one of the gifts of depression. For that reason the actual birthday is less relevant but I normally try to celebrate my self somehow. This birthday I received a magnificent bouquet of very deliciously fragrant roses in a stunning color (a gorgeous ‘rose’ color), from my mother. A huge surprise because my mother and I have a terrible relationship. But it was a lovely gift.

  107. Dana says...

    Just gonna be honest. My birthday sucked. I turned 40 in May. Instead of enjoying some sorely needed “me time” on a fun trip with a couple of friends, I found myself stuck in the back seat of a van driving across the country with my husband and 3 kids to shelter with my family. Drinking wine out of a can while my baby slept in the car seat. Scared and stressed out. I am grateful for our health, for the roof over over our heads, and many other things. But I am bummed about my 40th birthday! Hope this means I get to make a big deal over turning…I don’t know, 42?

  108. Joanna M says...

    My 26th birthday was on 8/26 (golden birthday!). In a normal year, I would have taken a trip with my dear friend and birthday twin, Jill. Alas. Instead, I went for a 26km run (~16 miles) with my quarantine buddy and ate lots of the delicious treats that my lovely friends around the country sent me. Capped it off with a trip to Jeni’s for free ice cream (pro-tip!!)! It was not the golden birthday I imagined, but I tried to make the most of it.

  109. Megan says...

    Mexico City! (It was January.) Ask me again in a month! :)

  110. Genevieve Martin says...

    Aw sorry Kim I hope you enjoy it!
    My dad’s birthday is on Saturday. I text him this morning asking what his plans are and he said “dunno probably just stay in bed.” He really isn’t a dramatic person usually but I think England lockdown/ restrictions are starting to get to him now :( (at the moment it is literally illegal to socialise indoors with anyone outside your own household and, yeah, December in England is not ideal for picnics)
    anyway we have agreed to meet half way for a walk (we live about 3 hours drive away from each other).
    I’ll bake him a cake and I hope it will cheer him up a bit!

  111. Megan Johnson says...

    I sincerely hope you have a relaxing, lovely, albeit different birthday this year Kim! My birthday’s in a few weeks, and normally I’d have a really low-key dinner with my family–or do nothing at all! But this year, I decided to “go all out,” which for me means renting an Airbnb about an hour from where we live in a quieter, more nature-heavy area (if we were any closer, I’d be tempted to run home and do a load of laundry or something, ha!), dropping the dogs off with my mom (so we can sleep in!), and exploring trails and going kayaking with my husband. We’re planning to order meals from a bunch of new-to-us restaurants and get a cake from Whole Foods. This year has made me celebrate every little thing–when our daughter completed her science project, for example, we made hot cocoa with all the fixings and dipped cookies in it :-) So maybe that’s the silver lining of all of this–slowing down and settling into a more “elegant older lady” way of life. I for one am excited!

  112. Hannah says...

    Oh I feel this! My husband and I both turned 30 this past May/June. We had such big plans to host a huge 30th blowout – a sort of “last hoorah” before becoming parents and leaving our 20s behind. Wellllll, obviously that didn’t happen, and honestly I don’t even remember how we celebrated.

    But you know what? Who says you can’t have a huge 31st birthday party?! We are planning something even better for this year, complete with our new little baby sidekick and a renewed appreciation for those in our lives we have been missing this year. I think our 31st will be all the more special and celebratory because of the weirdness of 2020.

    Sending love and the best pandemic birthday wishes.

    • Laura says...

      Ha! Just chiming in to say, my brother chose to get married on my 30th bday….clearly not bitter at all ;) but I did go all out for my 31st and it was one of my most fun birthdays yet!

  113. Layla says...

    Oh no, 33 is still super young. Very far from ‘older lady’!

    • Cymbidy says...

      My thought exactly! If only we could always see ourselves from the perspective of 10+ years in the future, we’d always feel (relatively) young!

