This year I spent my birthday feeling a little out of sorts. All of my very best friends in New York gave me lovely presents and surprises, but for most of the day I was alone in this big city I am trying to call home.
I felt like I should feel lucky to have the day off on my birthday—a Tuesday, no less—and I should be happy exploring New York by myself, because I have always dreamed of living here and now I do. But the truth is, I felt lonely and overwhelmed despite my best efforts to feel otherwise.
This led to me getting upset with myself for not being happier, more thankful, more well-adjusted. It went like this: first, I got upset at myself for not feeling like a New Yorker and for wondering if I’m not cut out for this place after all. Then, I got upset at myself because isn’t living in New York and hating it the biggest cliché of all?
This emotional catch-22 lasted until I talked to a girl on her way to get a tattoo symbolic of her hometown. She told me she was moving back home after living here for a year and wanted to get something to remind her that she’d come to New York for a reason. ‘It wasn’t to live here; it was to realize how much I love home.’
Just writing that puts me at ease. When I mulled it over, I realized the reason I came to New York was to grow. I may not have a favorite restaurant or a dream job, but I am certainly learning something and striving to be a better person every day. And this is exactly what I want my life to be about.
When I think about my twenty-third birthday, I hope I’ll remember this lesson…and one of my favorite birthday parties ever. (It happened the Friday after my birthday.)
Do you want to see pictures? Okay!
Thanks to Jess and Tasha for the majority of these pictures. Thanks to all my friends and family for a terrific birthday, overall.