Thunder's clapping. Rain spattering on the window. Brief flashes of lightning. As I write this, I take a deep breath and smile for all the things I'm grateful for.
I tend to get pretty emotional during my birthday. I tend to be deep in thought. Just about everything, y'know? This is, after all, an end to another year lived.
I have a, what some may call odd, birthday ritual. Around this time of the year, I'll go to McDonalds by myself and order a Happy Meal with a plain cheeseburger: just bun, cheese, and patty. Nothing else. Simple, straight to the point.
As I eat this cheeseburger, I reflect on my life thus far. I reminisce about some of the good times, some bad times. And I reassess where I am. Whether I'm happy with where I'm at. Whether I'm happy with who I've become. The cheeseburger plain? Well, it reminds me of my childhood. When I was younger, every weekend, we'd go to a McDonalds nearby. And well, that was the only thing I'd ever eat from there. And then I grew up.
This is me feeding my inner child. The rawest, purest form of myself devoid of all the walls that society has built around it over time. The deep reflection happens as I break those walls down, even for a brief moment.
Here's the thing: early 2019, I had everything figured out.
2020: get a house
2021: get married
But this time last year, everything changed. And the schedule? Well, there's no longer a schedule. A day or so after my cheeseburger moment, I'd submitted my 8-month notice of resignation. I'd come to realize that nobody really has it all figured out, and I was egotistical to think that I did.
Maybe I'm going through some sort of crisis. I'd already said to myself that if this were my midlife crisis, then I'd expect only to live till I was fifty-two. Every year afterwards would be considered a bonus. Until then, I have to live out the only life I've got. On my own terms.
Today, I'm happier, healthier, and I wake up everyday to a feeling of liberation. I go for morning walks. I meditate. I've even just launched a product that I built after leaving my job. It's funny, I started wearing glasses around this time last year. I once joked that it's helped me see my life more clearly. And it sure did.
Here's how I see it (pun may be intended): at some points in our lives, we forget who truly are. And then at other points, we scramble to find ourselves again. Like phoenixes, we're trapped in a perpetual cycle of death and rebirth. And on my last birthday, that cycle had begun anew.
This is rebirth. Happy birthday.
💵 Balance: $18467 (🔻 $729)