Turning 30 During A Pandemic

Photo by Craig Adderley

It was late March when I started to send the first of many handmade and store-bought cards through the mail. Each package would be lightly sprayed with a disinfectant like unbathed women spritzing pungent perfume before the invention of indoor plumbing. Like everyone else, I had a different idea in mind for 2020, and I had to adjust to a changing world. I felt most terrible for the kids who missed out on seeing friends from school, students who missed out on graduations, and those who have lost loved ones during this time. However, I couldn’t help but also feel a little bummed that the kids I used to hang out under The Tree with in high school would all be turning 30 away from each other during a pandemic.

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The Drive-Thru Theater Adventure

The first time I ever drove on the highway was the day I left home for college. I gripped the wheel, white-knuckled, and waited for my car to swiftly slide off the mountains of the Grapevine’s edge for the entire two and a half hours it took to drive myself and my room full of belongings in the infamous minivan. I spent the majority of my first year driving around during a time without regularly available smartphones as an inexperienced driver of only a year lost with an equally confused friend.

In fact, we got lost so often from not printing out directions ahead of time from MapQuest (not Google Maps) that we would jokingly call the mishaps adventures. The cellphones that we did have barely went on the internet, and when you did accidentally click the internet button, you had to click out really fast, or your mom would yell at you for racking up her bill. I could use my aging Chocolate LG sliding phone to make calls, take photos that looked like they were taken with a shoe, and play the highly-sought-after game of snake.

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The Extroverted Introvert In The Springtime

I didn’t realize how social I really was until the order was passed down by California’s state Governor to stay home. Stay home? I didn’t remember two consecutive days in my entire life, except for the times I was really sick when I stayed inside of a building. I was always outside, either running, driving, or hiking. When I got bored, I went outdoors until the day that I couldn’t.

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That One Time I Started A New Job During A Pandemic

My Long-Form Glassdoor Review

A laptop computer sits on a wooden desk next to a cup of coffee and a digital notepad. A small green plant sits behind the computer on table.

“You will never forget the day that you started this job.” I actually heard that a couple of times from friends and new coworkers this past Monday. I was handed keys to the office, but I wasn’t entirely sure how long I would be able to use them.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the timing of it all. I started my new job the week of California’s statewide order to stay home due to an ongoing pandemic. I felt both lucky and not-so-lucky to have slid into a new position just before I wouldn’t have the chance to do so–or at least for a while. I was able to make the change without having to wait for the all-clear that would release us back into our normal lives, and unlike so many others during this time, I was able to pick up a paycheck still.

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That One Time I Actually Could Have Died Because Of My Opinions

“I’m sorry your January has been rough, Jasmine.”

I read the email and had to pause. For one, because I legitimately thought that we were in the middle of February, and two because I really had just experienced a wild ride of a month. 

I began 2020, speeding through the snowcapped Grapevine mountains from the Central Valley to Los Angeles. I brought in the New Year with my sister in shorts outside at midnight watching illegal fireworks shoot from backyards. Local residents twirled sparklers over dampened lawns in 40-degree weather, and I smiled as we took turns watching our exhaled breaths become visible against the pitch-black night sky. By January 4th, I had already hiked so many miles in the cold and been to so many holiday and birthday parties that I was for sure I needed to put down my Christmas tree because it had to have been March by now. However, I’m glad I took my Christmas stuff down the next day because, after that next week of traveling to Texas, I would actually almost die because of a case of the flu.

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