Though I knew my birthday wasn't going to be a particularly festive occasion, I didn't think it would be quite as tough as it really was. It's funny though, how difficult moments are so enlightening, and how we often come out of the toughest days not depleated and pessimistic, but stronger and more excited about opportunities ahead.
The best thing about my 23rd birthday was never going to be the breakfast in bed, the lunchtime glass of chenin blanc on a sunny terrace, the piles of presents and cards on the table, or the merry gathering of friends and too much food and drink. Actually, one of the best things about my birthday was the realization that these things never are the best thing about a birthday; because the day was filled with everything that really matters on a birthday, and it took a day without balloons, presents and merriment to make that really clear!
As I sat alone at the breakfast table on Thursday morning and opened a package sent by one of my most wonderful friends, I realized that I need to be better at who I am. The beautifully hand-written letter and the thoughtful gift very nearly brought me to tears (it's been one of those weeks), and this was just the very first in a long line of moments which wrung out my heart and caused some intense introspection. I was completely humbled by the thoughtfulness of friends; once again I see how much bigger than myself my life is, and I want to live more out there, and less in here.
After an emotionally fraught day, I spent the evening with Daniel, who showered me in love and spoiled me rotten. He cooked a delicious meal, bought me way too many lovely gifts and shared the most delicious cake with me, and I fell asleep feeling like the luckiest 23-year-old in the world; a lucky 23-year-old who must make some changes if this is to continue.
So, for my twenty-fourth year, I have lined up a set of new intentions, in light of the way I felt throughout my birthday. I intend to spend more time with friends, to write more, to laugh more, to share moments with people I love and have more moments be shared with me. I want to enjoy other people's company and I want to get to know the people I already think I know better. I have some really incredible friends, many of them long-distance, and the time we could spend together were they closer-by can still be spent enjoying our friendship, with a pen and paper, or a phone, or even a note to say 'hello'.
Some birthday photos from my evening being spoiled rotten: