I'll be honest: the 25th year of my life was the worst one yet. There's no denying it, even as I try to think of birthday niceties and reflections. I love symbolic-yet-actually-unreal "clean slates," and this one - my 26th year - might be the most necessary.
In October 2014, just after my quarter of a century, Mac's father died unexpectedly. Although Mac and I aren't a couple anymore, I spent nearly seven years with him as my partner and I'm lucky enough to call him one of my very closest friends still today. I spent those years getting to know his family, primarily his parents, and how remarkable they are; in many ways they are, still, my second family. Losing Rob was like losing a second father. I'll never forget getting off the inbound train some rainy weekday morning just after boarding, holding the phone to my face and holding myself up on the iron bars dividing me from the road, attempting not to sob in front of so many strangers. I'll never forget the late night flight that took me back to Michigan for his funeral, how clear the sky was. I'll never forget that goodbye.
October led into November and December, and the hardest winter in my memory encased me like amber, holding me hostage. The blizzard that slept over Boston for the whole of February kept me in my apartment, dazed, lethargic, and steadily losing my mind. I had a much more difficult time than I admitted transitioning into a new workplace, and a much more difficult time than I realized adjusting to an altered social life after graduation. I fell apart (in a big way), only told a handful of people, but somehow - and with many months of time and patience - found my way out of it.
In June my best friend in the universe cut me out of her life. I'm still sad about it every single day, every single hour, wishing I had gotten the chance to apologize for my dumb actions and wishing she didn't instantaneously declare me unwanted. But I can say I'm finally starting to move on, finally pulling myself out of the hole in my heart and learning how to not let it happen again. This is another event that has taken months of talking (to friends, to family, to walls, to myself), crying, stewing, and forcing resolve. I will never stop missing her, loving her, and dreaming that the old days will somehow return. But for now, a new moon.
I don't put faith in horoscopes. But last night my friend Rudine, my birthday twin, showed me our horoscope for the week.
In April 2013, just like this explains, my life changed forever when I started to re-evaluate the rest of my time in Boston. In the following months I met Josh, accepted an internship at the Press that now employs me, finished my master's, and experienced all of the aforementioned things.
"Do you even recognize who you are right now?" No, not really - what a crazy thought.
"Think of this as the final stretch of a deep transformational journey." Another crazy thought - even crazier that a horoscope is ringing so true to me on this October 13th, the 26th anniversary of my mother fighting to bring me into the world 3.5 months early.
Here's to 25, the year that taught me more about myself, heartbreak, adulthood, loneliness, family, and everything in between than ever possible in my younger years. Here's to my new moon, to transformation, to learning and moving on from my mistakes. Here's to working toward becoming a better, more self-aware yet less self-involved, and more honest person, to being unafraid to ask for help and unafraid to declare my own value. Here's to today, to 26, and to everything that's brought me here.