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Birthday Reflections: Another 30-Something Birthday

One year later & everything seemed the same.

As the holiday season kicked off in late 2023, I was preparing to close out another in my 30s. I don’t know about you but I expect milestone birthdays to guarantee noticeable shifts in my life. I started celebrating my birthday in 2022 telling my Homeboy upstairs ( aka God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, my G!) all the things that needed to change because I was done with things as is. Have you ever heard the perspective that when you pray for something, God prepares you for it? And by prepare I mean frustrate the living crap out of you with challenges, trials and what I consider pure entertainment for the heavens at times.

Despite my ultimatum, my next birthday was around the corner and everything looked the same. The job, the apartment and the relationship status. And yet, it felt different.

I decided to spend the days leading up to my birthday reflecting on the year. Here are my words and memories of 2023:

Reflection 1: How do I actually feel about turning a year older?
It’s my birthday week! The older I get the more I find myself being anxious for my birthday. So this year, I thought I would take some time to process all the feels as they come and intentionally reflect.

This photo was taken on my birthday last year. I treated myself to a solo weekend getaway and was enjoying a mimosa while I waited for a spa treatment. While it was great and I was grateful to be able to do this for myself, the feeling I feel now, I felt then: Hesitation.

Birthdays always feel like they should be a big deal. Like there is some magical shift waiting to happen on that one day in the year. And often times when we don’t see or feel anything, it can be disappointing. My impression has always been that it was the one day a year where the spotlight was on me and I got to indulge in the grandeur of it all. But reality is that over the years my birthdays opted for subtlety instead. And that’s okay, there’s a beauty in the underrated.

I know this year has changed me many ways, and yet the feeling is the same: Hesitation. Logically I know things are always shifting, changing, evolving but I’m ready to see some tangible changes and maybe the hesitation is stemming from impatience? Who knows.

Reflection 2 : What was one of my happiest memories this year?

Going to Europe with my Mama this summer and treating her to a few luxuries..including flying business class.

Now I know this might not seem like a big deal to some of you but it’s something I’ve wanted to treat her to for a long time and I’m so happy I got to share this with her this year.

Storytime: When I was 17 years old I told my parents I wanted to apply for college in the US. Now if you are unfamiliar with the JA to US exchange rate, it’s alot! I knew sending me would be a stretch but my mom was always supportive and made sure I was set. I remember showing up a few days before classes started and she was opening a package which turned out to be a brand new laptop for me! Now I may be dating myself here but back in the day every household had one family computer that we shared. Owning a laptop was not on my radar when starting college (seems silly I know). But that is my mom, always making sure I had what I needed and what would make me most comfortable… often times before I even knew.

I can never repay her for all her sacrifices love and support but maaaaan to be able to have new experiences with her and put a smile on that face, made me happy.

Bucket List item for sure ✅

Reflection 3: What was my biggest lesson this year?

Discomfort is a sneaky lil b!

If nothing else, 2023 will go down as the most uncomfortable year for me from all angles. Career, life, relationships. For a long time I made decisions based on what would keep comfortable and “safe”. On my birthday last year I told God I wasn’t happy in many areas of my life and needed things to change.

Be careful what you pray for. If you’re expecting one of those “this is what it turned out to be” stories. Sorry to disappoint. I’m still damn uncomfortable and in many ways I feel like I’m neck deep in the transition. I keep praying and asking God to just let me blink and make it to the other side. But like my request for a Life Instructions Manual, Homeboy upstairs acting like He don’t hear me.

But what keeps me going is:

If I don’t do anything, nothing changes …but if I don’t do anything, nothing changes.

Reflection 4: What am I letting go of?

  • Need to be perfect
  • the idea of what my life would look like at this age
  • My outdated expectations

“Be yourself. An original is so much better than a copy darling”.

Final Birthday Reflection 2023:

Looking back on this past year with smiles and respect. I’m glad I went through it and glad it’s behind me. But I love that I get to keep all the goodness I got from this year:

new friends, new memories with family and a healthy dose of clarity.

I hope it inspires you or at the very least gives you comfort that we all go through it sometimes and birthdays are a complicated thing.

Here’s to the next chapter. 🥂



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