At this time, every day, a neighbour practices piano. The tune seeps through the walls and gently crowds our apartment. If you happen to be lounging outside on the balcony, you can close your eyes and steal the performance. It has become a beautiful perk to where we live. I have no idea where the mystery pianist lives, or what they look like, but each time the melody makes its way into our lives, I like to imagine this person calmly sitting before the keys, their fingers moving with purpose and ease. Their commitment to this skill as unwavering and dynamic as what they play.

So today, I sit here, typing to the melody of a slow, heart-wrenching Roxanne and continue to abide to my own commitment. My silence this past weekend was in respect for my birthday. Sweet sixteens filled with giggles and candles, nineteens dipped in screwdrivers and beer, twenty-ones and big old twenty-fives have come and gone. On Thursday the sun set on my 25th year in this world, in this life. Now, I’m into the 26th and I’m a whirlwind of emotions that differ in zero ways from yesterday, or the day before…or the year before. The biggest difference is in the risks I woke with the courage to take. These weren’t new ideas to sweep my mind in the hour of the anniversary of my birth. They have been glimpses of bright light illuminating dreams and hopes that my skeptic mind has scoffed at.

I’ve always been adamant that the change at the end of a date when the bells chime at midnight on December 31st, or the steady lapse of time as an age ticks up on the sunrise of your birthday does not signify real change. They are just numbers, they are just stats. Unless you make them significant, that is. Sometimes we cling to these minute changes because they are changes that can be enough to force our own hands. We mark our own progressiveness, our own decisions, our resolutions in the pursuit of betterment to the rhythm and clock of these occasions. This new number now pin points the starting line. A point to mark growth from, a buoy to cast glances back at to measure distance.

This birthday marks the day I quit my job.

That is a terrifying line. I felt my stomach clench and the breath hold an uncomfortable moment longer in my chest. A fear so deep rooted in the unknown, in needing to trust myself and my motivations. My heart is made up and my mind is staggering with this decision. I feel like I’ve dove into deep water, my back against the dark depths, my face watching the lighted surface stay firmly in one place as I sink farther.

But, I can swim. I know I can. I won’t drown.

Cheers to a year of keeping track.