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It's my birthday today.

Today I am 26. Without a doubt I'm an adult - I have been for a while, but I'm moving towards the years where I won't even have the excuse of youth to make mistakes or go wild or just be generally uncertain. Well, I'm sure people in their 30's do all of the above (and quite often at that), but by the time you get to that age, no one says, "Oh, she's young... she'll learn." At that age, all of that stuff somehow becomes the result of a choice made along the way and not an impulse or an accident.

And I'm excited about it. I've never been afraid of getting older because I feel like I'm on a constant quest to be respected and taken seriously. I feel like, since I still look like a kid, I still get treated like a kid sometimes, and that can get really irritating, since I've always been a fairly serious person and am more focused in my life than many people who are older than I am.

This past year has been quite an eventful one for me - I lost a very important friend, but I gained a very important friend as well; I had my heart broken and broke someone else's; I fell in and out of love and then in again; and the most important decision that I've made yet, one that I'm reluctant to talk about at the moment, is going to change my life entirely. Quarter life crisis? Been there. Hurdled that one. I'll probably be back to hurdle that one a few times more before this is through.

And what did I learn this year? It's not a lesson I've fully learned, but I'm trying: I'm trying to make myself happy. I've spent a long time trying to make other people happy - I daresay I've spent my whole LIFE trying to make other people happy if you count my parents - and now, I'm realizing that I really have to take care of myself. If only because I'm really bad about speaking up about what I want, and so the only person who can give me what I want is myself.

I'm trying to figure out what it means to be happy, what would make me happy, and for the most part, I've got it - a job that I love, friends who are there for me no matter what, someone who loves me and appreciates me for who I am. There are a couple pieces missing though, one completely within my reach and one entirely out of the question. Well, life isn't perfect, and I can't have everything I want, but I'm pretty darn close, I think.