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"Smile Because It Happened": Birthday Reflection

Today is my birthday. As I reflect on my life’s journey that has brought me to where I am today, I think about the people, places, and things that are no longer in my life. Indeed, for many of us, this has been a year unlike any other, marked by a deluge of loss, etched with regrets—“If only I had...”

I’ve been battling depression since I was 14. In many ways, I consider myself a warrior—a true Aries ruled by Mars—always reaching into my “resiliency gene” that helps me to get back in the proverbial saddle. My spirituality and creativity, too, have been my steadfast companions on this path of intermittent struggle—a path that is at times obfuscated by my own perceptions. As one of my former professors once said to me in a fit of frustration, seeing my potential spark for a moment then extinguish before catching fire, “Stop getting in the way of yourself!”

These past two weeks have been particularly challenging for me—yet I persist, sitting for daily meditation, counting my breaths, being in the moment now, logically aware that in this physical reality past experiences only live in the mind—reframing, repositioning, redoubling my efforts—then, I see this moment drift away with my breath.

Life is nothing more than a living scrapbook of experiences. All material attributes will inevitably fall away. What we take with us when we finally depart this plane are the memories of those we loved and the wondrous things we experienced. As I breathe in all the good memories of my life so far—the memories I choose to celebrate and to hang on to—I am reminded of all those I love—I am reminded of my tribe. This includes the beautiful beings I have had the privilege of connecting with on this platform, some of whom I envision as part of my tribe. So today, I am grateful for all those who have touched my life in some way—those of you whom I’ve known for decades, and those of you whom I’ve just met—thank you for being in my life. It means more to me than you could ever imagine.

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