On Birthdays (& A Giveaway!)

So guys, today I turn 24 years old! A little less than a quarter of a century alive and I’m not going to lie to you… it’s the first time that I can say that I do feel the difference. I’ve always considered the classic “Do you feel any different?” birthday question to be pretty stupid. My response was always “Umm since yesterday? No. Not really.” And yeah, that’s still valid. Between yesterday and today nothing life changing has really occurred (I mean, unless you consider the new season ofGame Of Thrones life changing). But in all honesty, when reflecting on the past 365 days, especially comparing where I was emotionally, mentally, professionally and personally this time last year to where I am now… a lot has changed.

On Birthdays (& A Giveaway!)

Birthdays are a strange time, aren’t they? Each year on this special day, “our day,”  we look for some significance. Sometimes it’s developmental marker or a social tradition to look forward to, like entering your teens (say hello to zits and feelings… lots of feelings) or middle age or reaching the legal drinking age. Sometimes it’s reflecting on personal victories. Triumphs of the heart, overcoming great strife, or entering a new and exciting life chapter. We wonder if we have accomplished enough given our age. Are we ahead or behind? Are we still full of hope for the future or has our time passed us by? When we move up the age ladder, imposing questions pop up on us, forcing us to interpret our lives according to what we believe is the right place to be at our specific number of years we’ve been alive. We start to commemorate our experiences of the past year. We start to battle with our faults and our longings. We reflect a lot about our lives and ourselves on our birthdays.

If I had to choose a phrase to sum up my 23rd year alive, I think it would have to be “continued clarity.” This time last year I was weighing what seemed to be a zillion and halflife options. Should I move to another city? Should I go completely freelance? How do I really feel about my degree? What do I want from life? Although I can’t say this past year has completely handed over answers to me in black and white, I will say that in the past 365 days I’ve definitely developed a deeper understanding of myself. I know it sounds all hippy-dippy, but I definitely feel less baffled about these questions because I have a deeper understanding about my own interest, needs and pursuits. And from forming a clearer relationship with myself and my intuition, I think I’ve found a clearer path for my life. (P.S. I’d say I’m about half way there to really being able to answering those questions above… give me another year!)

Please note the striking similarities of the above pictures. That’s the same diva pose, people! Now, if I only still had those bangs and the frilly sleeved shirt …

I’ve experienced some crazy things in year 23. I’ve supported my family after the loss of my dear grandfather, I’ve lived in Rome, I’ve seen the Scottish Highlands in their fullest glory, I’ve tasted the most delicious foods, I’ve cried more than I care to admit, I’ve learned how to play dulcimer and sang folk songs with my darling, I’ve been able to spread my Italian grandfather’s ashes in his homeland, I’ve returned home from an incredible extended time abroad, I was accepted into a graduate program for theater, I’ve declined that offer and accepted a job teaching music, I’ve left that job for another better fitting set up, I fostered great relationships with my friends all over the world, I’ve moved in with Luke, I’ve grown passion for writing, I’ve planned an epic trip to Asia… I’m kind of going cross eyed with the amount of soul searching experiences I’ve had.

One of the biggest joys I’ve had in this past year (besides the large and embarassing amount of baby animal videos I’ve watched) has been watching this little blog of mine grow from a little internet baby to something I’m really, genuinely proud of. One of the best choices I made in my 23rd year of living was to finally dive into the blogosphere. Turning 24 today feels super special because I get to share it with all of my internet friends (that’s you!) and close friends alike. It goes without saying that I’m super appreciative of you all.

So… I’m going to pay all my appreciation forward! (Shout out to all the Tolkien fans out there reading this who know that it’s Hobbit tradition to give presents away on their birthday instead of receiving them. Nerd alert.) I want to thank you for all of your continued love and support by giving away five prints of my favorite travel photos to three random readers who do the following things

1. Like Roam + Golightly on Facebook and then share any post.

2. Follow me on Instagram!

3. Leave a comment on this post telling me that you’ve done the above steps + one of your hopes for this year.

On Birthdays (& A Giveaway!)
On Birthdays (& A Giveaway!)

Pretty simple, right? I’m really jazzed about the prints… I might end up ordering myself another batch. Entries for this little giveaway of mine will end on April 30th, so be sure to get busy if you’re interested.

I can’t say it enough. You all are the best. Thank you for making my 24th birthday so special! Now I’m going to stuff my face with cake… all of the cake…