Thanks to COVID-19, 65 New Experiences for My 65th Birthday

When I first wrote this past blog about coming up with a goal, (along with a journal to record it) of experiencing 65 new things in my 65th year in time for my birthday a few weeks ago, it seemed like a stretch. Although I started out with some great NEW adventures, normal life resumed and it was a bit difficult to stack up those different, or new experiences. I started cheating a bit, writing in my list new TV shows, movies, or books I had read. Although they WERE new experiences, that was not my original intention. I wanted at least 3/4 of them to be genuinely new experiences – new cities, new finds, new haunts. You get the drift, I am sure. Be sure to look at the first blog if you really want to hear of my initial adventures and new experiences. The photo below is one of them.

When my list reached 50, I was excited, thinking that this goal was attainable, but again it was with the help of new books and TV shows and movies, and foods. I didn’t have very many new adventures to add and the well seemed to dry up with about 15 things still needing to happen.

I worried needlessly, as COVID-19 hit my city as it did the rest of the world it seems, and all of these brand new experiences resulted from this period of “self-quarantining.” This is a brand new experience, and a whole new world for all of us. Doing things differently, and experiencing things differently, is now the norm.

In fact, I hope someone in the year 2050 or beyond reads this blog to see how we dealt with shutting ourselves up in our homes, but mostly I want them to know about the things we did to continue to celebrate life and all the life cycle events we are accustomed to celebrating.

I stacked up those last 15 new experiences in two plus months of this “stay at home” order that our county imposed. Here are just a few of those things that I experienced that were brand new to me.

Lifecycle event celebrations: I experienced a Zoom Passover Seder, a Zoom Bar Mitzvah of a cousin, a Zoom and video message Baby Shower, and the birth of a new grandchild admired through glass windows.

There were birthday parades in cars with signs, and I was lucky enough to have some myself. In fact thought I was initially depressed that my “big” birthday would be during the quarantine, my friends and family found so many clever ways to celebrate me all day long on my birthday that I did not feel as if I missed out on anything. My sweet husband even celebrated me by making a special “life video” of my life (so far) as a video love letter. Check it out on YouTube at this link if you want to see the sweetest gift ever.

There were family Karaoke and Bingo nights on Zoom for other families to stay connected.

Going out in public: The few and far between times I ventured out, it was always with a mask and gloves. My walking was confined to my large yard so I could do it unmasked. Thank goodness pool season opened so I could get regular normal exercise in my backyard pool without worrying about protecting myself. I had to visit my Dad, age 93 and in an independent living place. I went there, with baseball cap on , big mask, and gloves, and stayed six feet or more from him as I measured and doled out his medicines. Each time I went to put a week or two of pills out, I walked into his apartment and frightened him as he looked at me. I looked like a robber. He’d yell out, “Who is that?” and I would tell him it was me, his daughter, all protected from the possible germs of his place. If mask wearing to go outside isn’t a different experience, I don’t know what is.

I experienced online concerts. If you know anything about me, it is that I love live music and go to frequent live music concerts. Some of my favorite acts performed regularly from their homes and so I had that pleasurable experience. It is not as if Burton Cummings is going to give free concerts from home once this is over – he is going out on tour where people will pay mega-bucks to hear him sing the same songs. It was a much better view this way too.

I experienced working remotely, managing a large staff from behind a computer. It was a first as well. All of those zoom meetings I hid my video feed as many others did. No one needed to see what sorry shape we were in for a long stretch. And speaking of that….

I went bohemian for a bit, and if you know what a very feminine girly-girl I am, this is perhaps the most shocking new experience. I love to dress up, wearing cute outfits, jewelry, accessories, and gorgeous shoes. I went from that to going barefoot, braless, makeup-less, with unpolished nails and toes, hair tossed back in a bun or a ponytail, and wearing old tees and shorts every day, I felt like a hippie. It was very freeing, until my legs and arm pits started grossing me out and I shaved, polished, plucked, and groomed myself from head to toe all at once one weekend day. It was after all that, that I made this request to my husband:

Socializing took on a new look too – three way calls, zoom calls, and driveway visits were the order of the day to have some form of social life. Usually my social calendar is full of fun events and get-togethers, but for three months, it remained empty except for the above. That was a totally new experience.

The biggest new experience was the quarantine itself. Never have I ever imagined shutting myself up in my home for a three month period of time. I did not even think I was capable of doing that. As my husband and I hunkered down, it eventually became the norm to just be in the house, day after day after day; after seeming so very odd and monotonous at first.

So there you have it. Thanks to COVID-19 (and I hate to thank that awful plague for anything) it was easy to attain 65 new experiences in time for my 65th birthday. As far as going forward, I think I will quit this kind of challenge to myself, while I have accomplished it for this one time and one time only. It is one and DONE!

And now it is your turn. For our time capsule – what new experiences can you add?

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