Twenty-four bears no resemblance to 21 (spent on hovered over the toilet with a mean hangover) or even 22 (spent dancing at a club to hip-hop music). Twenty-three was a glimpse of quieter birthdays — filling my 4-month-old growing fetus with Thai food, cake, and sparkling juice while watching movies on my laptop in my pajamas. Boy, does time really change things up.

Today, I force myself to reflect while drinking a cold cup of coffee before naptime ends and my day is spent trying to keep my daughter from sticking her fingers in outlets. Life is drastically different, and I feel mildly selfish taking a moment to think about, dare even celebrate, myself. This birthday feels particularly funny because I am having an incredibly difficult time accepting that I’m expected to feel special. Going from being a single person trekking the world on your own accord to caring for a small family changes your perspective on life. As I write this, it’s 10:30pm on a Friday evening and I distinctly remember that 2 years ago, this was the time I’d walk over to a local bar and begin the night. I loved it. But life is different now. As I try and find suitable words of summation, I am winding down to cuddle with my 8-month-old daughter as we fall asleep together. And I love it.  

At the end of my birthday, I blew out a candle, and I forgot to make a wish because I couldn’t think of any single wish that would make me more satisfied than I am right now. I’m healthy, and so is my family. We have some not-so-good days, but mostly great days. And my family, by extension, has grown tremendously. And so has my capacity to appreciate and love others. And in my opinion, I couldn’t imagine 24 looking or feeling better. 

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