What better than a pink sombrero to bring in my 26th year in style?

Celebrating birthdays in a new place can lead to a host of emotions—enthusiasm, joy, freedom, anxiety, or even nostalgia. This year, it was yet another reminder of how much can change in a year. In fact, if there is any date that should be an unbiased marker of a year’s change, it should be a birthday.

Unfortunately, depending on my mood, my birthday can also be an opportunity to remember much less pleasant happenings that took place on the same day in years past. But whenever I sense myself slipping into another nostalgic spin, I now quote the words of my smart friend’s wise father:

Each day will be the anniversary of something.

There’s no sense in moping about what happened two years ago today or four years ago tomorrow, because doing that every day neither makes sense nor feels very helpful. This is especially the case when the “anniversary” is of something unpleasant. Well, at the time, the occasion might not have been unpleasant, but that’s the problem with reminiscing, isn’t it? Even the happy memories can make a person not so happy upon reflection.

So this year, I actually forgot the other, non-birthday-related events that took place on my birthday five, seven, or however many years ago. This year, it was an opportunity to relax, to realize that I have a “people” in Florida now, and to appreciate all of the growth I’ve made over the year.

I was enthusiastic about my birthday last year, but this year, I was grateful. Slight differentiation, big difference. Last year, Florida was new. This year, it was home.