365 days ago, I cried on my birthday because I was afraid that I hadn’t accomplished enough in the last year. I was 31 and in the past year, I hadn’t gotten a raise, earned a promotion, found the love of my life, or had babies. I was in exactly the same place I’d been the year before. It’s not that I wasn’t accomplished, but it felt like my life had moved nowhere in 12 months.
This year, though, the only tears I had were ones of appreciation. I had thoughtful texts, phone calls, Facebook posts, and in-person time from best friends, family members, friends from the past, and cute boys. I’ve had goose bumps of happiness for the past few days, starting with the boozy brunch I had with 9 of my Chicago girlfriends on Saturday and continuing to the cookie cake my coworkers surprised me with today, the 105 (and counting) Facebook posts, dinner and shopping with my parents, and countless personal texts and phone calls from around the world.
While all of the things I cried about on my last birthday haven’t changed (still no babies, still no love, still a small paycheck), I’ve become more accepting of this. My biggest accomplishment…y’all this might sound crazy…is giving up online dating. Because I haven’t focused my time on swiping left or right, I’ve joined multiple volunteer organizations (shout out to MEF, Emerald City Theatre, Wanderful, and Mikva Challenge!!), made more friends, joined a gym, and made a lot more time for the activities I actually enjoy doing. Fittingly enough, I’ve also met a handful of guys in real life.
Within the last 525,600 minutes (did you totally just sing this, because I did :D), I have also had the fabulous opportunity to travel to tons of places: Cayman Islands, Tucson, Dallas, Mackinac Island, and Mexico. In true Ashley fashion, in the next year I also have plenty of upcoming travel on the books: Dallas (again!), New York City, Cambodia (fingers crossed), Colorado, and Switzerland.
There is something really magical and glorious about birthdays. I don’t adore showers of attention on me, but I do love that birthdays bring people together. Birthdays are a chance to show your love, fondness, or appreciation for people.
Friends and family, you have made my birthday week smashing! Thank you for all of the love and kind words. Cheers to another 365 days of fun, travel, and growth.