The Big Birthday

by Kimberly Alexander, M.S.

So last week I was approaching a big birthday milestone… I am not one to like being in the spotlight so planning a big celebration is not typical for me. But with the help of some supportive friends, I locked down a mini trip to the Caribbean with two of my friends.

As I approached the day of departure, I was surprised with how confident and calm I felt knocking out the To-do list, making sure work was taken care of, and seeing that all loose ends were tied. So it’s the day before departure… in retrospect, the calm before the storm. You see one of the ladies on this trip realized at 7:00am the day before we left, that her passport was expired! Open the floodgates of anxiety… let the worries and irrational thinking flood in!

What was I thinking? “Wow of course this would happen to me. I have crappy luck. My birthday never goes as planned and it should. Now everyone will find me the butt of the joke that is my birthday. My friend will hate me because I’ll probably go on the trip anyway. And most importantly, my friend WILL NOT EVER be able to fix this and therefore, this is the WORST BIRTHDAY EVER!”

So this situation was a tricky one. As usual, I was making some sweeping predictions that I could not confirm and when it comes to predictions, you have to remind yourself to stay in the moment! Yes, the reality of the matter is that there was a real possibility that my friend wouldn’t be able to renew her passport in one day and that would be disappointing. However, I needed to put things into perspective and consider the information that I had on the situation. 1) My friend was on her way to the NYC passport agency at 8:00 am; 2) I actually did not know if a passport renewal can be processed on the same day; and 3) This is not in my immediate control so the best thing I can do is be a supportive friend, focus on my work, and reassess the situation after my friend has determined whether or not she can obtain a renewal.

Hours later… after constantly reminding myself of these three important facts, my friend sent me a message that she will definitely be on the flight the next day! She’ll need to spend all day at the passport agency to wait for her renewal to be processed but she will have it by the end of the day! What a relief thanks to the constant repetition of the facts I had and a great friend that was hell-bent on making sure she was present for my big birthday against all odds!

Kimberly Alexander, M.S.



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