Op-Ed: Seventeen and Self-Quarantined


Zoe Kaplan, Associate Editor

I woke up with the same excitement as always, but something felt different this year. It might have been that it was my first birthday without my twin brother by my side, or maybe the fact that I was self-quarantining.

This meant that I was not able to go out to eat, have a party with my friends, or even see my grandparents. It’s definitely not how I thought I’d spend the day, but everything worked out in the end.

My day started when I woke up to a house decorated with fun party supplies. My parents had spent the night before decorating so I would see something fun when I woke up.

Next, my mama made me a smoothie bowl for breakfast and I settled down to watch some television as I ate my breakfast, which she had lovingly topped with chocolate chips. I felt almost normal—as weird as it sounds—because I was still able to be with my family and have a fun day.

After breakfast, it was time for remote school. My schedule was pretty relaxed, so I had a lot of free time to talk to friends or hang out. I also had the time to take a walk with my family and my dog. I felt really lucky because normally I don’t have time to walk and appreciate the outdoors during a normal school day.

Once school was over, I hung out for a while and then it was time to open my presents. My parents had planned to do most of their shopping right around the time the virus struck, but they still managed to find lots of gifts I loved. 

I had a delicious home-cooked dinner, and then it was time for cake. My mama had baked me my favorite kind of cake—chocolate with chocolate frosting. We almost never bake in my family, but the cake turned out really well.

I thought I had received all my presents before, but my family still had one surprise left for me. They had put together a video of many of my friends and family sending their birthday wishes. It was such a sweet gesture, and I’m not afraid to admit that I cried while watching it. It’s something I will cherish and keep as a reminder of this unusual year.

To anyone else who has a birthday during quarantine, I urge you to take time to enjoy the day. It may not be ideal, but you can still make it an amazing day. This experience taught me that with the right attitude, anything can become better than you expect.

My birthday might not have gone the way I had initially thought it would, but it was still an amazing day. I realized that people make the day special—not what goes on during the day—and to be grateful for everything I already have.