At Peace - A Birthday Reflection
I've been busy these past few weeks, nothing out of the ordinary, but so busy that I haven't had much time to think about 26 like I did for the years before. I usually take the day off, but being a Saturday I thought I'd have a bit more time, but with my family visiting time has been overwhelmed with them. So, here I am, at 10:51PM, on the subway reflecting on this new birthday.
It's been a strange year, one filled with anxious waiting on things beyond my control and for a storm prophesied by the deepest parts of me. I knew this year would be different, going into this year after 3 months on medical leave, with uncertainty in every aspect of my life, and having rolled many dices and initiated tens of plans all at once, plans B-Z. I had created so many pathways, and it was just a matter of waiting, something I hate to do, but necessary in this case. So, I waited, living in the sometimes essential unknown of transformation, doing everything in my power and knowing that there are some things beyond me.
Along the way a part of me knew that I was waiting for something else, a challenge to propel me forward or destroy me, and it nearly did the latter.
But it didn't, and today I feel at peace, bathed in the love of my family and friends, and far more rooted in my recovery than I've ever been. I am more actualized than I was last year, it was only when individuals were saying the worst kind things that I fully connected with who I am as an individual, and connected with the work I do, something I haven't had much time for in previous years.
As of last week, I am no longer just waiting, the victory I needed in hand and a universe of possibilities on the horizon. I am in love with everything I do, and everyone in my life. I am at peace, and can not wait for what the future brings.
With this self-actualization, I have found a home in myself.
As some of you may know, no one celebrated my birthday until I was 19. Every year I waited for someone to remember, far too many years no one did at all. Over the last few years, I've been finding my value in individuals commemorating my birthday. I measured the love in my life by the number of Facebook happy birthdays I received, or how many friends took me out to dinner, if any. This was the first year where I didn't wait for any of that. The first year that I held my own birthday party, and even when my family took me to dinner, I picked the type of place, and also set the plan to have them tell the waitress to bring me a candle and to sing happy birthday for me. If I value these things why should I wait for others to make them happen when I am just as capable?
I am loved with and without the birthday wishes, and for the first time, I celebrated the way I wanted to, not at the mercy of those around me. 7 years after the first birthday that my family every celebrated I have learned to celebrate my own birth, and I'm glad that it happened on the first birthday that my family celebrates with me physically since my 19th birthday when they surprised me with a party for the first time.
Looking back, the most considerable difference between this year and the last few is that I was always thinking ahead of the wave, giving up everything to have a place in the water.
Today, I ride the wave and realizing that there's so much more than the water. I can be back in the sun on the beach, I can do my thing, and not only will the world carry on, but that I don't owe the world my struggle. My struggle is mine, my activism is mine, my life is mine. So, this birthday, I take me forward, not my work, not the people around me, me, because that's the priority.