You had a pretty awesome day today. You got a free latte at Starbucks (and an impromptu birthday greeting from the stranger standing in line behind you) and an awesome artsy-craftsy present from your favorite friend/coworker. You had a surprisingly helpful session with your new therapist at the school counseling center and learned a new calming technique* (one that actually works instead of exacerbating your anxiety). And then you had dinner with your family, followed by homemade cake and cookies that your son was so proud to show off. You capped off the day with a 50-minute speedwork session on the treadmill.
Things have not always been easy for you, and sometimes they still aren't. Sometimes it's hard to remember that the past really is in the past and that yes, this IS your life now, no-one else's, and it's pretty darn good. Not only that, but it is a life you deserve (you still don't totally believe that, but maybe one day soon you will).
Getting older is a little bit freaky, especially when events that happened nearly 15 years ago (like, say, high school graduation) are still vividly clear in your mind, still seemingly close enough to touch. But getting older is also something of a relief. Finally, you are starting to respect yourself; you are starting to commend yourself for the things you've accomplished (mostly personal triumphs that most others will never know about) instead of constantly berating yourself for your shortcomings. You are beginning to see that you are tougher, more resilient, and more capable than you have given yourself credit for. And you are starting to see yourself through your own eyes instead of assessing yourself through the eyes of others.
When you blew out your birthday candles tonight, you tried to think of something to wish for, but nothing immediately came to mind. You have everything you absolutely need and many things you want. There are no pressing voids in your life right now. So you wished for things to stay largely the same - except maybe your 5K time.
*Calming technique: Sit quietly and, one by one, identify the sounds close by and far away: the sound of a fan, traffic outside, birds chirping, footsteps on the floor above, etc. This calmed me almost immediately. It really worked!