One of my goal for my early 20’s is becoming a more positive person, so here are 13 things I’m grateful for on my birthday.
1. I’m Spending My Birthday Close to nature.
Let’s face it, Tamarindo is just a few paved roads away from turning back into jungle. Even a jog around the block feels like a nature trail. We woke up too tired to surf but knew we would pig out too much today to skip exercise, so we started my birthday with a healthy pre-breakfast run!
2. This crab we found hiding in the bushes, on a hill, nowhere near the ocean.
3. We ran to the top of this big hill and found a stunning view of the town.
4. We took a Cliche Hiking selfie to remember how awesome Life Is.
5. Fruits that Start with ‘P’
I completely forgot that we got papaya and pineapple from the farmer’s market yesterday. Jake cut them up this morning while I was getting ready, so we had those waiting for us after our run!
6. Chocolate Chip Pancakes for Breakfast
Sorry waffles, but I’m a hardcore member of the pancake party. Jake has an amazing fluffy pancake recipe from his mom I’m always begging him to make. Apparently chocolate chips aren’t common in Costa Rica, but we crushed up milk and dark chocolate bars and threw those in instead! Take that, unfortunate circumstances!
7. My birthday wish this year… is to make Writing My Job.
I don’t know how I’ll get there, but do know that I’m privileged with the opportunity to try. Everyone in my life has been extremely supportive of me moving to Costa Rica for 3 months instead of jumping back into the work force. In the spirit of pursuing our dreams, Jake and I both spent a few hours today doing work. Me, writing and doing SEO stuff, and him playing poker.
8. The Unpredictability of Nature
A thunderstorm arrived in the late afternoon. Jake knew I had my heart set on a pasta dinner, so we put on swimsuits to run to the store for supplies. As soon as we left the house, the rain started to clear.
9. Rainbows, on Pride Day!
New York City’s pride parade is usually on my birthday, which it was again this year. I’m grateful to grow up in a city that’s accepting of different people and lifestyles. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have lost a loved one at Pulse (#WeAreOrlando) and don’t want to. Also, rainbows are awesome.
10. Being Tailed By Police for a Good Reason
Walking home, a police car slowed down next to us. We nervously turned around to see what they wanted. Turns out they were just checking out my butt. 😉
11. Two cooks, a small kitchen, and a tiny electric stove could be an episode of Cutthroat Kitchen…
But after 2 months of living and cooking together, Jake and I are a well-oiled machine! We made a delicious mushroom Alfredo pasta and garlic bread for dinner, and got our homemade chocolate chip cookie dough ready for dessert!
12. Being in a committed relationship changes you.
Because of Jake, our’s is a soccer household. The last game of the Copa America Centenario was today (which I’m told is important or something?) so we ate dinner watching Argentina vs. Chile. I’ll admit I didn’t hate it.
13. I hopped on the computer to write this post and saw the outpour of birthday wishes from friends and family in texts, e-mail, and on Facebook.
Almost every day since I got to Costa Rica, I’ve wondered if I’ll ever get enough writing work to live off of, or what I’m going to say about the gap in my résumé. I think about the people who believe in me, and whether I’m disappointing them by not living up to my potential.
I was the prodigy management major who decided last-minute to add the Level I CFA to her CV, and passed it on the first try (after 3 months of studying and while sick with a cold). But I had stopped believing in the company I worked for. So I quit and 2 months later, as I predicted, the company folded. (So much for that recommendation letter!)
Now I’m an “freelance writer” which feels barely a step up from “deadbeat.” The only difference is that I still have savings to live off. So it means a lot when I’m reminded there are dozens of people care about my happiness and want me to succeed. I may not always know how to show it, but I am grateful for every single person in my life.
It doesn’t have to be your birthday to find gratitude! What’s making you happy today?
The only time I get “I don’t know how she does it” is after someone’s seen me eat a 7-layer stack of pancakes.
— Open Stephanie (@openstephanie) June 26, 2016