I turned 21 yesterday. Even while taking the extra precautions, I had a good celebration with family. I think I was under the impression that your 21st birthday is a milestone and that usually people go all out. So naturally, being the planner I am, I was thinking of how I could go all out while taking precautions. Actually, it ended up being a chill day, and I didn’t do anything crazy. But who knows, maybe once this pandemic is put under control I’ll plan something crazy and owe it to my “special day.”

In the long run I hope that I can learn and experience many things throughout this new decade of my life. I want to learn more about my culture and origins. Because I’m a transracial adoptee, I never grew up with the culture I was born into, and it has made me curious to further explore part of my identity as Chinese. I want to learn more about the opportunities I can discover from being a graphic design major and really fine-tune my abilities using creative devices/programs. I want to become more connected with the outdoors and in nature. I’ve always preferred to be indoors, but one thing this pandemic has made me realize is that taking precautions all the time whenever there’s potential of being near others (especially indoors) is exhausting. Being free to wander in the fresh, open outdoors is something I won’t take for granted. Lastly, eventually I want to travel once in a while— to see what there is to see beyond just me.

I get it’s hard to do the things I want at the moment, but I am hopeful for the future and know that I can try to make “something out of nothing.” This isn’t about a 21st birthday letdown, everyone is experiencing birthdays during the pandemic, and I’m here to tell you that it’s okay! Let go of expectations. No matter if it’s big or small, you deserve to have your special day.

Written by Olivia "Aurelifera" Oppedal


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