I hate the word busy. I avoid it as much as possible, but there is no denying that I have been busy lately. I am in the final push toward finishing my degree, but what has really put me behind is my wonderful, much anticipated 35th birthday celebration week with my friends.
As many of you know, I grew up in Canada and moved away when I was 18 years old. Since then, I have only gone back one time, in 2011, and I was excited to use my 35th birthday as a way to reunite with some friends and celebrate.
I had three Canadian guests arrive to celebrate. One is my best friend, who makes a nearly annual visit to me each year, but that doesn't make her visit any less special. One was another friend from high school who has visited me twice before, but I have not seen her since my 2011 visit to my hometown. And the third, a friend I have had since I was 12 years old, who I also last saw in 2011. However, with her, what was special was seeing her reunite with my sister, as they have not seen one another in 16 years.
The week I had with them allowed me to let loose and be a teenager again in some ways (which was totally contradictory to the pressure I have had with school and work), but it also allowed me to be a tourist in my own state for a while.
Over the course of their visit, we went on a couple short road trips, visited sites and cities I had never been to before, went for scenic walks, braved the intense heat together, and had some intimate home cooked meals. I shared with them my love for the Impractical Jokers, and they shared their stories with me, catching up on lost time.
During my celebration week (which was actually a bit longer than a week), I also got some much needed alone time. Twice a day, I went for long walks, enjoying the sun and the solitude. I had time to reflect on what turning 35 meant to me, what I have achieved with my life so far, what I hope to achieve in the next five years, ten years and so on.
It was bittersweet to send them home, knowing full well that it could be years before we meet face to face again. But the memories of this trip will live on in our hearts and in the pictures and videos we took so liberally!
I do not have a large number of friends, but I feel so blessed that I have a few that are so kind and supportive of me that they would take the time and cost of coming to celebrate a birthday with me. It was a truly memorable week, and a great way to kick off turning 35!