I turn 40 tomorrow and pandemic life continues. My immediate family and I all fall within the range of people who have no idea when they’ll be able to get vaccinated. I’m doing my best to show up to work every day and pretend to be productive. It’s all exhausting.

My partner and I both turned 40 during the pandemic. We did our best to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary too. It was July 31, 2020, so it happened to fall right at the start of the major second wave of COVID-19 infections here in the US. I don’t remember that day or what we did at all. Probably mostly the same thing we did July 30. Nothing, really.

My son had his 13th birthday last March. Another big milestone come and gone without being able to celebrate. No sleepovers with his friends, or even a meal out at his favorite restaurant. He turns 14 later this month. It will be the second pandemic birthday of his teenage years.

We’ve experienced tragedy too. Not really COVID-related tragedy, but the normal everyday kind of tragedy that everyone experiences in “normal” times. We lost a beloved family pet Rocky in a horrific accident. I held him as in my arms as he died, and it’s a trauma that will be with me forever. We’ve had to watch from far away as close friends and family members suffered through extreme and deadly illnesses. No hospital or home visits because of the other extreme and deadly illness floating in the air all around us.

What I keep thinking about is how compressed the difference between highs and lows are through all of this. The highest highs, like birthdays and anniversaries, don’t really seem to feel that different from everyday stuff, but the lows, they seem to last forever and can be debilitating. I hope you’re all hanging in there. ✌️