Newsletter editor Lily here.

Today marks my 26th birthday. I’ve been joking all day about the utter irony of turning an age when you’re legally taking off of your parents’ health insurance right in the midst of the pandemic. As one friend said to me earlier today, America is saying happy birthday to me in the most American way possible. I’m fortunate to have options for health coverage that I can afford, but I find myself extra aware today of the fact that so many in this country don’t.

As I’ve outlined over the past several months, I had big plans for 2020 and for the back half of age 25. Most of those have been completely upended by our current global situation. I’m not running a marathon in June. All of the travel and sightseeing I was going to do this spring has been cancelled. I don’t know when I’m going to feel “productive” enough to actually work on some other long-term writing projects. All of that is scary and disappointing and confusing, in addition to many of the other big life decisions I was in the process of making at this time.

However, I’ve spent my day fielding really beautiful birthday messages from my people, and it’s reminded me that a few other things in my life are all right. One friend got me a Domino’s gift card because of my allegiance to their cheesy bread. My mom bought me two birthday cakes because she wanted to be prepared in case I wanted one flavor more than the other. My brother, a teenager whom I’m never quite sure is paying attention, wrote me a cute birthday card calling me a queen. Friends and family members have sent long, heartfelt messages. And in the midst of all of that love, I feel very, very lucky.

If I’m being completely honest, having a birthday on a Friday also stressed me out a lot. The last time my birthday was on a Friday was for my 21st, and the whole night was ruined by a freak one-day cold front that hit Connecticut and then disappeared the next day. Now I’m not able to do anything with people thanks to a pandemic. The world will probably open up its flaming molten core and gobble us whole the next time I have to have a birthday on a Friday, who knows?

Personally, I get really anxious around the act of having to plan A Birthday Thing™. I’m worried about people flaking, and I feel like I spend most of the night seeing where everybody is and what everybody’s doing. The one great thing about being stuck indoors is that I don’t have to muster up the energy to do all of that. Today I’m taking a half day and spending the rest of my time napping and reading several books. I’m texting with friends and may FaceTime a few tonight. It’s truly the perfect Lily Herman birthday, and I’m glad that at the age of 26, I can admit to myself that that’s what I want.

I started writing these Chairman Mom newsletters just a few months after I turned 23 and was still parentally health insured. Now I’m 26, dealing with my own healthcare, and hopefully (just a tad) older and wiser. It’s strange how time works.

I’ve asked a similar question over the past few years of writing, and I want to know: What do you wish you knew at 26? I want to hear from you!

Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:

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