As I lay in bed on my 23rd birthday, ceiling spinning, ears ringing, an intense feeling of sadness came over me. I wasn’t sad because I’d woken up alone on my birthday, well not exactly. It was one of those feelings that you can’t do much about… except roll over and let the tears run down your cheeks much like on my 13th birthday when my period fell on the same day as my birthday and I found myself crying hysterically in mama’s bosom.

However, on this birthday, hormonal imbalance wasn’t the cause of my tears. I wasn’t quite sure why I’d felt so sad or so angry, or even that entitled to the emotions I felt. The previous night had been spent at a rather good party/lounge. I looked good, we all looked good. I should have been having fun but truth be told, I wasn’t. Someone had said something, another had looked a certain look, and another had just not looked hard enough… those petty little things had managed to make me wish I had been with people that I mattered to, that didn’t take me for granted or that judged me. That one moment carried on to the next morning, the early hungover morning that found me in bed crying on my 23rd birthday.

As I searched my mind to find the root of my anger, I realized that it was a new year. An opportunity to do things differently and the first thing I was going to do immediately was ‘drink less!’ or better still, don’t drink at all if I could manage it, which I am sure I could if I wasn’t on holiday. The drinking in itself didn’t seem a problem since alcohol’s only effect on me is a bigger smile.

The real problem was that I was allowing myself to be caged in by premature, judgemental views that people had of me. As soon as I realized this, I could confidently say that this year, my 23rd would be a Carpe Diem year… seize the moment, having no regrets while always staying true to myself.