On the eve of my 26th birthday, I am filled with infinite gratitude. Many of my friends and family have started extending their birthday greetings, and as those who came to my early birthday dinner last night raised their glasses in celebration of me, I deeply know that my birthday is not just a celebration of one. It is an occasion made possible by the people in my life who have taken care of me, challenged me, inspired me, encouraged me, and taught me how to dream throughout the years. It is another time in the year to thank my parents for the sacrifices they’ve made to place my needs and desires at the forefront.
From an energetic toddler with an tender grin, to a lighthearted and creative child, and now to a curious, determined adult, I am a product of my experiences and people I’ve encountered. Most notable are the experiences I have been afforded by people who took the time to be patient and believed in my capabilities. So to everyone in my life who have stood by me especially in times when I had been difficult, thank you. Today is a celebration of you. I consider myself a well-rounded, worldly woman because of each one of you.
Here’s to my 26th year, a year of excitement. I will be a year older, which means cakes and balloons are not to be expected anymore. Material gifts are replaced by well wishes and meaningful camaraderie. Small, delicate pieces of beauty in the form of a necklace or scarf are given in lieu of fancy gift-wrapped boxes whose value seem to be determined by its size.
To be honest, I have been anxious about being a year older for three main reasons: being farther from my carefree days of youth, physical aging, and the uncertainty of the future. Looking back, I realize there is no need to feel any anxiety. Being a year older doesn’t mean I have to relinquish the past 25 years nor do I have to give up being youthful– I’ll forever have my memories with me, and I am the sum of the experiences I’ve had in the previous years. Secondly, I only have to look at my mother and realize there is nothing to be scared of about aging. Thirdly, my fears of the uncertainty to the future are unfounded– I have the necessary toolkit to be self-sufficient, as well as the values and principles I hold dear that will guide me to the right direction.
Through the decades, my childhood was one filled with such fun, love and privilege. My teenage years were about restarting and adapting. My early twenties were marked by resilience, perseverance and a deeper understanding of my influence and what I’m capable of. Now, as I enter my late twenties, I know there will be more responsibilities, more challenges in life and work, more trials of character, and more opportunities to grow further. It is a period to embrace, another season to be bold. Another year for expression, creativity and experimentation. For relaxed diligence. For calm routines. For structured whimsy. For productive dreaming. For ambitions to be made real. For continuous learning. For new habits and innovative ways to think and grow.
If the next quarter was anything like the first, the future surely looks hopeful and bright 🙂