Today is my 21st birthday. I love celebrating my birthday, I always have. My family often makes a pretty big deal out of birthdays. This year is a tad different because of Covid. I’ve imagined for years what this birthday would feel like. When I was 16 it was a mystical number that felt like it would never come. After going abroad at 18 and over, 21 lost some of its charm. Drinking was no longer a novelty. I never anticipated moving back to the states before my 21st birthday and once again being unable to legally drink.
Moreover, I never anticipated not wanting to drink that much in general. I do enjoy drinking but it takes a very different effect on my body. Now it’s more about weighing pros and cons of drinking rather than throwing caution to the wind. I don’t mind that. I never was super into throwing caution to the wind.
After fearing for my life for an extended period of time, celebrating my birthday has extra meaning to me. It’s a badge of honor. It’s proof that my illness didn’t take me down. I’m happy to be alive. I wake up everyday and strive to celebrate life. Some days are harder than others but I have a stronger appreciation for what life is.
This year is a double celebration because it’s the first year Crush is with me for my birthday. I’ve entered into such a new chapter of life with him. I couldn’t think of anyone better to celebrate with. He’s truly my best friend.
I don’t know what 21 will look like for me. I have a lot of things I desire to have. I hope by 22 I’ve been accepted into grad school. I hope by 22 I have graduated undergrad with my theatre BA. I hope by 22 I can say that I’m living outside my comfort zone. All of this is within my reach and is completely dependent on me. My reactions, my resilience, and my ambition. I point this out because although I’ve had a tremendous amount of help along the way, I want to give myself credit. I can do anything, I just need to believe in myself. Even if I got none of those things, that doesn’t define me. I get to define me.
How am I going to celebrate? I plan to safely enjoy my day with the company of my family and maybe some friends. I want to simply be present for all that life has to offer me on this wonderful day. I hope to do this everyday but especially today. I want to celebrate my accomplishments. I want to celebrate my resilience. I want to celebrate how far I’ve come. I want to celebrate who I am at this moment. I want to celebrate being alive. I hope you do too. I hope you celebrate yourself. I hope you celebrate your strength. I hope you celebrate every single moment that you’re given.