Last week I turned thirty-one. I made the executive decision to forgo schoolwork. Instead, we walked down the boardwalk with my mom, sister, and niece. We got coffee and ate pumpkin cheesecake for breakfast. We shopped at my favorite market, buying mums and pumpkins, apples and cheddar. It was a quiet, ordinary way to spend the dawn of a new year, and it was exactly what my heart desired.
My family crowded my table for a birthday dinner prepared by mom and sister Claire that evening. All felt right in my world. I love a lot of people and sometimes loving them is hard, sad work. It's easy to lose sight of the joy, or to try to abstain from it in an attempt at solitary. It can feel selfish to be happy when people you love aren't. But last Wednesday, I was filled with the overwhelming sense that this is going to be a good year, for me and for the ones I love.