Twenty-Two Candles: Spreading out my birthday wishes.

I am 22-years-old today.

Growing up I used to equate the number of wax candles sunk deep into the vanilla frosting with the number of wishes I could make. Turning six constituted as a long haul so I was rightfully granted six wishes. Turning ten was surviving a decade, I certainly deserved ten wishes that birthday. And though I am better informed today that you blow out the candle and make ONE wish, and although I have taken to finding wishes in other places i.e. pennies in fountains, wishbones, eyelashes and even resorting to "11:11" when I really need it, today I want my 22 wishes.

Not because I need 22 wishes, simply because, I really don't. My life is beautiful. My life is leading me in all the places I have always wished to go. I am blessed in every sense of the word. But even so, I am snatching up those 22 beautiful wishes, those 22 waxy trinkets that glow for me today. Trust me, oh trust me, I have places for to send these little wishes.

My first wish is for the friends who sew me back together time and time again. They know my heart. They know my dreams. They know, often more than I, what I am capable of. I wish that they will continue to live freely and happily, that they will love this life very fiercely but very delicately.

My second wish is for my family, those near and those far. May they each have all the happiness that this year can hold and may they know that I think the world of them, even when it does not always show.

My third wish is for those who have taught me the meaning to this life just by being in mine. My wish is that their happiness be doubled, their dreams be tripled and their blessings be quadrupled.

My fourth is for all of us. That we all forget what constitutes for "a birthday;" a date on a calendar, and all celebrate today as if it were our own. So let's shun the challenges we may be facing today and take time to bask in the goodness of life, treat ourselves and stop to kiss the sky, if only for a moment.

My fifth wish is for all those who are dying on the inside although they make everyone believe that they are happy on the exterior; they smile, they laugh, they hide the tears. May they find what will allow them to mirror that happiness on the inside and find ways to be whole.

My sixth wish for the bloggers who have inspired me daily with their words, their aspirations, their kind comments, and their daring to dish out their dreams to the world. There are far too many to name them all, but you have all taught me the importance of putting your heart out there on the internet. Thank you for always embracing mine.

My seventh for all who are searching. Some Aware Of What They Need. Some Unsure Of What They Seek. May everyone who is looking find what they need. And when they find it, I wish for them to hold it tight. So tight. On the brink of suffocating that little sucker, whatever it may be; inner truth. Beauty. Happiness. Love. God. Direction.

My eighth for those who have recently walked across a stage to take a diploma in their hand and put a new destination under their feet. This wish is for success in all that you do and pride in all you have already done.

My ninth wish is for all the little children in this world who are aching in their tummies for food. I pray that they are filled with life and energy and vitality and that they are one day known for the the notable things they are capable of. Not As A Tragic Statistic In Somebody's Text Book.

My tenth is for those out there who are facing a tough time and need rest. May they always have shoulders to lean on and inner strength to get them through. I wish for their load to be lightened and their days to be brighter.

My eleventh wish is for world peace. Because you knew I was going to ask for it. And I am dreaming big today, so why not?

My twelfth is for those who dedicate their time to improving the world we live in today. If anyone is capable of bringing about the world peace, it is them. May their efforts always be noticed; in God's eyes and in the eyes of everyone surrounding them.

My thirteenth is for anyone who is doubting today. Doubting a dream or a direction. Doubting A Friend. Doubting A Lover. This wish is for clarity.

My fourteenth wish is for all those have recently received clarity. May this wish give them the courage to accept the clarity and make the necessary life changes they need to embrace a new route or decision. And may they be contented so they can smile in an effortless manner.

My fifteenth is for any young girl or young woman out there who feels not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough. My wish is one that I made a thousand times all throughout my years of growing: I wish you feelings of beauty, independence and love that will give you the power to embrace yourself as "enough." Because whether you know it or not, you are enough.

My sixteenth wish is for any person who feels stagnant today. Looking For Adventure. Itching For A Change. I wish, with eyes closed tight and breath held deep in my cheeks, that the change will come and you will adore the opportunities and seize them. Seize Them.

My seventeenth is for those who woke up today and realized they still have a broken heart. This is a wish so that they will know that they are not alone and that brokenness always leads to healing. Here is an invitation to come sit by me with your glue stick and we can help each other to put the pieces back in place.

My eighteenth is a special one. Perhaps the most important of all. This wish is for anyone who has a dream that they worry is too big, too impossible, too "unpractical." May you forget all of those adjectives and adopt these words: Don't let others belittle your dreams or tell you that you cannot achieve something. Your dreams belong to you for a reason and they simply want to be held by you for now. But one day, yes one day, your dreams are going to beg you to do something with them. This wish is a hope that you will.

My nineteenth wish is for all of us. I wish for us all to fail big. REAL BIG. (And no, I am not trying to be malicious in this wish). Only then, after failing a few times, will we really know how much this all means. But for when we fail, I hope we come back fiercer than ever, showing this life that we are strong and resilient and that stumbling is a precursor for our solid sturdiness.

My twentieth wish is for him. Out there. Wherever he is. I wish that if he is lost then someone will give him a map. And if he is making his way towards me, maybe he will pick up a coffee (iced with a shot of soy) (just kidding). But whoever he is, I wish he that he will know that I am eager to meet him and I cannot wait to be his best friend.

My twenty-first wish is for the world to stay young at heart. To Be Serious. To Be Geared Towards Change. But to wake up every single day and still search out the simple things in this lifetime; the smiles, the hugs, the kind words of a stranger, the dialogues, the tenderness of moments.

My twenty-second wish is for me. Mine, all mine. I wish for a year that leaves me with an energy and vibrancy that is contagious. I wish to be inspired by more and inspire more daily. And most of all, I wish to keep treating life as a tall glass of lemonade; sucking the juices out and finding the sweetness every single day.