It’s my birthday!! I’m 21! Woo hoo!

Kidding. I’m that weird, unspecial age that means nothing except that I’m officially in my late twenties: 27. Aren’t I supposed to feel really adulty by now? Should I not still love Taylor Swift? Should I eat breakfast? Should I understand the stock market? Should I not have crushes on 19-year-olds in my friends’ wedding parties?  I’M NOT READY TO BE HERE. Daddddd help.

If I learned one thing from my big sister in my sorority (Phi Mu- LIOB <3), it’s that you should have no shame in celebrating your birthday and making sure that everybody else does, too. I used to pretend to be coy and slipped the fact that it was my birthday into conversations, then acted surprised when people cared. My big, however, would tell people at least a week or two ahead of time that she was excited about her upcoming day of birth. She’d give daily reminders the week of her birthday, and on the day itself, she would look at you with bright eyes until you realized that she didn’t hear a word you said because you had not yet said Happy Birthday. It was an inspiring display of confidence. Since then, I’ve decided to let my enthusiasm out of its cage and own up to the fact that I get really excited on my birthday. I love love, and birthdays are such a great opportunity to soak up all of the love from family and friends! And soak it in, I do.

Silliness and narcissism aside, I woke up this morning feeling incredibly lucky. As I fell asleep last night, I kept thinking about how grateful I am to have lived 27 years. So many people don’t get to experience this many years on earth, much less this many years with an extraordinary family, unconditional and lasting friendships, comfortable surroundings, and a healthy body. Each year of my life has presented me with challenges ranging from heartbreak to death, monumental experiences ranging from becoming Miss New York to working in leper colonies in India, and lessons to improve my character, relationships, and wellbeing. The fact that God decided to let me get this far and live a life full of adventure, passion, and development is a gift I try to remember on a daily basis…but it’s sure easier to zone in on His blessings on my birthday!

Today, I got to wake up knowing that I live three minutes from my favorite people on earth who happen to be my family, happy to go to a job that lets me live in an amazing apartment on the beach, feeling special and cared for by my [super hot, intelligent, and fun-loving] boyfriend (waitwhat), looking forward to dinner with amazingly bright-spirited and giving friends, and passionate about writing, horseback riding, singing, and loving other people. That’s a pretty spectacular way to wake up.

Each year, my heart is more full to the point that I fear it may explode by age 30. But if that means my life continues to be bombarded by love and growth, it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

So thanks to all who have already made today special, and cheers to 27!!

(This is me cheersing you with a birthday crown and a martini in hand…as it should/always will be.)