Every year since I turned 25 for the 10th time, as I approached my birthday, I’ve had a tendency to get depressed. Not because I’m sorry to be aging or to be in the land of the living. Oh no, I’m beyond grateful for life and to be alive. But like many of us have a habit of doing as we mark another year on the calendar, I usually find myself reflecting on my journey and instead of focusing on all the ways in which I’ve been blessed, I lament on all that’s missing from my life. The husband, the twin daughter and son, the luxurious house, the chocolate brown Labrador Retriever, that dream job, that “fantasy” Abraham Maslow created – self actualization.
This year again as Jan. 30 drew near, that feeling of depression started to creep up on me. But merely for a few fleeting moments. As those usual dark thoughts began to plaque my mind, I found myself going, “Hell, no, I’m in too great a space for this.” Today, for the first time in years, I start my birthday with no feelings of sadness, regrets or wishful thinking.
My day actually kicked off with me doing one of the things that I love most – writing. As the clock struck midnight, I was sitting at my desk in the newsroom working on a story that would soon top our homepage. It was a heartbreaking story about a terrorist act that took the lives of six people at a mosque in Quebec City. I find no joy in writing or hearing such stories. But the opportunity to be part of an amazing team this past year that impacts the world daily with the work we do, the stories we tell, is one of the key reasons, it’s been easy to focus on my blessings.
To say from last birthday to today’s has been an incredible chapter is an understatement. It’s been a year where I’ve had to adapt to a new home in a new city after living in my beloved Brooklyn, New York neighborhood – my adapted home for more than a decade. My move to Washington, D.C. started off challenging, but overtime, I started to develop a great appreciation for the change and to stop comparing it to New York. Because, truth be told, nothing, absolutely nothing compares to New York City.
But I can still now safely say, here in the District, I’ve found a haven.
It’s been a year, where for the first time in a long time I’ve awoken every day excited about going to work, loving what I do at work, enjoying the team with which I work. A year where I’ve found myself saying repeatedly, “I have my dream job.” Thank you NPR.
It’s been a year where I was hurt in the worst way by two of my dearest family members. A lesson learnt in forgiveness and rebuilding a bond so badly broken, ensued.
A year in which I’ve lost a few people I cherished, key among them my maternal grandmother, Doreen.
It’s been year where I was reminded how much I hate dating, a year of having to kiss a few more frogs and finding that none of them turned into a prince. But more importantly, it’s been a year where I reconnected with the man I’ve long considered the love of my life, who, in his inimitable way, reaffirmed my belief that’s he the best and most amazing man I’ve ever had. He’s a timely and much-needed reminder that I’ve been loved, am loved and worthy of unconditional unrequited love.
Sure, there were some tears, fears, frustrations, mistakes and disappointments throughout the year, but they added to helping me get to know me better.
It’s been a year where I’ve continued to improve my health and fitness, to grow closer to my mom, enhance my bond with relatives and my dearest friends. Moreover, it’s been a year where I’ve strengthened my faith, built a better relationship with God, prayed and praised Him more and been truly feeling His joy totally restored to my life.
So for all these reasons and more, for my first birthday in eons, I find it easy to refuse to focus on what I do not have. The following quote totally resonates with me:
“Sometimes pain becomes such a huge part of your life that you expect it to always be there, because you can’t remember a time in your life when it wasn’t. But then one day you feel something else. Something that feels wrong only because it’s so unfamiliar and in that moment you realize you’re happy.” – One Tree Hill
Indeed, today, I am happy. I am joyful. I have complete peace of mind. On this my 25th birthday – again, I’m hopeful about my future, claiming all the blessings I know God has in store for me and fully cognizant that my timing isn’t His timing and that He’s working all things together for my good. Today, more than ever, I say, “Thank you God for everything.”
P.S. Happy birthday to my dear sister Sancia! Love you!😘🙏🏾
~ I Keep it Irie ~