It’s June 5th! Happy birthday to me!

It seems as though people have varied opinions on birthdays. Some loathe the thought of turning another year older. Others completely ignore the fact that their birthday is even occurring. If you’re like me, you welcome it. I love my birthday for lots of reasons. I love hearing from those so dear to me. I love doing special things, like dining out at that place you’ve heard great things about or being surprised with an event, like a night of jazz at Lincoln Center (props to my boyfriend for that treat last year!). But what I love most is reflecting on what I’ve accomplished over the course of the past year. I make it a point to spend time on my birthday to look through photos from the year, ticket stubs, playlists, and my journal to recap how much I’ve done since this time last year.

On the cusp of 24 and a few weeks after completing graduate school, a close friend told me that every year on her birthday she reviews goals she set from the previous year. She explained that she thinks about the ways in which she challenged herself to continue to grow and learn, and then establishes her goals for the next year. I remember thinking – what a great idea! We set yearly goals for work – so why don’t more people set yearly goals for their personal life? Ever since then, I started making birthday goals. I make sure not to set goals that are unrealistic, like make a million dollars or become a size 00. I do my best to set goals that will help make me a better, happier person.

Sometimes my goals are ambiguous. Last year, I set a goal to “be free.” I didn’t quite know what that even meant at the time when I wrote it, but I felt a struggle in my personal life that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. In early February, an opportunity came up where I could fly to London for a long weekend – and I did it. I literally became a jet setter by allowing myself to be free and just do it. I booked my ticket on a Sunday (after getting a vacation day for Friday approved from my supervisor) and flew out on the Thursday night red eye. What a thrill that was! It was one of the highlights of my year.

London

The queen wasn’t home.

Instead of moaning and groaning about turning another year older, I celebrate what I have accomplished in a year’s time and welcome the challenge of figuring out how to achieve my new goals for the year to come.

What’s one of the goals I’ve established for myself this year? Learn how to speak Mandarin. I have Rosetta Stone – I just need to commit to the time and effort it will take.

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