So yesterday I added yet another year to my birthday number. I like birthdays. I know some people don't like to think about them because that means they are getting older.
But I like birthdays. As a kid, birthdays were a big celebration. Big party, entire neighborhood invited, grown up and kids celebrating together. Everyone happy to celebrate the birth of that particular person. We wore new outfits for the occasion and got showered with attention and love from everyone.
Even though I'm older, I still get excited about birthdays. Not because of the party or the presents, although those are nice too, but because they mean I made it through another year. I love the fact my birthday follows so closely to the new year. I don't have to wait months and months to start living another 'yearly adventure'.
Last year was a year of self discovery for me. You'd think at 37 I would know all there is to know about myself. I don't, and I hope I never do. The fact I'm still growing as a person and learning about myself means I'm still capable of dreaming. At least that's what it means to me.
Self discovery is not easy and it isn't always pleasant. This past year wasn't exactly a walk in the park. I stood in front of an imaginary mirror and took a hard look at the person I am. While looking, I found things I never noticed were there. Or may I did know, and simply hadn't paid much attention to it.
Regardless, the journey was difficult. I had to learn to accept the flaws that mirror showed me, the rough edges that are going to need some attention in the near future. But that journey, as difficult as it may have been, brought me to this point.
I am very comfortable with myself now. Make no mistake, I was comfortable with me when last year's birthday came. But I had no idea what the year would be like. I had no clue about the disappointments that loomed at a distance. I had no clue that my integrity and my character would be challenged. The person who emerged from this self discovery journey is stronger, and happier than the one who started the journey.
So here I stand, on day one of the next year of my life. I'm ready for whatever challenges will come my way this year. I am happier, and much more comfortable in my own skin. You know how people sometimes say "Oh, how I wish I could back to when I was X years old". I never have. Every year has been special and has left wonderful memories. But I wouldn't want to go back.
Sometimes I see the person I was at 23, and realize how little I knew then. The years that have passed since then have made me a stronger, more secure person. If I could give her advice, I would tell her nothing. She has to experience life for herself so she can reach this point in her life.
So I raise my glass and toast my last 37 years of life, and look forward to the next 37. May they all be full of adventures. Salud!!!