Ten years ago on my 21st birthday, I was sitting in a memorial service for one of my best friends. Oddly enough, death wasn’t foreign to me growing up, and at the time I had also just lost two other significant people in my life in each month prior that year. But it was the first time loosing a peer, and that was the first time I questioned my own mortality. Its one of those situations where you knew it was a possibility that he might not come home from a tour in Iraq; you just don’t believe it’ll ever be your reality. For the past 10 years celebrating my birthday has been bittersweet. My life is filled with love, and its a blessing i don’t take for granted. But its still been a struggle to celebrate life and not think about the ones that were cut short. Only now, at 31, am I able to fully realize the opportunity of life, and the paralyzing effect that comes from guilt dwelling on something I have no control over.

Something clicked for me at 30. It feels different, there’s a new clarity, and a better understanding of self. More importantly, the realization that how I live and how I give can forever be a living tribute to those who have had a significant impact on my life.

Maybe you’ll see this, maybe you won’t but that doesn’t mean you had any less of an impact on me. For all your love, support, encouragement, and guidance, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I truly appreciate every single bit of it.


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