Material things mean nothing.

Anyone else meant to be saving money in isolation but actually just can’t get off Amazon? My birthday has just gone, a birthday in quarantine, like many people all over the world right now, I had no expectations. The outcome; a truly amazing day with my family and friends, all sensibly distanced from one another, I found myself craving a hug so much more than that Tofu Press I asked for. (Not that I didn’t love it, because I’ve clearly reached that age where a tofu press is incredibly exciting!)

When we look back on birthdays of the past, we rarely remember ’the birthday I got that ring’, instead, we think ‘that was the birthday I got blind drunk and got carried like a patient on a stretcher’ (just me?). Anyway, you see what I’m saying, but for me, this has been magnified in isolation.

‘Things’ don’t bring me happiness the same way they did previously, which led me on to think…was the whole reason we ‘needed’ these things in the first place because of other people, not ourselves?

Don’t get me wrong, I have been working on figuring out what I want for a long time, things get so mish-mashed between what you think you want because of influence and what you truly want. My birthday made me realise this. I am the sort of person people miss. When I say miss, I don’t mean miss being around, I mean, don’t often notice or see (I’ve once actually been sat on, I’m that invisible!). I have had a few birthdays where friends have forgotten, or people have let me down. But this birthday, I honestly haven’t felt more loved by my friends and family.

I got calls, Facetime’s, Facebook messages, pictures shared on stories to beautiful music which made me cry, friends show up for me in a way I’ve not had before. So why, in a time where people feel like they have nothing, do we find it within our hearts to give everything, but at a time where we have everything, we flake out. Let me explain my birthday to you. 

A few weeks ago my sister, Luci, came home from living with her boyfriend into isolation, and then sharing the room with me at my Grandparents. I got woken up with a celebratory ‘It’s your birthhdayyy’ in a sleepy, yet enthusiastic voice. I step outside the room to find little notes from Nanna saying ‘Happy Birthday Tia’ and ‘It’s your birthday!’ all cellotaped to the doors. I walk into the living room to find Luci and Nanna have made a ginormous paper cut out hanging from the curtain poles that say in big capital letters ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY TIA!’. I ran over like an excited 3 year old for a photo, just repeating over and over, ‘It’s my birthday!, Happy Birthday me!’.

I sat down at the table and started to open my cards, some from loved ones across the world that never forget our birthdays. We burst open the Bucks Fizz, and Nanna prepares the biggest most tastiest vegan full English. YUM. We sing, and drink and laugh and play music. I open my gift from Nanna and Poppa (The Tofu press, I talked about earlier!).

After that I spent the next couple of hours dolly-ing myself up (first time in a long time I’ve actually popped on a winged liner and a body suit), and proceeded to learn TikTok dances for a few hours with Luci, I loved just being silly and spending quality time with her. I had family friends bring me presents and call throughout the day and before I knew it, the day had wizzed by fast, and soon it was time to head to my Mamas.

My friend Emily told me a few days prior she was going to drop off a pressie for me, and then I receive a text from my boss that she’s going to do the same. I stood in the street outside my Mums house, with my Mum, Boss, and best friend.

In all honesty, initially it was just bizarre seeing people in the flesh after weeks of a virtual version of them. I was so happy, I was basically just an emotional wreck and all I wanted to do was excitedly fling myself at them and thank them over and over for just showing up for me.

Isn’t that just the absolute best thing in the world? When someone takes the time, energy and effort to show up for you?

We stood in a large circle by the road side, all chatting, and for a split second, everything was good again, normal again (almost…if it weren’t for the 2 metres apart from us all).

I spent the rest of the evening dancing, drinking, eating cake, singing and laughing. Mum and Joe bought me pink rollerblades and gifted them to me a few weeks prior so I could make the most out of them in quarantine, they even light up (I know! 90’s throwback).

I went to bed with the biggest smile on my face that evening. I can’t express how grateful I am for my family and my friends, the people in my life that show up for me over and over again, that help me through the rollercoaster that life is. Without them, I wouldn’t be me.

These people make me want to be the best I can be, they make me want to show up for the important people in my life, because if you take away all the stuff that we think we need to make us popular, attractive or cool, take away all the STUFF, the stuff you don’t remember, the stuff you leave behind, and look at what’s left in front of you, THESE are the people making us popular, attractive, cool, because we are to them. They get us, we get them. And at the end of the day, what more do we need?