Life, Personal Development

The (Happy) Birthday Post

September 23, 2008

Two years ago, I turned 25.

I was here. And here.

September 23, 2009

Last year, I turned 26.

I was very much here.

September 23, 2010

Today, I turn 27.

And today, I’m here. And sometimes still a little bit here.

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.

Thank you.

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. 😉

And while you’re in the mood for a little celebrating, please be sure to shout a happy birthday the way of Andrew Norcross, all-around great guy and this site’s talented designer!

9 thoughts on “The (Happy) Birthday Post”

  1. a VERY VERY happy birthday to you – your post was beautiful, as they always are, and I’m extremely moved by your selflessness and constant efforts to help others (human or canine!)

    I hope to be able to donate a little something next month!

  2. Happy, happy birthday! Did you know there’s something extra special about being born on the 23rd? Apparently, you are either cursed or blessed if you’re born on that day. Personally, I think you’re blessed — with an amazing writing talent. I read a LOT of blogs, but yours is one of the few that I don’t skim and I actually take the time to read. Keep doing what you’re doing — it’s great. I know you’ve had some ups and downs lately, but try to focus on the positive and remember that you deserve to have an amazing birthday (and an even more amazing year as a fellow 27-year-old!).

    1. Dani — I will never forget that you told me that same story last year, and I will never forget that I swore to myself that I would consider myself blessed — for the people I care about, for everything I have, for blogging friends such as you. Your comments are always filled with such motivation and inspiration, but I know it’s not just the words — I know it’s because you’re such an inspiration yourself. I love your positive attitude and can only hope to emulate that.

      Thank you so much for the kind words that you always seem to have, for the support, for the motivation, the inspiration, and the encouragement. You have no idea how much they mean to me, truly. Thank you for you…

  3. Your blog always seems to tug at the strings connected to my heart, but this one did that more than any other. I know that money can always help the cause, so you can count on me to be a regular contributor! But I will be finding out where my county humane society is located, because I am a firm believer that time is the most precious thing in this world… how we spend our time, since there is rarely enough, is the biggest gift we can offer to the puppies and kitties who have yet to find a home. Ever a time I spent in a shelter, I cried knowing that I couldn’t take all the puppies home with me and that they had to stay in cages instead of on a big fluffy pillow.

    1. Jenn: Can I first just say how grateful I am that we’re back in touch! It had been way too long but I love catching up and can’t wait to see you at the end of the month — for YOUR birthday!

      I love that you’re going to be volunteering as well — anything we can do to make these animals who give so much love know that they’re loved in return is something worthwhile. Blankets, food, toys , and, you’re right, our time — anything that helps them realize that they have a home, that they have people who think of them and love them, that they’re not alone, is something that can only add to their life, a life of happiness that they so deserve.

      We may not be able to take all the animals home with us, but we can provide comfort and love — gladly, there’s always enough room for that in this world.

      Love to you!

  4. Thank you so much to everyone who made this birthday special.

    And an especial thank you to those who donated to the cause — I’ll be matching the donations shortly, so keep an eye out on the widget to the right.

    Each and everyone of you have been an incredible, integral part of my life, and I’m so grateful for you.

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