In 13 days, I will be 26 years old. I still can’t believe that all that time has gone by. I remember when I was around 10 years old, and thought being 22 was so far away and I was going to be so old. At that time, I had no idea what I’d be doing, where I’d be, or how I’d be.
Oh how things changed since I was 10.
I have to admit, I used to LOVE birthdays. It was MY DAY out of the year; I got to pick out the restaurant the family would go to (it was the only time we ever went out to dinner too! Birthdays and good report cards!), the flavor of the cake and toppings, and what kind of party I would have. They were glorious birthdays, without any shame or guilt or worries.
But then I grew up. Yeah, I kind of grew out of birthdays and I tried to be with my family every year, a little before or after my birthday, because I was always away at school, something still happened. But then 9/11 happened, and my birthday became something of the past.
I remember that day to a T. The memory of the whole thing replays in my mind if I think about it for a second, and I’m covered in goose bumps. I did not know anyone that was killed on 9/11, but when I walked into my 11th grade US History class that morning after an hour of pre-calculus for zero period and no idea what was going on, I was absolutely horrified. I remember the second that I saw the TV, watching the second plane crash into the tower and everything falling to the ground.
My life has never been the same since. To this day, I cannot watch footage of 9/11. I feel the tears well in my eyes, the goose bumps cover my body and I can’t speak. And ever since then, I’ve never enjoyed my birthday. Why? For the past ten years, it has always seemed like the month of September was one of mourning. In no way should I be celebrating my birthday.
But this year, 10 years after it’s happened, I need to enjoy my birthday. Since that happened, I have been through a lot more in my life than I thought I’d ever go through, including losing grandparents, friends, developing anorexia and so many other symptoms thereafter, living out of the country, moving around the country, chasing birds as my profession, etc.
This year, my birthday will occur on Kauai. I don’t know if Whit has anything planned (hint:hint; haha) but seeing my family a few days before I leave for the island, and then spending time with his family and him will be different. For many years my actual birthday, the 20th, was spent alone; I was either in college, in the field, working, living away from home, etc. But not this year.
Not only do I want to actually enjoy my birthday this year, but indeed, the year that will follow it leading to the 27th. The past year has had so many ups and downs and more ups and more downs. Right now it’s on a down slope, but I hope and am working hard to change that. There is no reason that I should not be enjoying my life since I am able to do what I love for work, be around the people I love and enjoy, travel all over the world, and experience things that people would probably never think of doing in their wildest dreams.
My life does not need to be a pity party put on by me, it needs to be a life filled with as much as I can do that I am able.
So this birthday will be different. This birthday, I will enjoy. This birthday, will be the start of something new. 13 days and counting.
Do you still celebrate you birthday? Any traditions?! I love to hear about birthday traditions!