  114. Eleni says...

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

  115. Yulia says...

    Mine was in March just as the quarantine was really taking off. I cancelled a trip to see my family, drove a few hours north to New Hampshire, hiked my favorite trail alone all day, came home and had beef stew, mashed potatoes, wine, and cake (all of which I’d prepared the day before), and went to bed feeling tired, full, and happy. Now I’m contemplating not going home for Christmas, and what makes it easier is knowing we’re all in the same boat. These choices we make about how we spend our days are organized around what is available to us in this moment. It can be sad because it’s hard, but it’s hard because it’s different. The way I am thinking about my (next) COVID birthday and Christmas is that I will probably remember them vividly for the rest of my life. So what kind of day(s) do I want to create knowing I’ll be holding them in my memory forever? It makes it easier, somehow, to think that these days alone will someday be special stories about my resilience, my delight in life, my enjoyment of rituals, and my love for myself.

    • Capucine says...

      Hi March birthday person! Mine was in March, too, and it was weird, but pleasant. All the stores were shut down, so no presents, but my husband picked up indian food from the restaurant I was going to go to with my girlfriends and my kids were thrilled so it was all to the good. But weirdly quiet, for sure!

    • Kimmie says...

      My sister’s birthday is March 1st, so it was the last big event we had before CA went into full lockdown on March 14th. We had noooo idea what was coming just 2 short weeks later!

    • D says...

      Another March birthday here! Mine is the 12th, and we did go out to dinner…but we kind of knew that a lockdown was coming. So it was weird, and I recall sitting at dinner wondering if we made a bad call in being there. There had been a party planned with friends, but I canceled that part. This upcoming year is my 40th… and as the months roll by, I realize the trip with girlfriends (3 of us turning 40 within a month of one another) is not happening, but am debating how I want it to actually feel. I now know that we’ll likely still be quarantined, and am trying to focus on how I want that big 4-0 to feel. I don’t think going out to dinner matters as much, and perhaps focusing on my intention for the upcoming year will shape my vision.

    • Yulia says...

      By the way–happy birthday, Kim! I’m so glad you’re around on COJ and that we get to hear how you’re doing and what you’re thinking. I really enjoy you. :)

  116. Sarah Gagliardo says...

    I celebrated my birthday this year (35) with friends on a Zoom call, where we all gave PowerPoint presentations on whatever we wanted. It was a hilarious 2 hours, with presentations like the following:
    -Ranking Wes Anderson movies by how much I would like to wear the hats
    -Why breakfast food is sexist
    -Grease 2 is the superior Grease
    -Ranking my irrational fears (none of these should be scary)

    It was a great time to be silly, and now we are all hosting a Holiday edition!

    • Becca says...

      Amazing! Now these are powerpoint presentations I would actually want to watch.

    • Megan says...

      I love this idea! Thanks for sharing!

    • Becca says...

      This is so clever! What a fun idea!

    • Katie says...

      Wait, why is breakfast food sexist? Don’t leave us hanging!

  117. Dina says...

    I’m a summer baby, which is preferable to being a winter baby only in pandemic times – normally, with summer travel and weekends out of the city, it’s hard to gather a group. This year, I invited just a handful to celebrate with a seafood dinner outdoors, and then was surprised by a champagne toast on the pier. Honestly, a wonderful b-day – all things considered.

    • constancesuze says...

      I’m staying the process of living alone in NYC and having my first job this year, which has been hard. I just decided to forget it was my birthday and have a passably nice normal day, which worked. I say by the Hudson and read a book. Late July.

  118. Jessica Melindy says...

    The line “We talk loudly and laugh, eating joyfully” actually made me choke up. I miss that so much.

  119. Sinem says...

    My birthday is also this weekend; 12th of December and it is my 40th birthday. At the beginning of this year, I used to imagine myself being 40, in a little dress, partying , drinking , not even close to being “old”. As a courtesy of life to me , I will be eating a box of chocolate and watching Succession for my birthday party. We are healthy at least, that is enough for this year. I don’t count 2020 as a part of my history due to this horrible pandemic we had, I will be celebrating my 40th birthday again next year.

