18. It’s a milestone, that’s for sure. And I am incredibly grateful for every single day I have spent on this beautiful planet. So here’s a Happy Birthday to me! So how did I celebrate my birthday (on Tuesday)? By doing all the things I love and seeing all (or as many) of the people I love.
I woke up bright and early and before leaving home I did my daily yoga practice. I remember thinking in the middle of one of my warriors that despite it being my birthday, yoga was keeping me honest. My thigh was burning as much as it always does, I was tight and sore and stretching was exactly what I needed. Yoga has a way of doing that, keeping you honest, because you can’t cheat in yoga unless you cheat yourself too. It is also a great constant in life, it will always be there, always present a challenge and always make you feel incredible, no matter how tough the practice was.
Next, of course, was breakfast, definitely my favourite meal of all time. My mum, sister and I went to one of my favourite cafes where I had a strawberry, mango, mint smoothie and poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce with gluten free toast (see pic below).
With a full stomach, we headed off to do a hike up a mountain just outside the city. I have wanted to do this walk since I first heard about it, and I thought that my birthday seemed like a great time to get outside and do this, even if it wasn’t quite the perfect summer weather I had envisaged. We ended up getting a bit lost and just walking around the summit of the mountain for a little while, enjoying the view from the top and then heading back down because it started to drizzle.
I then went and had a massage, and spent the afternoon hanging out with my best friend, before heading to a school event. Once that was over Mum, my sister and I went out for dinner to a gorgeous restaurant. In true 18th-birthday style I had my first ever drink, a delicious grapefruit, lemon and honey cocktail with aperol and fino. It was small, fresh and tasty, but more than enough. For dinner we had grilled squid, a fabulous beetroot, rocket, endive salad, crab and a huge piece of roasted pork belly. Needless to say there was no room left for birthday cake, but it’s okay because I ate cake for breakfast the next morning (raw vegan cheesecake…it’s almost a breakfast food!)
But all of this makes me wonder about birthdays… I love my birthday, I love celebrating every year the achievements and time I have spent living life (to the fullest), but it made me think about a few things. Living life is not really about making it to each birthday (although I do plan to see at least 100 of them), but about living in the present each and every day. Sure, we can’t all be as spoilt as we are on our birthday every day, but you can enjoy each day, do the things you love and spend time with the people you. It’s all up to you.
On my birthday I also received the most beautiful messages and compliments from friends, the kind that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It was amazing to hear all these incredible things that my friends see me as. But why wait for a friend’s birthday to tell them all this? Just as you should live every day to the fullest, every day is a chance to make someone else’s day fantastic. Send a friend a message to tell how much they mean to you, or call an old friend and organise to catch up, or do a favour for a friend in need. Everyday is a new chance to accept love and send love out too.
Then there are presents. They are fun to get, sure, and the truly great ones from your nearest and dearest are usually fabulous, as they all are. But sometimes I find it a bit silly that we place this pressure on friends and family to buy us something, when we probably don’t need those things at all. When I was asked what I wanted for my birthday, a million things popped into my head. I am incredibly blessed, because what I came to realise is that I have absolutely everything that I could ever need right now, I have my health, my happiness, beautiful friends and family, a fantastic school, freedom, security, a home and all the basic necessities for life. Most of these things money most certainly cannot buy, but if you take the time to be grateful for all the things you do have, then suddenly all the things you don’t have won’t seem so important. Presents are a wonderful thought, but we don’t need them.
With all that being said, I am going to contradict myself (it’s my birthday, I am allowed to!) and share with you the awesomely, incredible presents that I got today, which mean a lot to me and which I will cherish. See the photo below for my truly awesome present from my parents! I also got pearl earrings, money, two wallets, a Rubix cube, a cookbook, a necklace which my friend made from scratch, a raw vegan cheesecake made by another friend and plenty of gorgeous cards. Even though presents are not essential, if they are appreciated and used then it is not going to waste. There are lots of beautiful things in the world which can be enjoyed. I also asked if anyone wanted to, they could donate to a charity instead of buying me a present. I was delighted to discover my friends had donated to the Philippines Red Cross relief fund and Médecins Sans Frontières, whilst another gave me money to donate how I choose.
Lastly, I would like to say a big thank you to all my wonderful family and friends who spoilt me today and helped me celebrate, I love you all. And thank you to all my wonderful followers/readers/occasional blog viewers (many of whom are also family and friends) for all your support and kind words. My first 18 years have been incredible and I can’t wait for all the rest.
Keep healthy, celebrate in style,