I’ve always hated my birthday.
Every year, I dread growing one year older.
It’s a reminder of the goals I still haven’t achieved.
Of the tasks I’ve left unfulfilled.
Of all the flaws I thought I’d have fixed by now.
Last year, on my 26th birthday, I ran away.
I shut off my phone.
Got in the car.
Drove south for hours.
And didn’t come back until midnight.
I refused to be around my friends.
I didn’t like the person I was.
I thought I’d be so much “more” at 26.
But a few weeks ago, I turned 27… and it was different.
I felt peaceful.
I felt content.
All my life I was convinced I needed to achieve x amount of goals within x time frame.
But as I looked around this year - at everyone I’d invited to my birthday dinner.
My brother, my sister, my cousin.
Thomas, Ammar and Zack.
And 20 of my closest friends.
I realized that this was it.
This was the goal all along.
This community around me.
The friends who couldn’t care less about all my uncompleted goals.
Who don’t give two shits about my accolades.
Who love me for where I’m at right now.
This is my biggest achievement in 27 years.
And for the first time in my adult life.
I was happy it was my birthday.
I was happy to turn 27.
And more than anything… I was excited at the prospect of growing older.