    By the way: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOOOO YOOOOUUUUU :)

    • Brianna says...

      We are birthday buddies! :) Happy birthday to you!!!

    • Sinem says...

      @Brianna Happy birthday to you too :)) It will be the best year for both of us

  120. Lola says...

    This September I turned 30! I usually hate celebrating it, I prefer to just have a nice dinner with my husband(he’s a great cook) and play board games, so this year was a blessing because I could do just that!
    Plus this year it was three days before our (small, outdoor, socially-distanced, right before the second wave where we live) wedding (we planned it so I wouldn’t be pressured to do a big party).
    Overall it was nice… and as much as I hate my own birthday parties (I like other people’s parties! I like no-occasion parties! I just hate the pressure of “having to do something special” on my birthday/nye), I’m actually looking forward to being able to throw a low-key birthday/anniversary party in the years to come:D

  121. Joanna says...

    My birthday this year was only 3 days after my dad died of Covid and my mom and aunt were still ill with it. So the day is a big blur in my mind. Thousands of miles away, I was also coming out of the disease. The day was sad and peaceful and it confronted me to accept the passing of time and life… I remember talking with distant loved ones on the phone and being loved by my family bubble. And that’s it.

    • Genevieve says...

      So sorry for your loss Joanna

    • MC says...

      Sorry for your loss.

    • Sinem says...

      I am so sorry for your loss Joanna :(

  122. E says...

    I was in bed with covid. I started showing symptoms the night before my birthday and by the next day I was sure I had it, but didn’t test positive until two days later. I moved in with my parents because I was laid off due to covid, so on my birthday I was in isolation unless I needed to go into a shared space and then I was masked, keeping a distance, and cleaning everything touched (thankfully they didn’t get it!). It definitely didn’t feel like my birthday, but it was nice to receive texts throughout the day knowing others were thinking of me. I also received a few gifts from friends in the mail, which was so sweet and felt like a hug.

  123. Kristin says...

    Happy birthday, Kim!

    My 40th is in early January 2021 and I am just honestly thankful to be alive, healthy, and have a great apartment and husband. Living in Manhattan throughout COVID has really put things in perspective. I would have liked to have a big party but whatever. Sitting on the sofa with my husband and ordering in is good enough for me. As long as there are more birthdays, I will be happy.

  124. Sabrina Elisabeth says...

    My 24th birthday was on Nov 30, in plain second total lockdown in Austria. No friends, no family, just me and my mom, I spent the lockdown with her. But then! my boyfriend who stayed in our apartment in Vienna 4 hrs away took the train, walked (with his suitcase!) an hour through 3 villages to come to my mom´s house (so that no one would be suspicious, he didn´t even ask my mom to pick him up even though it was snowing and freezing cold). I was on the phone, lamenting to a friend about how lonely I was, celebrating on my own. And at that moment, just like in a cheesy romantic comedy, my boyfriend put his hands on my eyes from behind! I kid you not, I was screaming out of excitement! And to top it off, my aunt, little cousin and grandparents came to the garden, everyone with those expensive extra safe face masks, my granny made her famous chocolate cake but in form of muffins so that we could eat it even with distancing outside, standing in a huge circle. They put their presents into the middle of the circle so I could open them while they were still there. So in the end it was such a beautiful, touching, heartwarming, really short but sweet birthday celebration. I did cry a little when I was back inside! Not to speak about the cute birthday cards I got mailed, one of my best friends studies art and design in France and sent me the most creative, quirky, personalized fanzine. I felt so much love, even though the distance was there… really, it was special!

    • h says...

      How beautiful! What wonderful thoughtful friends and family. Happy Birthday! And to Kim as well!

  125. Sara Hagen says...

    My birthday was in June. It was my 67th. It was quiet. My best friend lives 3 thousand miles away. My son wished me a happy birthday, and friends on FB wished me a happy birthday. We were in lockdown so no gatherings were allowed.

