Almost a week ago, I celebrated my birthday - 24! - in Atlanta with one of my best friends, Alex. I love birthdays. I try to keep the celebration going as long as possible (both for me and friends), and I make it a point to travel on each of my birthdays. I hope I never reach an age where I dread birthdays.
Years ago, I started a tradition (honestly sparked by Broad City) to ask people a set of three questions on their birthday.
- What three things did you learn in the past year of life?
- What were three of your favorite moments and memories of the past year of life?
- What are three things you are looking forward to in the next year?
So, last Sunday as I spent the morning kayaking, I pondered these questions myself (and prompted Alex to eventually ask me)...and reflected on the last year of my life in general.
23 was a year full of ups and downs. But, I'll be honest - it felt like more downs than ups. When I looked back, I thought about some major highlights: I started a new job that I love with a non-profit, I fell in love, I traveled to quite a few new places (abroad and in California), I made some new friends and reconnected with old friends. But, amidst all of this, I had my heart broken, I broke my hip two more times, I was diagnosed with a scary-sounding genetic disorder, I worked at a company I didn't fully stand by, I financially struggled and I lost a lot of friends (trying to let it go...slowly, but surely). It was a year of great career success...but a lot of personal and health-related strife.
I sat and reflected on my questions for others as I pondered my 23rd year of life - what had I learned? What moments did I cherish? How did I want to grow this year?
So, after a great conversation with Alex, I ended up here:
- What I learned: how to be in my first healthy romantic relationship where I didn't seek out external validation, that I am a valuable human outside of running, that I have a really amazing community surrounding me in San Diego (here's looking at you, November Project and co.)
- My three favorite moments: Labor Day weekend spent in Nashville with both old and new friends, getting published in print for the first time since college (and writing a cover story!), watching the moon illuminate Anza Borrego in the middle of the night on a camping trip (so beautiful - I can't even articulate)
- What I'm looking forward to: pursuing yoga teach training, traveling (most immediately - Scottsdale, San Francisco and Cuba) and really, honestly seeing my friends and growing those relationships.
I know a birthday (like New Year's) is just a symbolic catalyst to make a change and grow and reflect, but hey, sometimes it's needed. Sometimes, I just feel like I need a fresh start - arbitrary date or not.
So, cheers to 24 (and hopefully more ups than downs)!