Today, I turn 27 years old. It’s not a particularly significant number. It’s one before my golden birthday. A few before the big 3-0. Still, it’s as good a time to reflect a little.

I leaned into it and went for a 2.7-mile run this afternoon with my dog. Today was the first day in what feels like months that it has been both warm enough outside and not blanketed in snow, so running would be enjoyable. I’ve been itching to get out, so I was grateful for that today.

Over the past few months, I’ve been closing my Apple Watch rings every day using the Fitness+ service. I was pleased to find the daily exercise made jumping back into a long-ish run not only possible but fun. I wasn’t gasping for breath, my legs felt strong, and I could have kept going. Blisters might be my only speed bumps for this latest restart of my running obsession — rather than having to rebuild my endurance.

I wasn’t the only one outside on this pleasantly warm Sunday. There were parents walking babies and dogs walking parents. Everyone seemed just as happy as I was for the opportunity to get outside without bundling against the bitter cold. I could give that small wave and receive a smile in return. On a birthday where I won’t be able to meet up with friends for a drink, or go to dinner with family, that bit of normalcy was nice.

I always look forward to my birthday. As I get older, it’s less about the excitement of a celebration, but instead, because it’s as good a day as any to be kind to myself. I sleep late. I eat foods I enjoy. I watch or play what I like. I make myself stop worrying about things, breathe, and relax. At a time in my life when I feel pulled between wanting to make a difference in the world and also just worn down by it all, this is a much-needed day of solace, of smallness, of simplicity.

My wife recently asked what my favorite season was these days. Late summer and into fall was what I said. I love the smell of crunchy leaves in the air and the cool autumn breeze whisking away the heat of the summer. But I was reminded today that spring is pretty great too. Spring is the time to reflect, restart, and renew.

Happy birthday to me.


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