Here I am, up at 5:30 a.m. on my birthday, more excited than a kid half my age for this day.
I can’t explain why I’m so stoked for today this year–maybe I’ve just finally come to terms with the fact it’s OK to really enjoy the day? I think I really wanted to be the person who didn’t really care, who kept their birthday a secret, and cooly shrugged their shoulders when friends and co-workers were shocked when it casually came up in conversation. It has taken me 27 years, but I fully admit I am not that person. Maybe I just like cake too much, but I am the person who likes to take off the day, get a pedicure, and casually mention that it is my birthday to every random stranger I meet.
Maybe this birthday feels especially sweet because I feel like I’ve come such a long way since the last one. Last year was probably one of the most difficult years of my life, personal, family, and physical struggles abound. Every day was a cause to hold my breath, to fear what would come next, to put my head down and push through the latest challenge. This was not easy and although I tried to look ahead to when things would get better and remind myself it’s always darkest before dawn blah blah, all that pep talk is frankly little consolation when you are living it.
So this year is not just a celebration of being another year older, it’s about being smarter than I was last year, stronger, healthier. This is also a celebration for another milestone: it is the first birthday in the past 4 years that I am not recovering from or preparing to have surgery. I have not been to the ER (for myself) in over a year. I finally got the job I waited nearly half last year to get. Things are great with me and D and we’ve had the opportunity to take a few trips. We have good people in our life, great family and friends.
As cheesy as it sounds, maybe this is such an exciting day because I’m finally able to acknowledge my own, personal excitement for today, for my life, for myself. I think for a long time I relied on other people being excited for this day to make me feel validated, but I finally got it wasn’t about that. Don’t get me wrong, it is SO awesome to get birthday wishes and receive peoples’ kind words and thoughtfulness, but unless I’m excited and happy about the day, and really, about myself, that joy will only be temporary.
So today is going to be a good day. I’m going to do all the fun self-indulgent things people do when they want to feel special: a pedicure, get my hair did, pick out a new dress. And then tonight I’m going to grab dinner at one of my favorite places in Philly before going dancing with friends. I took off tomorrow too, so D and I are going to either head to the beach or figure out another day trip, depending on the weather.
I just feel really hopeful. I feel like good things are coming and that I am on the right path. And I want to celebrate that.
So, happy birthday to me! And happy wishes to all the wonderful people in my life who’ve kept me on my path!