A Quarantined Birthday and Self Love Rituals

A QUARANTINED BIRTHDAY. I spent my birthday on lockdown.

I’m no special snowflake, this story hardly deserves headline real estate at all. An estimate of 20.8 million share my birthday(1), and more than 1/3 of the world’s population(2) or more than 3 billion people from 70 countries have been living under lockdown due to COVID-19. If we put together birthdays from Mid-March to end of June collectively–and divide that by a third, that means around 485 million people have spent their birthdays during the lockdown.

My quarantined birthday was unusual in many ways. I spent it in our condo; when on normal days I would spend it out of town. I watched a nature documentary; when on normal days I would be swimming in the sea. I received an unusually high number of homemade food deliveries from loving friends; when on normal days, Facebook greetings were enough.

I’d expected celebrating my dirty 30 doing something else–most likely walwal in a bar with my friends.

The world has other plans.

On my 30th year on earth, I treated myself–not with a shot of tequila–but with steaming hot masala chai; while praying that the lockdown would not be extended and things would get better.

Homemade Masala Chai | Twenty20 by @senkonelly

Afternoon delight… in the form of chai

I am purposeful when I brew my tea. I boil hot water, add milk, add some spices: cinnamon, star anise, and saffron; and when the pot is simmering, I add Darjeeling black loose tea leaves for a few minutes before I pour it into an insulated metal teapot.

“That sure is a lot of work.” my mom said.

In normal times, I would just douse a Twinings teabag on hot water in haste. Or more accurately, I would just go to the CBTL downstairs our condo and order one chai latte to go.

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… I have a body clock that attunes me that it’s time to brew my tea. It’s a self-love ritual.

And the end product, the masala chai, is my daily afternoon delight.

A couple of my friends have found their chi in kneading bread. Others found their peace in the form of homemade cold brew cocktails. My slightly overachieving friends, found comfort in daily circuit training practice at home.

Whatever the ritual you found, keep it. Make it your thing.

These little rites reaffirm us and nourish our soul, doing wonders to our mental health. These rituals remind us to appreciate the little things, to fill our senses, to appreciate day by day, and to be conscious of how we spend our precious hours.

Cebu City announced its ECQ will be lifted and GCQ will commence on June 1st. My birthday wish granted.

I hope when we’re back to the new normal, we won’t forget our self-love rituals.

We might not realize it, but these rituals had probably saved us.

Uncorrelated Thoughts by Rachel Arandilla


(1) – Reader’s Digest – Can You Guess How Many Living People Share Your Birthday?
(2) – Express UK – Lockdown: Which countries are in lockdown? How many people?


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