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22nd October
written by Michelle

I happen to think birthdays are kind of a big deal. I don’t mean huge celebrations and fancy gifts, but I do think they are important markers in someone’s life. They offer a chance to celebrate and remember where you’ve been and where you’re going.

This birthday seems somewhat significant only because I remember exactly what happened one year ago. I cried. Yep, I cried on my birthday. I know the song says, “It’s my party and I can cry if I want to” but usually I think birthdays are better celebrated without tears. For my birthday last year I went out to my favorite little beachside restaurant in Santa Barbara with two of my best friends. And while we were sitting over burgers and beers one of them asked, “So, what are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?”

Something Needed to Change

It’s a simple, very appropriate birthday-ish question. But I froze, because the truth is I couldn’t answer it. I tried to swallow back the lump in my throat and squeeze back the tears, but my attempt was futile. The tears came. Slowly at first, and then the whole waterworks show. The thing is it wasn’t a bad question at all, but I wasn’t exactly in a “hopeful-joyous-lets-dream-about-the-future” kind of place. I was so confused and worn-out that I honestly didn’t know what I hoped for in the year ahead. Fear and doubts were more prevalent than hope and joy. I felt stuck; like I was waiting for something to change, but the worst part was I didn’t know what I wanted to change. I couldn’t name the feeling or the longing inside.

So what do most women do when we don’t have the right words to express what we’re feeling? That’s right. We cry. We just let the tears come. Sometimes tears triumph over words, languages and longings. men: a helpful note when your (insert any female in your life) begins to show the first sign of tears, sometimes words are not beneficial.  In this case, just hug.

One Year Later

Yesterday I celebrated my 28th birthday with new friends, chocolate birthday cake and a wonderful surprise by someone special. There were no tears and for this I am thankful. But I am even more thankful that I’m in a different place. Not so much physically, but emotionally. This past year has been a lot of letting go of my plans and my expectations. Its meant being ok feeling a little uncomfortable and a lot out of control. It’s meant taking a risk and giving myself room and permission to try, to dream and to hope. This birthday I celebrated the wonderful things that happen when you listen to that unsettled, longing inside in order to welcome something new.

Here’s to every women (and man) who has cried on your birthday. May you know that it will not always be like this. Sometimes painful tears give way to beautiful surprises. So, what am I most looking forward to in the year ahead?

Learning how to celebrating the surprises.


  1. 22/10/2010

    Happy Birthday! What a wonderful gift you’ve given yourself to take chances and risks, discover that it’s still all okay, and to be comfortable with your current choices. It sounds like you are having a great time and that your Birthday was a “success”. And…the wonderful surprise by someone special sounds so intriguing!

  2. Michelle

    Ha. Thanks Helen. Yes, wonderful surprises by special someones do make birthdays a little more intriguing : )

  3. 25/10/2010

    Well, no wonder I have felt a kinship with you, Ms. Michelle! My birthday is on the 22nd of October…a day after yours…and still a Libra! Libras are special, if you believe in that sort of thing. While you turned 28, I turned…drum roll…gulp…60! Holy Shit. Where did the time go?! It was a most disconcerting birthday in that respect, but I saw the Beatles show in Las Vegas (which was astounding, marvelous, never-to-be-forgotten, amazing, incredible), stayed in a lovely, fancy hotel, had nice dinners, and saw Jimmy Buffet’s final show of his tour for this year at a HUGE arena. It was like a convention center with thousands of people, his fans, there. That was quite an experience. Have you heard about the Parrotheads?! Fun. Anyway…best wishes on your birthday, Michelle, and best wishes for continuing special surprises from the “someone special.” HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Love, Mary

  4. Michelle

    Thanks Mary! And congrats on celebrating 60. I’m envious that you saw Jimmy Buffet….

  5. 29/10/2010

    Hi Michelle!

    Happy Bday! Im logging in with my website account(just in case you see my company bird logo) :)

    How are you doing?

    Thanks for the email! Its great to know what an awesome experience your having in Guate!

    When are you set to return? We super miss you!

    Te cuidas


  6. Michelle

    Thanks Ruben! Voy a regresar en deciembre para visitar y celebrar navidad con mi familia. Y por supuesto voy a venir a San Marcos!

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