Natalia - Boise, Idaho
Entered on March 12, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem


I believe in celebrating unbirthdays, all three hundred and sixty-four.

I’m not going to lie- it was the classic Alice and Wonderland that inspired me to have such a belief, and I’m not ashamed to say so.

In the story, Alice finds herself lost in a world so unlike that of her own. Of the many obstacles she undergoes, Alice finds herself at a mad tea party, where she is greeted by the Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse. Questioning the occasion, she asks what the celebration is for. Assuming it is a birthday party, she apologizes for interrupting.

“Why my dear child this is not a birthday party,” the March Hare responds.

“Heavens no,” says the Mad Hatter. “This is an unbirthday party.”

I can honestly say that this alone motivated me. So often do I hear the overused phrase “live everyday like it’s your last”, but this seems so much more real to me. It makes me want to celebrate my existence everyday, and to make merry each day of my life.

I can’t say that I put fifteen candles on a cake and make a wish every morning. I don’t hang piñatas in my bedroom, nor do I open gifts every day. I have since then, however, learned to wake up in the mornings to find reasons to be happy. It doesn’t have to be your birthday to be a special day- every day should be extraordinary.

Not only did Alice inspire me to celebrate my own life, but I also learned never to take for granted the lives of the people who surround me day by day. Life is most definitely a roller coaster- I realized that every day should be celebrated when I almost lost my cousin.

She was seven years old when she went through three massive brain surgeries to remove a five centimeter brain tumor that was stunting her growth. I find myself telling her story so often, probably because I learned a lot from it. The chances of Sophia losing her eyesight were immense, as was her chance of dying. It’s ironic, really, that this would happen to a girl who was constantly recognized for her stunning ocean-blue eyes. She went through over thirty-six hours of surgery and was in the hospital for two months. I spent these sixty days praying like no other, with more anxiety and sadness than I have ever experienced in my life. In the end, I learned never to take her life for granted; to commemorate her life every day.

I am so thankful to say that she is alive and doing well to this day, but I definitely learned that life takes turns when you least expect them- a lot like this roller coaster, steeply and swiftly going up and down.

There are those turns when you get a nice breeze, where you realize exactly where you are before you take another turn. Little do you know, that next turn could be unexpected and downhill, abrupt and harsh, and probably unreasonable. The next turn could be steady- I try to keep my balance, even though nothing I do can stop the next turn from happening.

This roller coaster is uncontrollable, and we’re constantly waiting for the next turn.

Until then, I’ll celebrate unbirthdays;

All three hundred and sixty-four.