I vividly remember walking into church on my 30th birthday and having an older—and much wiser—friend ask me how I was doing. I looked her in the eye and said, “It’s my 30th birthday.” She held my gaze for a few seconds then held out her arms and said, “Oh, I’m so sorry. Come here and have a good cry.” And so I did.

To this day I can’t really explain why I was upset, but she just knew I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate.

A decade later, as I approached 40, I decided that I would never feel badly about a birthday again. If I’d made it through another year, then I was going to celebrate—all month! And for each successive decade I’d do something really grand.

So today I celebrate another year. Another year of mistakes and growth and learning. Another year of learning about love and joy, pain and sadness. What’s done is done and there’s still a lifetime ahead of me to understand and accept the old and embrace leaping out into the unknown new.