Tag Archives: quarantine

Happy Birthday to Us!

I don’t have to tell you that the past year and a half has been absolutely nuts. For the most part, we’ve been adapting as best we can. We’ve been very fortunate in many ways, and for that I’m grateful. While sometimes I’ve been glad that my weekends weren’t filled up to the brim like they always used to be, it was tough not to be able to see family.

For the first time since Christmas 2019, my whole immediate family on my mom’s side was able to get together recently! My grandma, my parents, my siblings and their families, my household, and even my aunt from out of state! It was wonderful just to eat sandwiches and swap old stories.

My daughter’s birthday was that day. I wanted to make things just a little special for her, but she insisted that she didn’t want the attention. We have FIVE May birthdays, though, so I suggested we sing for all the May birthdays. Then we realized all the birthdays we’d missed, so instead we sang, “Happy Birthday to US!” Yes, we really sang it that way. It sounds absolutely silly, and it was, but it was also a really wonderful moment.

I know this little slice of life really only matters to me, but I’m here to say Happy Birthday to YOU! Whether your birthday has been floated while you wait for better times, whether you’ve spent it alone, or even if you were stuck with your circle of quarantine friends; if your birthday is this month or last month or six months ago, then Happy Birthday!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Enjoy Your Isolation! Seriously!

It’s easy to focus on what we’re not allowed to do right now. Concerts and sporting events have been cancelled. Kids are missing out on birthday parties. Weddings are being postponed. It’s a little scary just to go to the grocery store.

But social distancing and staying at home doesn’t have to be a bad thing! I stay home most of the time, but even for me there’s suddenly a lot more time on my hands now that school is out. I’m going to do my best to enjoy it, and so can you.

1. Do That Thing You Always Wanted to Do – How many times have you said you were going to write a book? Or start a blog? Or learn to play that guitar you bought? There’s no better time than now, and we’re incredibly lucky that we have the internet to help us along.

2. Love on Your Pet – Our animals are probably thrilled about all this time with their humans! Teach your dog a new trick, brush your cat, or tame that bearded dragon! It’ll make them feel good, and it might just make you feel a little less anxious about what’s going on in the world.

3. Get Caught Up – Okay, so maybe this part isn’t quite as enjoyable for some. Personally, I really like having a clean house, but I don’t always have the time to make it happen. This is a great time to get caught up on all those laundry, dishes, and dusting!

4. Deep Cleaning – I really think this deserves a category of it’s own. Again, maybe not fun for everyone, but once you’ve organized that sock drawer you’ll never go back. Binge watch some Marie Kondo, and then start a stack of stuff to get rid of! (Just maybe hold onto those old t-shirts in case you can’t get any more toilet paper.)

5. Rebuild Your Relationship – We’re all stuck inside together, right? Dates at home can be just as romantic as going out, and they’re a lot cheaper! Have a candlelit dinner with some good music. Snuggle up on the couch and rewatch your favorite movie. There are plenty of possibilities!

6. Spend Time with Your Kids – Have you noticed how much time you’re saving by not having to pick them up from all their extracurriculars? Use that time to play board games, read books together, or have a family meeting. There are lots of museums and zoos offering free virtual tours, which could also be great to check out together.

7. Cooking – Have you always wanted to make bread from scratch? You’ve got the time, and you won’t have to go to the store!

8. Treat Yourself – Paint your toenails. Give yourself a facial. Tweeze your eyebrows. Take a long bath with a good book. You deserve some peace and relaxation, and you might as well get it in now.

9. Read! – Is your bookshelf groaning with volumes you haven’t touched? Are you longing to revisit the classics but never have time? It’s time to read! I’ll have a free book available each week for about the next month, and I know many other authors are doing the same thing.

10. Spread Love Without the Germs – You might be staying home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t call, message, and videochat your friends and loved ones. Get connected and catch up!

Yes, things are different, but we don’t have to hate it. We can deal with this, and we’ll get through it! Don’t forget to wash your hands!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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