It’s My Birthday and you made it special

You taught me how to go on

This week, this month, this year — it’s been hard on me. Too much loss. Too many changes. Too little health. Too little money.

But the year has also been very good on me. And for now, that’s what I want to focus on. How my network has supported, cared for, loved, and just been there for me.

I went to bed last night with the birthday wishes streaming in. I hadn’t been feeling well since Saturday, so I wasn’t sure how this day was going to go. My husband had already starting the week off well: He made me the birthday cake you see above on Sunday. It turned out to be a very good omen.

In fact, it was only a hint that I should have trusted myself and all of you a bit more. For you all came through.

I woke up this morning to almost 200 emails, mostly notifications of birthday wishes from Facebook. I have a big network on Facebook. Friends from high school and college, friends from different jobs I have had, friends from different places I have volunteered. Family of blood and family of choice. Over 170 of them have wished me happy birthday since noon yesterday. From all corners of my life and all corners of the world.

You see, I live online. I don’t get out much. Travel costs more than just money — it costs energy and spoons I don’t usually have. Oh, I can fake it. And I do. Frequently. But mostly, I stay close to people via social media. And, as my husband says, my FB friends include “several hundred of my closest friends.”

I share my life with you, my friends. And you help prop me up — both in good times and in bad. You’ve been there with every hit this last year and a bit. You’ve been there as I struggled to redefine myself.

And today, you’ve been there once again to cheer me. To remind me. To show me that I make a difference. And to help me celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of the next.

The friends here on Medium have also turned into a support system. There are already too many to mention all of you, but there are three I want to call out:
 Tre L. Loadholt — you have welcomed me and sheltered me and pushed me. I am a better writer because of you.
S Lynn Knight and Aura Wilming — The Weekly Knob has helped me find my voice in fiction again. I didn’t think I could.

If anyone else out there needs to be reminded of how much difference a network of friends can make, let me know. Mine has saved me this last year. Let me become part of your network. Let me pass the love along. Let me show you that you too, make a difference in people’s lives.

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