I was born on a Sunday.

Exactly a year ago I was dancing on tables in a Las Vegas nightclub with several of my best friends. Bottle service, fancy dresses, birthday song dedications...it was perfect.

On this birthday, I am at a table in a library, surrounded by strangers. Coffee cups lie empty, I'm dressed in layers of warm clothes and fur-lined boots to protect myself from the low temperatures and rain outside, and books and articles and outlines surround me. Things are feeling grim, I'm actually going nuts trying to structure these abstract take-home exam essays. I'm tired and drained and full of doubt in my thinking and writing skills.

But in no way would I wish to replay my last birthday in place of the way I'm spending this one. This is what I asked for when I blew out my candles a year ago. And below the surface of the state of things today, I am happy. My mom's birthday card to me wished me an extraordinary birthday, and although this was a rainy day spent mostly in a library, it's very extraordinary to me. I had friends with me at brunch who gave me lovely perfect presents. I walked through a lovely medieval town covered in colorful autumn leaves. I had a dinner celebration a couple days ago, and we'll do some celebrating later this week after finals. And I had more birthday wishes today than I've ever had in my life, from friends and family spread across three continents.

That's pretty perfect, I think.

(But for the record, I definitely don't want to spend next birthday with a take home exam. ;)

*Scenes from dinner on Friday and from the rainy walk to the library today


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