It’s crazy to believe summer is almost over. I feel like it flew by and I don’t have much to show for it except for a couple of day trips out of Anchorage. My friends and I are typically more adventurous and travel quite a bit and naturally we’re all getting antsy to resume “normal” lives and go places together again.

My 30th birthday is in January and we had always talked about a girls weekend either to Napa Valley or Vegas. I of course don’t expect all my friends to be able to make this work, not even in normal times. People have limited vacation hours and trips are expensive — I get it. And now times are very un-normal so I’m sure even fewer of my friends could or would go.

But my 30th is a big deal. I don’t have a partner or kids and admittedly I do rely a lot on my friends and I was really hopeful at least a couple of my gals would want to commit to celebrating with me. But when I floated the idea via our group text, all five of my closest girlfriends said they either weren’t comfortable with traveling yet, or they felt like January was too far away to commit.

First off, January is not that far away — it’s just a few months off! Second, a lot could change by then, and even if it doesn’t, it seems like airlines and hotels are being super flexible about canceling or changing plans. But third, I guess my feelings are just hurt. We have talked about this trip for a few years and suddenly no one wants to go? I find myself super angry about this and need advice on how to deal.

You are correct: even in a perfectly normal world, it’s unlikely you’d be able to get all five of your besties on board for a very expensive out-of-state destination birthday party. People have bills, lives, commitments and all kinds of other reasons that make a trip like this a big, big ask. But asking during a pandemic? That’s a party foul on your part, my friend.

Look, we all want to get back to normal, ASAP. And we are all missing out on things we had been looking forward to, from vacations to weddings to the college football season. And while we’re all practically desperate to know when life as we know it will be life as we once knew it, there’s simply no way to know. Waiting takes patience, and unfortunately, sacrifice.

In pre-COVID times, a languid ladies liaison in Napa or a boozy bash in Vegas sounded killer. But in COVID times, those outings literally could be killers. Surely you have seen headlines about events that stretched or flat-out broke COVID recommendations or requirements, with dire results, widespread illness, even deaths. No one wants to be at the root of that.

So cut your friends some slack. It sounds like you look to them for a lot of support, and while it’s wonderful you’ve found a pack that’s there for you, you’ve also got to be careful about over-asking, especially during times like this when everyone is stressed and feels over-taxed and emotionally maxed out.

Your 30th birthday? A big deal. Nearly 200,000 Americans dead related to the COVID-19? Also a pretty big deal. No more birthdays or parties for those folks. Whining about not being able to go wine tasting is just sour grapes right now.

So take a small step back from the mirror and look at the big picture. With all that’s going on in the world and our country, should you really be this upset at a group of close friends who are choosing their health, and the health of their families’ and even you, over an expensive destination party that might realistically not even happen anyway?

Hopefully, Napa isn’t going anywhere, despite the entire West Coast practically being on fire right now. And hopefully you’ll have many more milestone birthdays in the years ahead with many more big party plans that will actually be safe and come true. But for now, try being realistic and understanding — of your friends, of the true state of life we’re all trying to navigate. And look at the bright side: you’ve got more than three months to stock up on bottles and boxes for your socially distanced birthday wine tasting party in someone’s garage with your friends. Not the dream, but a pretty damn good Plan B, all things considered.

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