I’ve been 25 for a little over 2 weeks now.

I wasn’t even excited really. I had mixed feelings about it. Don’t get me wrong ; I was always happy to make it there (every moment above ground is to be appreciated.),but I didn’t see the big deal. I like the finer things and such but I’m really no fan of chest pounding , especially for something like “living another year”. I kinda got my head right maybe a week and a half before my birthday and said “Rob….this is a big deal.”

Not in the sense of the modern black man ideal of “I didn’t think I’d make it here.” I knew I’d be 25, even when my life was in danger. Ask anyone who’s faced their own mortality; you never wonder about the “future”. You just focus on the moment. The lesson that shitty experience taught me kind’ve got lost on me over time. I had a span where I found myself unable to appreciate the life I’ve lead up to this point and how great my reality is. For my own sake , a little bit before 25 I changed in a DRASTIC sense. This all coincided with me going “so what do you REALLY wanna do for your birthday?”

So , I set out to hit bars across the city with my squad. I left my job literally a week before my birthday (I’d express my thoughts on it here but I legally can’t. CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS FOR THE LOSS!) So , realistically , I’m inviting people from work who no longer see me every day , on Valentines Day Weekend on a cold night. My former coworkers and everyone else I invited had every right to not show face.To be very honest with you , I had no idea if anyone would really show up. If it would even be fun. Amongst other silly concerns.

At some point later in the night , on bar #4 , after roughly 15 people or so have come and gone in my little birthday posse….it hit me. People like and appreciate me. These are all people who matter to me and I’ve tried my best to express how much they mean to me ,even though I know I sometimes don’t do the best job of such. For so many people to still show (and attempt to show…I definitely gave out some horrible , drunken directions) meant so much to me. I woke up the next morning with a grin that wouldn’t go away. How lucky am I? I don’t even feel I’ve done enough for people to show me love like this but it’s deeply appreciated. To me 25 will represent one thing ; love. How much of it I get to feel. How much I give out. How much more I will experience. The craziness of life sometimes makes me lose all of this in the shuffle but I pledge to never forget moments like that night.

I say all of that to say thank you. If you came. If you didn’t come. If you told me happy birthday. It all matters to me , down to the smallest gesture. It’s all huge to me. I very vividly remember having absolutely no friends and feeling like a fish out of water every day. Now that my reality is so very different from that , I’m just thankful. That will be the key going forward….being thankful for every part of the process.

By Robby Rav.

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