Living the Good Life, originally uploaded by bexadler.

On my 30th birthday I was surrounded by people, but I don’t think I’d ever felt so alone. I was incredibly unhappy about my life and felt like I hadn’t accomplished much in my 30 years. I complained constantly about the fact that I didn’t own a home, was still in school and didn’t even have a boyfriend, much less a family. Turning 30 made me feel like a failure and despite everyone’s reassurances that their 30’s were way better than their 20’s had been, I couldn’t get out of the sour mood that persisted throughout most of the year before I turned 30.

Turning 31 has been quite different and has left me reflecting on the differences between this birthday and the last. Today I am alone, but I don’t feel lonely. I have done so much and seen so much in this past year – I’ve run five half marathons (number six is on Sunday), saved up more money than I ever thought I’d be capable of saving, traveled halfway around the world, finished my master’s degree, climbed mountains, was reminded what it feels like to be loved, and so much more. I’ve also grown a lot as a person this year. I’ve mended friendships and become better at being a friend. I’ve become closer to some of my family. And I’ve learned that I’m capable of so much more than I thought possible. I’m sure you’re all sick of me talking about how happy I am these days so I’ll leave it at that, except to add that I’m looking forward to what the next year may bring.