Today is a special day for me. Today I turn 20 and celebrate my life for all that it is. All being the good, the bad, the ugly and the extremely beautiful. I’ve been on this earth for 20 years, 240 months or 1043 weeks and 3 days (if we are getting technical) and that’s pretty cool. But I’ll be honest; birthdays the past few years have been far from my favorite thing.
I spent birthdays in my teens usually stressed out about where my family and I were going to go eat or what kind of cake we’d be having. Instead of waking up excited to be a year older I would usually feel regret about the fact I spent another year in my eating disorder. But this year my mind is everywhere but in that place and it feels like a dream come true.
On the 29th of January I went to treatment for my eating disorder and it is truly amazing to see how different my life is looking exactly 8 months later. The ability to celebrate myself has taken a lot of work.
But birthdays are not only about celebrating life; they are about accepting the past and not worrying about the future; which happens to be the most valuable lessons to learn while in recovery. Along with those lessons, we also learn to value ourselves. We learn that every day is an opportunity to grow. And more importantly, we learn that we are worth life and living in freedom.
This next year I will celebrate being Emily, the girl who is authentically herself. Who speaks her heart out every chance she gets. The next year will be spent in even more freedom. I will continue to do the things that I love. I will cherish the relationships that make me feel whole. I will remember that I am the most important person to take care of.
So today, I make a wish for many more years of life, I’ll eat my cake first because why the hell not, and make memories with the ones I love. Today, I enjoy my favorite gift of all: recovery.