This past Saturday was my birthday and I didn’t tell anyone or make a big deal about it. At the time when I chose to keep my birthday on the down low, I was mostly unaware as to why. Even now, I am not exactly sure why I did this. But this is what I do know.. Everything that is going on with Covid-19 makes me feel like not celebrating, but that is exactly what I should.

Just like most of you, these past two months have come with so much change and uncertainty. My normal life seemed to come to a stop with what feels like very little warning. My work paused. My husband's work stopped. My children's routines were tossed to the side and all social activities halted.. It all felt so quiet and lonely, but equally loud and overwhelming.

At first, I was trying to survive. Pushing through at full speed to regain some semblance of normal life. We adjusted work schedules and children’s routine and set more realistic goals and expectations for what this period in our life would be like. And things were fine. They were hard, but fine. Good almost.

Now I am on the other side of “it’s fine” and it’s no longer fine. Now that I am no longer in full survival mode and I’m settling into this new life for me and my family, it feels like a lot. Rather, it is truly a lot and I am still trying to grieve and heal.

Circling back, I did not feel like celebrating my birthday. Why? Because I was sad and rather wanted to throw a pity party about how I couldn’t be with my friends or go to the spa or eat at my favorite restaurants. I wanted to be sad because it was easier. It was harder to take a step back and focus on why I should be grateful.

I am healthy. Every one of my family members are healthy and happy. All of my physical needs are met, and I am fulfilled in both my personal and professional life. I have great friends who went out of their way to call and send ice cream and deliver cakes to make me feel special. And this year, instead of the typical hustle and bustle and crazy spending, I was able to enjoy a quiet day with my family.

I was first awoken by my two year old, Eleanor, jumping on me in bed yelling “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUUU MAMMA” before starting our day. We went through the drive thru at Panera Bread and grabbed our favorite iced coffee. We drove along the golf course while we sang “This Is The Way We Brush Our Teeth” about 45,000 times. We laughed. We ate dinner together. And it was perfect.

Long story short, I was being a grouch on my birthday. I got so in my head about what I was missing that I forgot to look right in front of me at all the blessings in my life. I know many of you reading this right now are going through the same thing. You are feeling sad and are in your own head. I hope this encourages you to take a step back and try to look at things from a different perspective. May that bring you just a bit more joy.

Alitzah Stinson
CEO, Founder of Ivory Paper Co

Alitzah Stinson


Alitzah Stinson

CEO & Founder