A birthday alone

I can already hear the gasps and see the sympathetic stares.

I know. It sounds bad.

When I saw that all the flights were already fully booked in September, I was shocked. And then I got angry and then devastated and then nervous. Not going home meant staying in Japan for the holiday season and that meant a quiet New Year, a quieter Christmas, and a lonely birthday.

And I was right – except for that last bit.

Christmas and New Year in Japan can never compare to what we have in the Philippines BUT I had a lovely birthday. I was alone, yes. But for the first time since I can remember, I felt like I was celebrating my birthday for me. I did what I wanted to do; not what I thought my friends would enjoy. I ate what I wanted to eat; not what I thought my family would like.

I felt like a child again on my birthday. Like a birthday girl who can do anything she wants and have anything she wants because it’s her day. My day.

Most importantly, I felt special. I was alone but I received gifts that were made by hands, got greetings from people I thought would forget, and received love by strangers who didn’t even know it was my birthday.

It was not a perfect day but being alone was not as bad as I thought because it gave me time to realize the most important reason we celebrate birthdays: life and making the most of it no matter where you go, who you’re with, and what the world decides to give you.

It’s not every day that I turn 25 and it’s not every year that I celebrate my birthday alone, so I decided to make the most of it. In turn, life decided to celebrate with me.

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