It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

No, not Christmas. And obviously not any other second- or third-tier holiday.

It’s my birthday week.

I’m turning 26 on Friday and I’ve never felt better. Well, given the circumstances, anyway.

This last year has been... weird.

I started my 25th year learning I wouldn’t need a second back surgery. I had the most amazing birthday with the most incredible friends.

Life was good.

Age 25 had its ups and downs, though.

I dated some weird guys. I got stood up on a date for the first (and second) time. I reconnected with some old friends.

My bestie Aileen invited me to New York for her birthday. Christmas in the Big Apple was show stopping, amazing, spectacular, everything I had ever dreamed of.

And suddenly it was 2020.

January flew by and February was a blur. I visited Los Angeles and attended my friend Katie’s housewarming party.

That’s right, I have friends who own their own property. Which is crazy to me.

I broke up with my best friend (now worst enemy).

And then the pandemic began.

You know what they say, when it rains it pours.

And the bad news kept piling on.

Quarantine shattered my plans, my hopes, my dreams, my desires.

Well it’ll last a month tops, we thought.

And then it didn’t.

And then I got coronavirus. What a shame.

I had to take a month off of work.

I wasn’t able to see my friends and my family wouldn’t come anywhere near me.

Life at Rock Bottom was bleak.

I gained 10 pounds and could hardly look at myself in the mirror.

But something changed when August rolled around.

I started a diet and began a workout regimen.

I was going to take my destiny into my own hands.

So far, I’m 12 pounds down.

Fourteen of my closest friends are virtually attending my Zoom birthday Friday.

And to top it all off, my dear friend Peter is visiting me this weekend.

When I look back on 25, I see that a lot of little things went wrong.

But they don’t outweigh the good times I had.

I cultivated so many relationships. I cut out the toxic people in my life. Oh, and I cut out the toxic food, too.

I started reading more, and even created my own embroidery business.

I’m not sure what 26 will bring.

I’ve already gone through so much though, so I’m sure whatever’s thrown my way, I’d handle it.

So, cheers. To 26 years of life. Here’s to many more.

Contact Averil Gleason at

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