As long as I could remember, the countdown to my birthday started the day after it passed. I’ve always been someone that has been very vocal about my birthday approaching and made sure everyone was well-informed of the date. This year has been filled with challenges, growth and learning opportunities. It has caused me to completely change my thought pattern as I approach my 30th birthday. I usually only think about myself on my birthday, reflecting on things like my accomplishments for the year, my gift expectations, and constantly checking Facebook to see who has sent birthday wishes. When I was a kid, I celebrated for a day. As a teenager, I celebrated for the week. Now, I see the trend is to celebrate for a month, but this year has been a bit different.

As my birthday approaches, I’ve taken a lot of time to reflect on my 30 years of life. I think about all of the people that have helped me get here and then I think about how some weren’t able to see their 30th birthday at all for various reasons. Although I’m thankful every day to see another day, let alone my 30th year, it saddens me that it’s considered such a blessing to see 30 years and how hard it is to make it this far for some instead of being a natural expectation. We all assume that we will see the next day as we make plans for the future, but tomorrow is never promised.

On my 30th birthday, I want to thank everyone that has helped me see this day. I have to thank my parents of course, but many say, “It takes a village.” So, I say thank you to you if you have helped me to make the right decisions and even those that participated in my making the wrong decisions as well. Thank you for that piece of advice you’ve offered and thank you for that argument too. Thank you if you were part of the good days and thank you if you were the reason for the bad days. You have all added character and experience to my journey to 30 and I must say it has truly been a blessing. Thank you to each of you for helping me to see my 30th Birthday. On your next birthday, don’t forget to say “Thanks.”

Cheers to you!