I’m sitting here on the eve of my 26th birthday reflecting on the beautiful day I had. My belly and heart are full. Birthday’s for me have always brought on a lot of anxiety. 5 year old Alysce couldn’t handle turning 6 and that resulted in a full blown meltdown. I don’t know where the fear of being another year older came from but it has stuck with me every year. Last year, I left the country to try and forget that I was turning 25, only to realize you can’t escape that shit. This year I caught myself slipping into the same cycle, trying to plan a last minute road trip and running from the fact that I would be one year older. The thought that “26 is closer to 30 than it is 20” crossed my mind and “I’m really old” crossed it too. Then it dawned on me. Instead of running from the inevitable, I need to embrace it! The reality is this: I personally know far too many who won’t see their next birthday because the unimaginable happened. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I need to enjoy another year because nothing is certain. My 26 years have brought me years of trials and errors, love and loss, and lessons learned. And I’m so incredibly thankful to see another year!