It was the year of finally getting out of your own way. Of surrendering the search for validation. Of throwing your hands up and letting your hair down. It was the year of stepping off the treadmill and seeking solace in the stillness. It was the year of finding refuge in the whims of the wind while you built a sanctuary out of your beautiful disasters.
It was the year of not knowing what was next. Of no longer cramming your planner with dates and reminders and minutiae, but understanding the beauty of blank canvases. It was the year you sometimes forgot to answer emails. The year of prioritizing private writing over public work. It was the year you finally learned that the words don’t move until the writer begins to dance. The words don’t sing until the writer hears the sound of her voice. The words mean little until the life is lived well.
It was the year of ombre weave and loud laughter and very few you-know-whats to give. The year of shamelessly sharing your number with men you didn’t text back. It was the year of whiskey over wine and yes over no.
It was the year of Tinder. My God, it was the year of Tinder.
It was the year of DMX’s How’s It Goin Down and Drake’s Too Good and Bey’s Don’t Hurt Yourself. It was the year of Ella Eyre’s We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off and Q-Tip’s Breathe and Stop and Adele’s Send My Love (To Your New Lover). It was the year of new music for old feelings and old music for new feelings and all of the music for all of the feelings.
It was the year of transformation. Of uprooting and undoing and upending. It was the year of your seventh apartment-this time only a few miles from DC, this time a place you finally knew you would call home.
It was the year of youth, of vibrancy, of concerts, of trap music, of turning up, of letting go.
It was the year of love. Of wedding vows and babies in bellies and that guy who finally kept a smile on your sister’s face. It was the year you told the Universe you were open to love and the year the Universe held you accountable for every single word you said.
It was the year you seriously considered what happens after Twenties Unscripted.
It was the year you knew everything would be more than OK when you chose to pack your bags, say goodbye to this Internet home, and begin the next voyage.
It was the year of leaning on others and offering shoulders for them to lean on you. It was the year of trust. Of transparency. Of real-life problems and true friendship without training wheels. It was the year of tears. Of breakthroughs. Of sunshine after storm clouds. It was the year you learned to celebrate other people’s victories just as much as your own.
It was the year you became the writer. Not the award-winning blogger. Not the author. Not the editor-in-chief. No, it was the year you became the writer – the woman behind the words, the soul at the center of the sentences.
Because it was the year you spent less time pushing the pen and more time surveying your spirit. Savoring the silence. Sinking your teeth into the morsels of your honeyed and moonlit life.
It was the year you lived. And not the kind of life you spent more than three years writing about, but the kind of life you relegated to the sidelines. The kind of colorful life you didn’t know was yours for the taking. The kind of life buzzing with feel-good vibrations. The kind of life you never caught your breath long enough to inhale.
It was the year you put the living before the writing.
And now that you know how sweet this wickedly beautiful life of yours can taste, you’ll never order the same things. You’ll never crave the same menu.
You, my love, will now always putting the life before the words.
Happy Birthday to you.