It’s a beautiful morning, and I’m about to head out for what I hope will be a glorious run. It’s raining at the moment but it will have to clear up soon and the weather will need to match my mood. You know why? It’s my birthday!
I’ve always thought of life as a book. Everyone has a unique story, so their book is a little different, but no matter what, every day is a new page and every year is a new chapter. The thing is, every page beyond the one you’re currently on is stuck together, so there is no peeking ahead to see what happens next or how the story ends. You just have to keep living to find out.
This is the start of my Chapter 24. I’m officially in my twenties now, not just my “early twenties” and most certainly out of the teenager, college, and even grad school phases. I’m a young adult, and so are my friends. I graduated from Oxford and law school and am about to embark on the true next phase of my life when I go on my post-bar adventures and start my new job. My friends have apartments and jobs, some are even married and two have little ones of their own! It’s exciting and terrifying all at once to have no idea what’s coming next for me, but for the first time in my life I can honestly say on this birthday that when I look forward to the future I do so with hope and the firm belief that everything will work out in the end.
We write our own stories. People say that life is what happens while you’re making other plans, and I finally appreciate the wisdom of that remark. But I think that even though luck and fate and whatever higher power is up there play a big role, the way you choose to act and react has a lot to do with it as well. I’ve learned to savor the little moments and make the most of all the little pieces of joy that knit together into the puzzle of a happy life. Yesterday morning, I went for a walk and brought a container with me to fill with some of my favorite wild raspberries. They ripen and are at the peak of sweetness within a couple of weeks in late July and early August and I like to nab as many as I can. So does Sasha – they are her favorite summer snack! Of course we both eat as many as we are picking them as make it into our supply to carry home. The entire time I was walking and picking, I was just happy in the moment doing something so simple. And I felt like I had been given a bountiful birthday present from Mother Nature herself (which also made for a great pre-run snack this morning!)
I count myself lucky to have not just a wide circle of family and friends and acquaintances old and new, but 10 very good friends who will always be there for me and who have been by my side for the good and bad times in life thus far. However, of those 10, only 3 friendships are conducted in person, the other 7 via continual phone calls, FaceTime sessions and Skype dates, since college took me across the Atlantic and life scatters all of us. I truly believe it’s better to have wonderful, real friends and strong relationships with them and that having 10 of these is a thousand times better than 100 friendships of convenience, but it does mean I typically only celebrate with a couple of them on any given birthday. Learning to savor these moments with those who are here, rather than focus on missing the ones who aren’t, has shown me that we can make the most of any situation.
This year, turning the page to Chapter 24 will be pretty low-key. My parents took me to dinner last night at Bailey’s Backyard, one of my favorite restaurants in Ridgefield, where I hadn’t eaten since March. I had a delicious pan roasted white and green asparagus appetizer that I shared with my dad, and seared red snapper with broccoli puree, olive oil, chickpeas and onions for a main course.
Afterwards, we headed over to Deborah Ann’s for dessert. I went with one of my favorites, Black Raspberry Chip, with rainbow sprinkles of course. I had almost forgotten, but asked and they added them just in time 🙂
Today, I’ll go for my run, relax and try not to think about what’s coming on Tuesday, and later after driving into the city and getting settled for the exam we will be eating at one of our family’s favorite diners and heading to Emack and Bolio’s for some birthday ice cream. I also have a gluten-free cupcake awaiting me from Swoon, a Ridgefield bakery that is totally gluten-free and nut-free, and which I know will be delicious. Next weekend I’ll get to celebrate over dinner with one of my best friends. Otherwise, my 24th birthday will mostly be about being grateful for how far I’ve come and looking forward to what’s next.
How do you usually to celebrate your birthday? Do you think of it as a time to party or to reflect, or both?
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