Birthdays are an annual celebration of life, and serve as a reminder of how far someone has come in their journey. And a 25th birthday can be a big deal in many people’s eyes, marking that someone has made it to a quarter of a century. But what if your 25th birthday falls during the middle of a global pandemic of a deadly virus that has basically shut down the entire world? What’s a chick supposed to do then?
Today, April 7th, is my birthday. My 25th birthday to be exact. Jackie Chan, Russel Crowe, Billie Holiday, James Garner, Francis Ford Coppola, and many more share their birthdays with yours truly, leaving me in very good company. My favorite number (yes, I have a favorite number), has always been 7, mostly due to the fact of its shape. It’s like 7 could have been shaped like 1, but it decided to go a different route. April is a month that can hold a plethora of different temperatures and it own mini seasons, never giving away beforehand what it’s going to do with the weather. It keeps its cards close to its nonexistent chest, ready to make a surprise. I was born on the perfect day.
I never thought that I would make it to the age of 25. As a teen, I never even thought that I would make it to my 18th birthday. In my mind, I could never see myself getting older, a sad fact that was probably caused by tumultuous mental health issues. But, lo and behold, I am still here, officially in my mid-twenties. I guess you could say that I’m a “real” adult, thought I would probably counter that notion. Either way, I’m just trying to navigate life as best as I can, and make it a good one in the end.
When I graduated college early at the age of 21, I had an unstructured idea of what I wanted to do with my life. Writing and photography were my main passions, and I knew without a doubt that I wanted to travel the globe and experience as much as I could. Making money became a new priority that I hadn’t given much thought to before, a somewhat naive attitude for someone getting into the workforce. I worked hard to graduate college early sot hat Ic old start a life free from the unwanted structure of classes and lectures. I was going to be an adventurer: one for this history books.
Of course, life never goes according to plan. Post-graduation life was difficult to say the least, one punctuated by many failed jobs and uncertainty. I searched and searched for jobs that fit into my passions, but being a new graduate, it was hard to find. But life gave me something new and unexpected to discover, a phenomenon that I thought would never come into my life: romance.
Your girl got herself a man. A man who was of a different race, nine years older, and a lover of many things that I didn’t understand. I never really expected for our relationship to work, but nearly four years later, we are still together with more love and hope in our hearts than before. And I found a trusted partner that I could go on adventures with. We travelled cross-country for two weeks to the state of Washington and back to Ohio, seeing the natural beauties of mountains, plains, and the Pacific Ocean. A year later we travelled to the Caribbean island of Barbados, immersing ourselves in a somewhat different culture than our own and enjoying the beautiful tropical weather during the month of December.
My early twenties have been filled with personal discovery and a number of difficulties. If you’ve been a longtime reader of my blog, you are probably well aware of what my struggles have been. Mental illness is no easy beast to battle, and leading up to my 25th birthday I have had to fight for my mind every single day. And while it’s been the fight of my life, in the deepest part of my heart I know that it has made me a stronger and better person. I will struggle with these issues for the rest of my time on Earth, but I would not change it.
Turning 25 during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic has given me the gift of self assessment and reflection.. Yes, my life isn’t what I imagined it would be, but I am still living and that is a gift to celebrate. My life has been full of many adventures both big and small, and they will continue on as I get older. My passion for writing, photography, and creativity has grown and matured, leading me to not only use it for myself, but to inspire others. Sharing my mental health struggles and promoting mental wellness through the art of Tai Chi have been added to my life’s mission. All of these passions are coming together to help give me a purpose that is both rich and fulfilling. Life isn’t perfect, but to have it in the first place is a gift like no other.
So to anyone who is also celebrating their birthday on April 7th, I wish you a happy and safe birthday. Times are crazy right now, and things probably aren’t going like you thought they would, but that’s okay. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just go with the flow and accept the experiences as they come. Take care of yourself and let the people in your life know that you love them. And don’t forget: tell the person in the mirror that you love them too.