  126. Lauren says...

    My birthday was the week after my dad’s funeral. It was a beautiful, sunny, cloudless day and me, my mum and my brother walked into the town centre from my parent’s house in the suburbs. We bought hot sauce from the Chinese supermarket and then walked home. My friend organised a zoom birthday call where everyone had made a round of quiz questions related to me. I felt very loved but still wished they hadn’t done it and I could’ve just sat quietly in the night and gone to bed. I feel ungrateful thinking that but still so glad I have these people who love me. Complicated emotions I guess.

  127. Kay says...

    My birthday this year was probably my most challenging in memory. I’m big on birthdays—it’s like your own personal holiday!—so it was really difficult for it to be so lacklustre. I had an eight-week-old infant and was totally exhausted. Three weeks prior, my partner, son, and I had moved to occupied Palestine, so we knew pretty much no one and had no idea where to find the right ingredients for my favourite cake. We had leftovers for dinner, a really mediocre cake to substitute my favourite, and were in bed by 8 pm knowing I’d be up 2 hours later to feed the little one. My partner’s birthday is the day after mine and I try to use it as an opportunity to celebrate how wonderful he is. I only managed to pull together a birthday card from our son. We were both so knackered, so lost in the newness of having just moved countries, and lacking options because lockdown had just started that nothing special happened at all.
    All I can hope is that the next one can only be better! And I’m going to plan ahead and import what I need for King Arthur Baking Co’s Coconut Cake recipe (it’ll change your life if you haven’t had it!).

  128. Sera says...

    I literally do not remember.

  129. Coleen says...

    There was a tropical storm on my birthday, May, this year. It rained heavily and winds were strong. Our country was on lockdown. Ordered food for lunch but it arrived late. I still worked from home for several hours because I was beating a deadline. Late afternoon, electricity was down, but thankfully it was restored before midnight. As I am in mid-life, I now want to celebrate my birthdays according to my preferences. I could be alone, be with friends and some family members or travel.

  130. Alice says...

    I’m lucky enough (first time I’ve ever said that) to have a January birthday, and as it was my 30th, my boyfriend whisked me away to Venice for 36 hours (I’m in London so this is really achievable), and then had drinks with a big group of friends when we got back. It literally feels like a different aeon!
    I’m expecting my 31st to be dinner at home, just the two of us. Lovely, but when this all kicked off I never thought that would be happening. Happy birthday for this weekend, Kim!

    • Lindsey says...

      Venezia for the weekend — how dreamy! <3

  131. Tess says...

    My birthday is at the end of September, which was a few weeks before Germany went back into semi-lockdown, so I was able to celebrate a little bit.
    September ’19 to September ’20 was a really, really hard year: we moved very suddenly from the city where we thought we’d be living in forever and have had a very hard time meeting new people and making new friends where we live now. Right before Covid-19 hit I was so stressed out about family drama, my daughter having a horrible time in her new kindergarten, and crushing loneliness, that I was hospitalized with what seemed like a stroke (it was stress…). Going into lockdown was actually really good for me in the spring; my daughter wasn’t in kindergarten anymore and you feel less lonely when you’re not the only one sitting at home all day.

    This year, I gave myself the best present I could imagine: a day in the city with 3 of my closest girlfriends, who I’ve missed so badly since the move. I felt my heart heal and store up energy for the next months of lockdown. This birthday was the best one yet.

  132. Amanda says...

    My 45th birthday will be Christmas day. It also is the first Christmas I haven’t spent with my parents (and first in 40 years with my sister). I know I’m super lucky (or crazy) to have had so many together up to now but it does feel very weird. We’re in Switzerland and new measures are expected this weekend that probably mean we won’t be going to see friends either. Working on making it feel cozy with just our 4.

