Happy Birthday self, you’re another year older.
You’re a year older, but are you wiser too? Did you make the most of 26? Are you a better person coming out on the other side?
It’s okay to admit that 26 was a bit of a rocky year; no beach is composed completely of sand. There were times of intense heartbreak and crippling letdown, but you lived to tell about it, didn’t you? And not only is your heart still beating, but it’s stronger and more aware.
This was the year the training wheels came off and no one was holding on to the back of your seat to keep it upright. Alone and far from home, this was the year you fully created a new home. More people moved out of your life than in, but what of it? You’ve managed to irrevocably knot your heart strings to those who’ve earned a place there. They’re better people for it. You’re better for it.
All those things you love about yourself? People love those about you too. And the rough spots? Well, people may see those too, but you’re your own harshest critic Nat. You know that, now remember it in year twenty-seven.
Surely there are moments in the last year you wish you could take back, but because you can’t go back and change it, there’s no use feeling regret or disappointment. Move on and use historical data to project future outcomes. A year just past. Don’t let it be in vain.
Riding on your own has also allowed you to experience breathtaking views. Moments so grand your breath was taken completely away and in its place settled a general feeling of rightness. Not only celestial experiences surrounded by loved ones, but also irreplaceable moments steeped in the silence of independence. This is the year you learned to fully love and appreciate you. That gift is impossible to purchase or give, but is earned through struggle and perseverance. If the rocky roads were payments credited toward this ultimate treasure, they’re roads worth taking again, aren’t they?
This is the lesson you should remember from year twenty-six.
On the last night of your twenty-sixth year, you open a card from your grandparents. “We applaud your success and think you are brave,” it says. Your heart warms not only because you feel the collective support of those who’ve had a hand in forming the mold, but also because for the first time ever, you believe it too.
And that’s something you feel good about. A worthwhile year. May this next year be as good as the last.