Birthday Intention

On the day before
my 25th birthday,
I’m happy. I’m on
the step I should
be, as I progress
on the path I’ve
always known was
for me. I grew up
living next to a
hospital–my dad
was a surgeon in
Ethiopia. I have
always been work-
ing toward some-
thing ahead, or
looking back to
reflect. Today my
intention is to
be fully present;
there’s no need to
postpone everyday

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

“Tomorrow is my 25th birthday. I’ve been reflecting a lot on where I thought I’d be by now,” she said. She told me she’d been born in Ethiopia and moved to the U.S. when she was in high school. She took her education seriously, and was always working toward something bigger than herself, looking ahead to the future. One thing she never expected was to be living this close to her family again. “My family is a very big part of my life. After six years of being away at school, I’m close to them again; my mom works only five minutes from here,” she said. She told me she was excited about the future, but that she realized she also wanted to learn to be more present and find happiness in everyday life.

Interviewee: Anonymous, Medical Student
Listener Poet: Jenny Hegland

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