Re­al­iza­tions on one’s quar­an­tine birth­day

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Content -

Ispent my birth­day on lock­down. I'm no spe­cial snowflake. An es­ti­mated 21 mil­lion oth­ers share my birth­day, and more than 1/3 of the world pop­u­la­tion or more than three bil­lion peo­ple from 70 coun­tries have been on lock­down due to Covid-19. If we put to­gether birth­days from mid March to end of June and di­vide that by a third, that means around 480 to 500 mil­lion peo­ple have spent their birth­days dur­ing the lock­down. My quar­an­tine birth­day was un­usual in many ways. I spent it in our condo, whereas on nor­mal days, I would spend it out of town. I watched a na­ture doc­u­men­tary whereas on nor­mal days, I would be swim­ming in the sea. I re­ceived an unusu­ally high num­ber of home­made food de­liv­er­ies from lov­ing friends, whereas on nor­mal days, Face­book greet­ings would be enough. I thought I'd be cel­e­brat­ing my "Dirty 30" do­ing some­thing else—most likely "wal­wal" in a

bar with my friends. The world had other plans. On my 30th year on earth, I treated my­self to a cup of steaming hot masala chai, pray­ing that the lock­down would not be ex­tended and we could fi­nally have some sem­blance of nor­mal life.

Af­ter­noon de­light in the form of masala chai

I brew my tea in a pur­pose­ful man­ner. I boil hot wa­ter, add milk and some spices: cin­na­mon, star anise and saf­fron. When the pot comes to a sim­mer, I add Dar­jeel­ing black loose tea leaves for a few min­utes be­fore I pour it onto an in­su­lated metal teapot. "That sure is a lot of work," my mom said one time. My par­ents have no­ticed how I’ve in­creased my kitchen time as of late. Nor­mally, I would prob­a­bly just steep a Twin­ings teabag in hot wa­ter in haste. Or more ac­cu­rately, I would just go to the down­stairs CBTL and or­der one chai latte to go. The faster, the bet­ter. But I have all the time in the world now. I'm not do­ing things just for speed or con­ve­nience. I'm do­ing it with pur­pose. It's a self-love rit­ual. The end prod­uct, the masala chai, is my daily af­ter­noon de­light. A cou­ple of my friends have found their chi in knead­ing bread, bak­ing choco­late chip cook­ies or mix­ing cock­tails. My slightly over­achiev­ing friends have found com­fort in daily cir­cuit train­ing prac­tice at home. What­ever rit­ual you've found, keep it. Make it your thing. These lit­tle rites reaf­firm us and nour­ish our soul, do­ing won­ders to our men­tal health. They re­mind us to ap­pre­ci­ate the lit­tle things, fill our senses, ap­pre­ci­ate day by day and be con­scious of how we spend our pre­cious hours. I hope that dur­ing the GCQ, we won't for­get our self-love rit­u­als. We might not re­al­ize it, but these rit­u­als have prob­a­bly saved us.

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