I’m 27! Today has been a good birthday so far, and I’m heading to dinner with great friends, so I think it’ll end well too.

I can’t post triumphantly this year, but I also don’t want to sound apocalyptic. This has been a difficult year. On personal, professional, and other fronts (physical? emotional? both and more), happiness was often more elusive than in other recent years. At the worst times, there was anxiety, frustration, confusion, sadness, and loss. None of those was constant, but each made a strong appearance in year 27. Of course, I’ve been quite happy too—a year is a long time, full of millions of moments—as many of you have seen. Indeed, the credit for that belongs to you.

Today I’m grateful—as I am whenever I reflect on time gone by—for how I’ve grown. I’m a better, stronger person today than I was a year ago. I believe I understand more about myself and the world around me, and I’m so appreciative of that. I’ve said for years that I’ve never wanted to be younger, and I’ve always wanted to be older. Someday that feeling will probably end, but I still feel it through 27. Cliche or no, older for me means wiser. It means more secure in mind, more capable, and more confident—if not in where I’m heading, at least in the belief that I’ll make a good path, re-routing as necessary, learning constantly along the way.

For some time when I was younger, I thought I didn’t really need other people to be happy. If that was ever true, it couldn’t be more false now. More than I sometimes wish were the case, I’m reliant on the people in my life to make me smile, to make me cheerful and content and firmly at peace. So to all of you who showed me love this year, thank you. I’ll always be thankful for what you’ve given me. I’ll always be thankful for your love.

Thanks to everyone who shared birthday wishes today, and happy Thanksgiving to you all.

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