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My Birthday Ritual

If you dig through my boxes back home, you will stumble upon quite a few notebooks. My favorite is the pink furry one, which dates back to the year of 2002. I actually don't recall the last time I opened that book, because the anticipation of knowing what went through my mind at that age excites me more than what is actually written in it. These snippets of my past, whether it be my first crush in 2nd grade or the emotional roller coaster ride leading up to the move of 2009 are the only things I know to be true, as they are honest and in the moment rather than revised versions that I unconsciously convince myself to believe.

My parents and grandparents always reminded me that 20 was the entering age of adulthood in Japanese culture. So of course, I had 'an end of the era' moment when I could no longer say I was still a kid as defined by my country. Exactly two decades had past since I came about into this beautiful mess of a world, and for the first time the label of 'teen' was no longer on my chest. This concept intimidated me, so I spent my birthday in denial and decided against opening my diary, despite my birthday ritual where I would sit down and write until all the words were poured out on the 28th of May. This would take hours and it was how I spent all of my birthday mornings. I would make a list of what I wanted in the next year, whether that be attainable goals or hopeful wishes. It would read, '17 things for my 17-year-old self' and so on, except last year when I wasn't quite ready to set 20 new goals.

For a full year now, I've been running and I don't know what from. It wasn't a time of reflection or "How I Met Your Mother" episode worthy life lessons, the way every new year is supposed to entail when you are young. Instead, I drowned myself in endless responsibilities and different forms of drugs, only to lose myself even more when sobriety hit.

This year, I thought deeply of whether or not I should open my half-finished journal. The sun set before I was ready but I am content. In the midst of ambiguity and haziness, I still feel good about what is ahead. I feel good about the people I am surrounding myself with and the choices I am willing to make. If I had to right now, I think I could sit down and write 21 goals for myself.



Dreamer, 26

Vancouver, BC, Canada



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