Ten years ago, I was eagerly counting down to this day. I was a student in San Diego; loving my job, my classes, and my circle of friends. Just weeks before turning 21, we had snuck into a casino in Tahoe on New Year's Eve to celebrate Y2K (remember all of that hype?). I was never a big drinker, but a whole new world of clubs and bars were now accessible. And since three of us had birthdays within four days of each other, I had my friends with whom to share the new experiences. Life was good.
Ten years later, I admit that life didn't turn out quite the way I thought that it would when I blew out those 21 candles. I didn't marry my college sweetheart right after college...in fact, I never really had a college sweetheart. It wasn't until five years later that I finally met my husband, long after college or even grad school (but ironically, while celebrating my 26th birthday). I don't have a glamorous job with a substantial paycheck...and yet, I know that the work that I do is worthwhile and provides me the opportunity to impact the lives of my students. But the biggest shock that I experienced in the last ten years was the challenges of infertility and loss. Ten years ago, I never ever imagined that we would have gone through--and survived--what we've experienced in the last three years. Yet somehow, that naive, fun-loving 21-year old turned into someone who has more determination, patience, and compassion than I ever thought possible. Yes, life truly is good.
In addition to my own birthday, I'm also blessed with two amazing friends who are one day and two days older than me. I think I look forward to their birthdays just as much as my own. They both live out of state so we don't get to see each other very much, but I always look forward to reconnecting with them around this time of the year.