Last month I celebrated an anniversary. Five years since I nearly died. It is almost like a birthday, in a way. A rebirth.
I drove myself out to the ocean. I walked across warm sand on a nearly abandoned beach and sat down. I watched the waves as they crested and rolled over on themselves until they were just bubbles at the shore. Birds dived into the dark ocean. Seagulls walked where the water met the dry sand. I breathed in the salty air.
I thought about the past five years. The struggles and triumphs. The little things that were big, like living on my own again while in graduate school, like going from seeing a psychiatrist once a week to going months between appointments because I am now stable. I thought of all the things I got to experience that I would have missed had I died that night. Two weddings, two babies born to friends, a series of moves that brought me from the West Coast to the East, countless birthdays of friends, holidays with my family, falling in love.
There are so many feelings that swirl around that anniversary – guilt, sadness, thankfulness, hope. And maybe that last one is the most important one – hope. Because now, looking back, I can see all the amazing things that have happened in the span of five years. Those amazing things give me hope for more amazing things. And so forever I will celebrate my anniversary in one way or another – be it champagne with friends or a solitary sunny afternoon at the beach – because life is worth celebrating.