September 23, 2008
Two years ago, I turned 25.
September 23, 2009
Last year, I turned 26.
I was very much here.
September 23, 2010
Today, I turn 27.
Bust mostly here.
Birthdays have always served as that nostalgic point of reflection for me – a chance to look back to where I’d been and figure out where I wanted to go, what I wanted to achieve, and who I wanted to be. For the past two years, this day has been marked as a turning point in a very personal journey of self-discovery and healing, of understanding myself and my little corner of the world, and of navigating that divide between who I am and who I want to be.
Looking back, I wonder how I could have thought, once upon a time, that this life would remain stagnant. How could I have believed that the days would remain perpetually cloudy, dark and without purpose?
How could I have forgotten those dreams that had become my reality, those experiences that proved to me my own strength, my own capacity for learning and understanding and, above all, hope and love?
How could I have forgotten that with family and friends surrounding me, I am never, ever alone?
I tend to use this once-a-year marker of this passing of time as a way to look back on where I’ve been because I believe that the past is what drives our future, that by looking back, we can realize how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go. I’ve realized that turning points are often found only in hindsight and rarely as we could have envisioned them (and even rarer as we expect them). Rather, small changes are happening every day that change the person we are and the future we’re to lead — every day, every minute, and every moment.
I want to make every moment matter.
Life has a way of always moving forward, no matter how linked to the past we are, and we’re moving along with it, growing…
And growing up.
Over two years and almost two hundred posts on this blog…I’d say the greatest gift this site has given me is the ability to read back through and see how much has changed, see how much I’ve changed, but I know that isn’t entirely true…
Because I’m pretty certain that my greatest gift from this blog has been you.
Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote, “I am a part of all I have met.”
No other quote speaks more loudly…The comments, the emails, the support, the discussions, the friendships…They are all a part of me, helping to cultivate this life and shape who I am, and my birthday wish is that I could express just how much every interaction has meant to me.
Thank you, each of you, for the part you’ve played in my life thus far. To say I’m lucky is a falsity: I’m blessed. To say that it’s appreciated is an understatement: it goes so far beyond that..
And to say that it’s a thousand times returned would never be enough.
A Birthday Wish
I have a second birthday wish this year…
Typically, I would get a favorite book or a cool package together for a little giveaway as my way of saying thanks to you, but this year, a cause has captured my heart and I’m choosing to say thank you for another aspect of my life that I’m equally as grateful for: a little mutt named Riley who has shown me what unconditional love and happiness really means.
Every day, I think of how lucky I am to have Riley, how he saved my life, just as I’ve saved his. When I first saw him, he was a ten month old puppy locked behind a cage at the humane league where I was volunteering. In a cage, not in a home on a sofa or a bed, not with a yard to run around and play in…Just as I was having trouble escaping my own emotions of fear, uncertainty, and grief of the losses I had experienced, searching for something to care for and believe in again, so was he looking for someone to care for him.
I took him out to play, despite the posted rules about not walking the puppies. And in a second, my heart was his. I knew, with all certainty, that I would love him, that this small, beautiful animal would find his forever home with me.
But it’s not enough to me that I gave one dog a home, as thousands of other equally-loving animals are waiting to meet their best friend and find their own forever home. The ASPCA works to protect these animals against homelessness and cruelty, relying on donations to help them continue their fight.
To help them, I’m asking for help from you, in the form of a donation…By clicking on the button to the right of this post or visiting my causes page on Facebook, you can help in providing a voice for the voiceless.
And I hereby vow to match all donations up to $100, this year and every year.
That is how much I believe in this cause. That is how much I believe in the rights of animals.
That is how much I believe that we can all make a difference.
Note: I still graciously accept happy birthday wishes and gifts, especially if said gift is in the form of a label-maker. What, I’m human. And this happens but once a year. And I really want a label-maker. 😉