  133. Chazha says...

    Celebrated my 40th on the 8th August under lockdown. I had asked for flowers as gifts so my tiny flat smelled divine and I drank Bollingers straight from the bottle whilst dancing to Erc Clapton! Bliss

  134. Bianka says...

    Happy Birthday Kim!
    My birthday was in April when Germany was in its first full lockdown. I made lemon drizzle cake and was ready to drop it off on everyone’s doorstep when my friends showed up one after the other for a socially distanced cup of coffee and cake on my terrace. They had set up all the timings so that one was ready to go when the next one came and I even got to see the people who usually would have been at work. It was a lovely day after all and made me so grateful for the lovely people in my life!

  135. Hannah says...

    Wishing you a fabulous birthday, pandemic be damned!

    I celebrated mine about a month ago. Usually, I plan a big themed party (the year before we dressed up as seniors and had a bingo night, the year before that we had a fancy casino night, …). This year, I bought a ton of cheese at the nearby farmer’s market, and stayed in with my husband, eating cheese. It wasn’t like any of my previous birthdays, but it was still lovely.

    Now, I’ve developed a lactose intolerance. My year is going great. ;D

  136. Eve says...

    It’s my birthday next week and I’m definitely feeling sad about it! I knew I wouldn’t be able to see friends or family as my husband and I live in Scotland and they are all in England, so instead we booked a stay in a beautiful hotel in the Scottish highlands with dinner and a pregnancy massage. However we now can’t go as our local area in Tier 3 which means we aren’t allowed to travel. It is frustrating as our Covid cases are actually low and we qualify to move down to Tier 2 which means we can travel, but our first minister is being extra cautious as she is worried about Christmas causing a spike in cases. I’m really sad to be missing out but equally I would rather have leadership who is over-cautious than under-cautious, and I do keep reminding myself that almost everyone has had a rubbish birthday this year! So we have rebooked our stay for my birthday next year (!) and this year I will make the best of it – I’m thinking a dog walk, a takeaway and a bath with a magazine which isn’t so bad.

  137. Sarah says...

    My husband and I both turned 40 this fall. We had always planned to have a large joint party, which was obviously out. He planned a truly lovely dinner prepared by a chef friend on our back deck surrounded by space heaters with three of my closest friends. My kids helped serve and it was honestly wonderful. His 40th 6 weeks later was tougher, as more lockdown restrictions were added heading into the holidays and the weather was significantly worse. I ended up arranging a zoom cocktail making class hosted by one of his closest friends, a longtime bartender, and to my surprise it lasted more than 4 hours! Lots of laughs and a few unexpected hangovers. His 40th could have been better but definitely could have been worse! We’re planning to have a big party whenever it’s safe to do so – whether that means we’re 41, 41.5…at this point, who knows, but we’re up for whatever. :)

  138. A says...

    In 2019, my son was born weeks early just two days after my birthday. This year, our shared birthday weekend meant gathering with family and a few close friends in our neighborhood park for a sweet little masked-up party with individually-wrapped snacks and lawn chairs spread far apart. It wasn’t the first birthday party I imagined, but 6 months into COVID it felt… normal? Just tonight our “pod” gathered to celebrate a birthday with cake and wine and masks and heaters on the deck in 30* and after the sorrows of this year, those moments feel like true blessings.

  139. Rosanne Powell says...

    I turned 50 in September, and it was bittersweet. My father passed away a few days earlier after contracting Covid. The air was had an index quality of “hazardous” due to the wildfires in our area at that time, and we could not be outside for more than a few minutes. (I live in the Pacific Northwest). I started the morning in a dark place, but my husband and daughters knowing I was celebrating a milestone birthday with a heavy heart went to great lengths to spoil me. My oldest friend who lives out of state had brunch delivered and I was showered all day with FaceTime dates, flowers and notes dropped at my door. It was not at all what I had been planning, but it was lovely and tender and just what I needed.

