23

24 November 2011 § 2 Comments

I turned 23 today. It was a very normal (but nice) day: Two students didn’t show up to class, I had another class, I went climbing, and Isa treated me to a perfect pizza dinner.

Almost a flashback of last year.

This was my second (and second consecutive) birthday I didn’t spend with my family. It was the first time that my birthday fell on Thanksgiving and I wasn’t with my family to celebrate the dually special day. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be with them; it would have been really nice to be in New York.

But I had maybe the greatest phone call of my life, a video chat with all the family and friends gathered at my parents’ place. My cousins, especially, are awesome, and it was so special to see so many of them at once, even via video stream.

Last year I marveled at how much had changed in my life over one year: From 21 to 22 I spent a semester in college, graduated, spent a summer in New York, moved to a new country, started my professional life, made a whole new cast of friends, and started the relationship that would soon change my life.

From 22 to 23, much smaller things changed. I changed apartments, have made some new friends, and have sought and found new kinds of work. Luckily I haven’t lost any friends, or let too many fade too far.

But the life I began building from September to November of last year continued this year. Isa moved in with me one week before my last birthday; we’ve now been living together for a year and a week. My English teaching took me to editing, then to writing, then to journalism. My Spanish has improved a lot. I’ve embraced my life—here in Colombia, as a freelancer in a range of related fields, as a devoted boyfriend and an attentive friend—not as an adventure, but as real life, with the good and bad that comes with that. It’s been overwhelmingly good.

All this comes down to: thanks. If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of the people who has made my life so far what it is. It’s a joy. It’s more joy than anyone deserves. A lot of people who deserve joy like this don’t get it. I’m painfully aware of that, and I’m equally aware that so much of my happiness is due to things outside my control, due to the kindness of good people with great hearts.

Thanks to all of you: my perfect parents, my irreplaceable sister, my dream of a girlfriend, my rock of an extended family, all of my friends without whom I honestly couldn’t get through each day, and the army of people who have believed in and encouraged me every day of my life. I stand on your shoulders whenever I do anything, and I try to reflect and honor your love every day.

Happy Thanksgiving

24 November 2011 § 1 Comment

Enjoy with friends, family, and this classic (thanks to Raf for the reminder; the action happens after 1:15):

And this.

22

24 November 2010 § 4 Comments

I turned 22 today. It was a very normal (but nice) day: I taught three classes and in the evening met Isa, who took me to dinner for my birthday.

This was my first birthday that I didn’t spend with my family. Since my birthday always falls within a few days of Thanksgiving, I’ve always been able to spend my day with many gathered relatives–until this year, when I moved far away from them.

In the U.S. people always joke about birthdays, asking, “Do you feel older?”–than you did the day before, of course. Well, I don’t feel any older than I did yesterday, but I sure feel older than I did a year ago, and I don’t feel close to 21 anymore.

When I turned 21, I was, like many Americans, still in school. I was planning for the beyond, but that was still only an idea–or not even that–in my imagination.

Since I graduated, I’ve not only begun living on my own; I’ve moved a continent away from everyone I knew previously. I’ve not only begun working; I’ve started a financially successful and supremely rewarding young professional life. I’ve not only found a social life in a new environment; I’ve made new friends and met a dream of a girlfriend.

And how, to all of the above. This month, especially, it’s hit me that I’m a grown-up in some really good ways. This month, especially, I’ve become a grown-up in some really good ways. I calculated my budget recently and found that I’m already more than covering my costs: If I don’t begin to spend wildly, this month I should save between $500 and $600. And last weekend Isabel moved into my apartment. The arrangement is temporary, only until next month, when we’ll spend a few weeks together in New York for the holidays. (Isa’s hoping to find an apartment with her sister when she returns to Colombia early next year.) Even still, I’m cohabitating. What? Really? I’m still trying to figure out how that–how all of this–happened.

But the questions aren’t as important as the facts. My 22nd year of life was incredible, from senior year of college, through my summer at home, into this new, crazy mature existence in Bogotá.

Here’s hoping and preparing for a great 23rd year, beginning on this Thanksgiving Day, the first I’ll be spending outside the U.S., away from my family and most beloved friends.

Today and every day, I thank you all–my family, beloved friends, and everyone else in my life in any way–for everything you’ve done for and with me this past year and in my life so far. I’ll keep thanking you for all you’ll surely keep doing for me next year and beyond. Thank you.

Enjoy Thanksgiving, wherever and with whomever you’re celebrating.

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