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For My 31st Birthday

Well I made it through my thirtieth year. On December 17, 2012 I officially turned thirty-one. It may not seem like a birthday that has a special significance or one that Hallmark makes a card for, but in my book every birthday is one that should be cherished. For me this one was extra special.

Many people, especially women, fret about turning the big 3-0 because they may feel the need to be married, have children, and the perfect fairytale life we see on T.V. I would like to clarify here that this is only the perfect life definition for some, and not even for most that choose this path.
However for me turning thirty was a whole other deadline ( 

Since I wasn’t able to go away for my actual thirtieth birthday, I opted for an amazing dinner party with my family and close friends, at one of my favorite French restaurant Artisanal ( It was a perfect celebration. But I thought in order to continue the celebration I would spend the year after turning thirty traveling to a lot of local places and maybe one very exotic place. This way I had something to look forward to and still a way to accomplish what is most important to me; traveling.

But what is that saying- Life is what happens when you are busy making plans.

This is what I learned last year.

I had an adventure all right, just of a different kind. When I reflect on it now, this journey was a more important, life affirming, challenging, necessary, conquering, and an encompassing experience. Although until about two months ago I couldn’t see the value in it.

As many of my readers will know I am a chronic migraine sufferer (
and when you have such an illness that can and will incapacitate you whenever, wherever you are you no longer have control over your life. No matter how much planning you do ahead or how much your outing means to you. It also means that no matter how much you need your job for money or health insurance that too can be at risk.

People who mean well and haven’t done the research will tell you to try sleeping in a dark room, try not eating chocolate, or rub Vicks vapor rub on your head and wrap a tight sock on your head. Believe me I have heard them all. They all have a friend of a friend, or just saw something amazing on Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, or whoever is on nowadays. I couldn’t tell you because even though I am stuck on a couch most of the time I can’t concentrate long enough to watch anything. But mostly it’s because I have an actual disease, like diabetes, and it can’t be prayed or wished away. When someone says these things it belittles your suffering and when you are in pain for so long you start to think that maybe you will never have a break and if not what is the point of all of this. You forget to fight and find a way out. But I was lucky, I found a way out and it only took a year.

It seems to me that whenever I reflect on a milestone I cannot help but revert back to my illness, but they do go hand and hand. When something is so apart of your daily life, defining what and how you are able to function, you cannot dismiss it.

My illness is also the reason I had stopped traveling, it became too hard and too scary. I needed to get better, more stable. I am happy to report that this past year was spent exploring treatments, self reflection, inward goals, important relationships, reestablishment long ago friendships and defining what and who are crucial in my life.  In its own way it was a blessing in disguise. There is nothing better to clear out those who don’t belong in your circle than when your chips are done and someone walks by and does nothing to help you pick them up.

As the year progressed and I made some improvements I spent more time exploring my city, seeing more plays in one spring than I can recall ever seen before in one time, like three in one week! (

I made myself a priority and did what I was able to and as I got stronger I was able to do more. Now even though I still have severe bouts of migraines and sometimes smaller migraines they are most likely for life. I have found methods of prevention and pain and for that I am lucky. Some patients never find their magic combination.

With my new found knowledge, both about myself and my illness, I was approaching December 2012 with some peace. It was hectic in the outside world when one day on the way home from work I suddenly realized I felt peaceful. It is not something I could have said the prior year. I don’t know if it had something to do with my birthday exactly but I think it’s because after much reflection and research I knew myself and my body better. I was more in tuned with what was going on and finally felt I had some control over what was going on. I know this will not always be the case but I know how sick I was last year won’t always be the case either.

As I turned thirty-one I thought about how I would want to celebrate. I wanted to do something special. In October 2012 I had a trip planned to Newport, Rhode 
Island but thanks to Hurricane Sandy that had been rescheduled and then ultimately canceled. I had decided to take this trip on my birthday weekend instead. I had only previously gone to Newport, Rhode Island one other time for an afternoon (
yet I knew I would be back some day. To skip ahead I will be back many more times too. Despite it being winter and rainy it is still a magical place. I wanted to tour the mansions and have some great New England food. But best of all one my best friends in the world lives close by and on my actual birthday we were going to be spending the day together! I got my wish without blowing any candles out!!

On my birthday eve, my mother and I drove up from N.Y.C. and stopped off in Connecticut. By the time we got to Rhode Island it was late. That night as I watched the clock stroke midnight I smiled. I was finally thirty-one and I was happy to have the new year to look forward to.

On my birthday I got everything I was hoping for. We toured the mansions, had a wonderful lunch, spend quality time together, and a dinner to die for.  But if you want to read more about Rhode Island that series will be coming in a few days.

Sharing that day with the people I love was special. That is the kind of gifts you treasure and are the best to receive.

To think only a year before, I was excited to receive a birthday text at midnight and now my b.f.f. and I were celebrating together.

It was the perfect collimation of doing what I love the best with whom I love the most.

That’s all a thirty-one year old can ask for.


  1. Lets hope next year for your birthday you will be able to look back and see that you have suffered from less headaches and look forward to more travel plans. That's my wish for you. xoxo


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