Celebrating my 40th birthday during a pandemic

My 40th birthday is August 5th. Birthdays are a big deal for me and I’ve been looking forward to celebrating well for a while. I started a couple months ago by cutting my hair short and adding some highlights (very effective in hiding the grays and getting some spunk back). My party was going to be reminiscent of the themed garage parties my parents used throw: a flapper themed party where sequins and costumes were strongly encouraged. The guest list was at least 60 people and the food was to be top-notch thanks to my mom coming to help me throw a a fantastic party. But then… Covid-19 blew up in Florida and here we are. What do I do now?

40th bday
photo: Baby Shower Connoisseur

I’m three weeks away from my birthday and asking God to help me walk through what it means to celebrate well and why it’s important to me. (Just for the record, I do NOT want a drive by party. Please don’t. It just isn’t my thing.) Sure there’s the fact that I have a summer birthday and often my friends are dispersed on my actual birthday so I don’t get to celebrate like those who have October or March birthdays. But, I think deep down I just want to be seen, I want to know that I’m worth making a fuss over. And, I do just really like a good party. I like others to know they matter to me and inviting them to be around my table or dancing to “Party in the USA” or “Friday Night” in our living room is one way I can let them know.

Another part of why a big party was important to me may be that my day to day life doesn’t include thought-out, delicious menus, sequins and dance parties with my friends. I like those things and would like to change gears a bit. I’m also experiencing the continual loss and lack of control that the restraints of the virus have been imposing for four months and I’m tired of it. Aren’t we all? We thought, “yea, the country is opening back up, normalcy is on its way!” But now we actually have found ourselves in FL in the worse spot yet in terms of the number of Covid positive cases.

One of my most memorable, meaningful birthdays was my 25th birthday. The day was filled with sweet reminders of God’s love, provision, presence– and lots of quality time with friends. He orchestrated the day, not me. God gave me a cute bangle bracelet that I found for 25 cents at a garage sale that day. My uncle and aunt invited me to breakfast, a friend sent me a dress, two friends brought cakes and we hung out on my dad’s back deck and laughed a lot. It was simple and I felt loved. My expectations were also a lot lower. Oh Lord, help me let go and let You delight in me on my birthday… help me not white knuckle it and try to control all the details. May I know your delight in me and let that settle my restless soul.

Yes, I grieve that my flapper era birthday party will have to wait. (I’m already thinking of  a 40 +1 birthday celebration…) but I’m looking forward, in a quieter way, to seeing what God has in store for me on my birthday.  I feel less frantic about it making it great and more peaceful about letting it unfold. Oh Lord, help me stay in this place. Amen.

What about you; what are you grieving celebrating during the pandemic? How have you seen God provide or surprise you?

And to all you who have summer birthdays or are celebrating milestone birthdays, here’s a hearty “Joyeux Anniversaire!!!!”

One thought on “Celebrating my 40th birthday during a pandemic

  1. I totally feel like you. I had a very strange 35 bday during covid and was expecting way more …
    I have kind of missed my mum’s 60 so I am totally understanding what you mean.


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