Monday, November 17, 2014

Celebrating life on my birthday.

Sandia Peak, New Mexico.
For the past five years, I have had the incredible gift of being able to ring in a new year in Whoville.

I turned 22 in Tempe, Arizona.
I turned 23 in Providence, Rhode Island. 
I turned 24 in Bloomington, Indiana.
I turned 25 in Orange, Texas.
And yesterday I rang in my 26th year in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

To be able to celebrate my life in Whoville has been a privilege. Employed, surrounded by my closest friends, money in the bank, and traveling -- a recipe for the perfect birthday.

I may have an obsession with birthdays. When it's someone's birthday, I go bananas. Why? Well, I feel as if it's a day of grand opportunity. You are given an opportunity to spoil the crap out of someone you love. It's the day they came into this world and whatever the reason became a part of your journey through life. How can you not celebrate that? It can be over the top (sometimes, that's even better) and you don't look too crazy. You can embarrass them in public places, shower them with calories, and make them feel like royalty. That day is a chance for me show said "birthday person" how important their life is to me and to the world. Being born is so special; continuing living year after year should be too. Being passionate about valuing a person's life is something that I keep of high esteem. So I go full OUT when it comes to cherishing someone's life. 

This year, I chose to apply that dedication to my own life. No I did not try to spoil myself, but I applied the value of celebration and happiness to making it to a 26th year of life. All it took was perspective. 

This year was the best birthday thus far.

Vince, Justun, Chelsea, Kyle and I on our way to hike up Sandia Peak!

This week consisted of hiking up Sandia Peak, watching Interstellar, Big Hero 6, a surprise birthday dinner at Buca DiBeppo, manicures, a little bit of indulgent shopping, rock climbing, dance class by Hannah, 10 shows of Grinch, brunch, and drinks at Dave and Busters. My Grinch cast continuously made me feel valued. An outpour of love swept my phone and Facebook wall by friends from New York, California, and across the country. 
It's safe to say I am nourished with love. 

On my birthday, I performed my 300th show of "Grinch". It was a magical moment for me - a humongous sense of pride in my work and accomplishment in my career. What impeccable timing! 

With a new age comes a bit of reflection on the last 365 days. 

The year of being 25 was a big year for me. Huge. I faced some demons that almost won. I was unappreciative of my life for a chunk of the time and wasn't sure how I was going to survive. I didn't want to be 25. Hell I didn't want to be anything. I felt more alone than ever and for almost a month, sought no help or friendship. Although depression hit me hardest its ever hit, 25 was the age I learned to rise above it. 

I chose life. I chose love. I chose God. 

 I traveled the world this year. I went to six countries I've never been to, including the homeland of Vietnam. I rode an elephant for the first time, got a new tattoo in Singapore, said a prayer and waged it in an Icelandic church, and hiked up three different mountains in North Carolina, Colorado and New Mexico.

I met Daniel Radcliffe. 

I witnessed my best friend Lauren marry the man of her dreams as her maid-of-honor.

 I did My Fair Lady, Miss Saigon and started Grinch.

I lost all my hair. 

And I gained a soul mate. 

A quarter of a century in, I'm now loving life more than ever. It took me an entire year to start learning that, but being on your way towards positivity is better than nothing.

There is so much to look forward to as my 26th year starts. More lessons to learn, obstacles to conquer, and feelings to be felt. I hope for more love, more clarity, and let's be freaking real -- MORE HAIR. I want to go on more adventures, sing and dance more, continue on my path towards a healthier lifestyle, and allow God to guide my spirit and my heart more and more each day. I will continue to be selfless. I will continue to work harder. I will continue to live.

To put things into perspective, I am ringing in 26 with a new obstacle. Losing my hair is probably one of the hardest things I'm having to go through -- ever. No doubt is it difficult. But look at the wisdom I've already gained:

Alopecia recently has really taught me that life will come for you whether you are prepared or not. Life can have gifts waiting for you and it has gifts masked as problems that take much longer to unwrap. People, family, relationships, jobs, my health, my heart or time. No more taking any of those things for granted, because you never freaking know, people!  

My birthday rocked. I have more than enough to thank God for. 
Cheers to life!

And if you haven't had a chance to see the best birthday gift I've ever received, please watch this. I don't know what I did to deserve him, but Lord Almighty, I'll take it! My boyfriend won my heart ten times over with this one. Thank you, honey! (Yes, I DIED.)  Here you go: 


  1. Jackie. . This truely made me cry. . Your life is just starting. May God bless you every day.

  2. What day is your birthday?

  3. Hey Jackie, I'm diagnosed with Alopecia too. I'm just a teenager. Reading and knowing about you has truly inspired me and has given me a new perspective to life. I really want to thank God and you for this. God bless you and take care (:

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