It was my birthday this past weekend and it was amazing. Every year, my employer shuts down for 10-12 days over the holidays, and my birthday almost always falls during this time. This is great because I can do pretty much whatever I want for my birthday, depending on my budget. Last year I rented a cabin in a state park for three nights and it was simply wonderful. The weather was beautiful and I had purchased the rental in the summer when I had a few extra bucks. I am eternally grateful that I did that because I was so broke during 2017-2018 that if I hadn't of gotten the cabin, nothing fun would've happened for either my birthday or for the time off of work.
I've always held birthdays to be sacred in my house, making it a special occasion for myself and the kids. Unlike some people, I genuinely enjoy getting older and love celebrating my birthday. As always, my Dad called to sing me "Happy Birthday" which officially kicks it off. Afterward, I took a five-mile walk, went out for lunch and did some shopping with the kids, took them to see Zombieland: Double Tap (I highly recommend this fun movie, and you don't need to watch the first one to enjoy it.), and made it home in time to get ready for the birthday party I had planned with my friends. We all brought a shareable snack, drinks, sang some karaoke, played a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity, and exchanged White Elephant gifts. A great time was had by all, and everyone shuffled out around 1:30 a.m., tipsy, full, and happy.
Today, as I look forward to another 10 days off of work, I reflect on the great weekend I had celebrating my birthday. It was everything you could hope for in a birthday. However, I also reflect on the year since my last one. It was a hard year, emotionally, for me. The first part of the past year was one of the darkest times I've ever been through. I feared, for awhile, that I might never come out of it all. Eventually, I did and when I did, I came out stronger than I ever have been in my entire life. I reclaimed who I was, but, more importantly, I gained a lot. I gained insight, patience, and the type of wisdom that comes from experience and growth.
It's a far cry from where I was this exact moment one year ago when the world was a dark place. I was miserable and I felt so hopeless. I self-medicated and withdrew. Now, I'm present, not only for myself but for the people I care about the most. I had lost all my creative fire, but it's back, and I feel positive about it for the first time in a long time.
There's a saying that we all know: Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. While I've always gotten the gist of what that means it wasn't until recently that I really and truly was able to relate to it. Why? Because it's true. The strength I have now wouldn't have been possible had I not gone through the toughest period of my adult life. I'm now ready to embrace my future and I'm bursting into the next year with fervor.
Welcome to 48.
I hope you have the Merriest of Christmases. I'm looking forward to the rest of my break - including a trip that I'll be posting about later. I've also decided to still post twice a week, but on whatever days I get to posting. I've decided that structure isn't always the best or necessary thing.
With love, H.A.