Happy Birthday To Me!

Today is my 31st birthday.

Legally, I am old enough to drive and to vote. I can buy alcohol or cigarettes. I can carry a concealed weapon. I can rent a car. (I cannot, however, be elected President of the United States. Bonus points to anyone who knows why!)

I suppose I should have some kind of philosophical observation about this, but I don’t. I’m a year older and, I think, a little bit wiser, though I know I still have much to learn.

I don’t feel like I’m 31 years old. Truthfully, I feel like I’m just figuring out how to be a teenager. I am both physically and emotionally stronger than I’ve ever been in my life. I am loving life in a way I didn’t know was possible.

I truly believe I lost my late adolescence and early 20s while I was recovering from my accident. It’s been a long and difficult process, and medically speaking, it will never end. But at the same time, I’m incredibly proud of how far I’ve come. I’ve found that defying expectations is a lot of fun.

Life is unpredictable, and it’s safe to say I did not expect that I would wind up where I am now. I live with my parents – an arrangement that we all enjoy – and work as a freelance writer. I have a bachelor’s degree in education, which is ironic because I have no desire to be a teacher, but which proved to my therapists and doctors that I COULD, in fact, graduate college.

I was born and raised in the United States, but I’ve lived in west Africa and visited a couple dozen nations in Asia, Europe, and Central America. I love traveling and learning about the world.

Dorthy was right when she tapped her ruby slippers together, though. There’s no place like home! I love my hometown. As a youth, I could not imagine living here as an adult and planned to move away as soon as possible. As an adult, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

I am happily, blissfully single. I have no children and no boyfriend. In fact, I really can’t remember the last time I went out on a date! It’s been several years – maybe as long as eight or nine. As I get older, I’ve found that I’m just not that interested in playing the game. Don’t get me wrong – if Prince Charming came along, I would gladly let myself be swept off my feet. In the meantime, I would rather spend my time writing, building my career, and challenging myself physically.

I’ve been running for four years now. I hated running as a child, but began running soon after my 27th birthday when several people who I thought were my friends showed me otherwise. They’ll never know how thankful I am. The emotional devastation they caused pushed me to make the best choice of my life.

Running has changed myself, my body, and my life in so many great ways. I’ve run three half-marathons and several shorter races. I’ve discovered that, to my surprise, I love running more than I love racing. Sometimes, a long solo run can fix every other problem in life.

I’m quite the homebody. When I was younger, I thought I was a party person. Turns out I was wrong! Outside of a few rare exceptions, I would rather stay at home with a good book than go to a party.

I have discovered the absolute joy of living so close to one of the best library systems in the nation. I don’t know why I didn’t appreciate it more when I was young.

I have the best family in the world, hands down. My parents and my older sister are incredible. They’ve never given up on me, even when it wasn’t easy. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for being so incredible.

This is me. 31 years old and loving every minute of it.