  140. Mei says...

    My husband’s birthday was the same day (when we got the news Biden had won!) 🎉🎉🎉 For both his and my birthdays we had a normal day with just family, time enjoying the outdoors, plus takeout food and dessert. I’m wondering how to make my son’s birthday special. He’s turning 3 and is forming his thoughts on these sort of things! Too young to feel like he’s missing out but old enough that it feels like it matters! Right now I’m thinking videos from friends, a big present (balance bike!) and balloons, and lots of sweets (he wants cupcakes).

  141. Katie says...

    If you were alive this year to celebrate another year of your life, count it as a good birthday :)

    • Shannon says...

      100 percent agree! <3

  142. Jenna says...

    I turned 41 last week, right after Thanksgiving. My partner will be 40 next week, right before Christmas. All the expected spikes in cases meant that we planned absolutely nothing. A drink at home, a nice bar of chocolate, a day away from work doing what we wanted. This year, that felt like enough.

  143. Ellie says...

    My birthday is March 4th, and I was swamped with work – we had a very big mass participation event on March 8th. The county went into a state of emergency and it was very stressful because I work on the communications side of things – so much uncertainty and worry all around. I worked late and then sped home to go out for Mexican food with two friends. I remember the cocktails and the food; I had no clue it would be the last time I ate in a restaurant for this long! We sat down to watch a movie and my friend and I both fell asleep on the couch. I woke up around 1 am and said goodnight to her. She left the next morning without saying goodbye, thinking we’d see each other again soon. Had I known it would be my last chance to hug her for months I’d probably have stayed up all night chatting!

  144. Katrina says...

    It was in April. I ordered a charcuterie board and painted and watched whatever series i was on. It was quiet and i just ignored the world.

  145. Jess says...

    I actually had one of my best birthdays this year. I made a list of my favorite things and just did them all: ran, dressed up, fancy brunch, manicure, art museum, wrote a letter to myself out my life now and how I want it, made a flower arrangement, bought myself some earrings, answered birthday calls, napped, went out to dinner with my best friend (quarantine buddy) and then we carved pumpkins and watched Evil Dead (my birthday is the day before Halloween). Highly recommend doing this – birthday or no.

  146. A says...

    I considered my birthday forfeit this year. It was the weekend after George Floyd was murdered. My city of LA was in flames with voices raised, helicopters pounded overhead every hour of every day, the pain and angst was so utterly palpable. It was not a time for celebrating.
    My “pod” friends were out of town and had forgotten my birthday and I sincerely wished I could forget it too. It felt like a punctuation of what a wretched stretch of months had already passed, a kind of bitter and shameful reminder of how much I had taken for granted before in the “normal times”. I bucked up by offering to match $1000 in donations made by friends and family to Black-led organizations that benefit Black communities. It helped bolster my hope. Maybe it bolstered someone else’s too. That’s the most I could ask for at the time.
    As far as birthdays…. it was certainly memorable.

  147. JK says...

    Aww. :( Sorry this was how your birthday went down, and sorry you’re feeling so down about it. With so much anxiety this year, I think we’re all looking for bright spots, and looking FORWARD to those bright spots–so it seems extra disappointing when these things just go wrong. Be gentle with yourself, and I hope you find a lovely way to make up for it!

  148. Mary says...

    It was my 30th last month, and instead of being on an epic trip overseas with friends, I celebrated over the course of the weekend in a city I would never have expected to have been in, with a boyfriend I met during the pandemic, with friends I had only just met. It was unexpected and different and while I couldn’t help but mourn the plans that would have been, it was still special and beautiful in its own way.

  149. Sheralyn says...

    Happy birthday in advance! I turned 31 in May and we were in lockdown in Singapore, so I couldn’t see anyone in person except my husband. Nonetheless I kept getting deliveries of flowers/cake/wine all day from my dearest friends and family that it still felt really special. Cherry on top was getting takeaway from my favourite restaurant with a nice bottle of champagne at home. Hope you find ways to enjoy the day albeit in a different way this year :)

  150. Alex says...

    happy birthday, Kim!