26 // a state of the union address

As far as photos go from the b-day night, all I have are poor {absolute shit} quality iPhone snaps and pictures Monique took on my camera that are blurry and almost all of which include me attempting to Samba down the street. But it's what we have and it's a fair representation of how the night went after I'd had four glasses of Sangria {which I spilled on my new Lao dress obnoxiously all night} and was high on birthday love. I'm not mad about it. 

Every year of my life is more unpredictable than the next. Built on decisions based on whims or my emotions, there are few patterns that exist other than having a packed suitcase and a passport. However, there are two things you can count on every year with consistency: the annual essay to welcome in the New Year and the state of the union address on my birthday. 

If I don't make 26 look sexy in all it's blurry wonder, I don't know who does! 

If I don't make 26 look sexy in all it's blurry wonder, I don't know who does! 

So, here it is in all its glory: my birthday state of the union address.

The last five years in my twenties have been the most adventurous and fulfilling years of my life. I've gone places and seen things. I've done some cool shit. But every year, I doubt that the next 365 days could ever match or top the previous.  

And then, I'm proved wrong.

The next year is filled to the brim with adventure and good shit. 

A year ago, I was celebrating my 25th birthday in Laos. I was drinking wine and eating tofu stuffed bamboo shoots at a table with fellow volunteers turned friends. I was dancing back to the guesthouse in my favorite black dress along the Nam Khan with Grace. 

How could I have possibly guessed that this year on my 26th birthday, I would be in Laos once moreStrange how things turn out, aye? 

Touk, one of my fellow staff members and an absolute sanity-saver, has been explaining to me the importance of your 25th year in Buddhist culture. It is believed that 25 is the most important year of your life and that the decisions you make in your 25th year shape the reminder of your life. And as soon as Touk told me that I wanted to squeal, because that's exactly how I feel about 25.

While all of the first five years in my twenties have been more than I could have ever asked for or hoped they would be, there was something extra special and truly different about 25. It felt important. It felt like the decisions I made left a deeper impact on me. Something I can't put into words really. 

It was another year of traveling, sure, but it felt more like it was a year of making super important decisions-- character and self-defining decisions. In 25, I've found myself all over the globe discovering new parts of the world and re-visiting old favorites. I've found vulnerability whilst finding my strength. I found closure this year. I've continued to explore the depths of unconditional love, which I feel for my people and for myself

Typical Tara protocol for this annual post would include recapping the year {which I just did in a previous post}, finding a word that sort of sums "25" up, then writing something deep and meaningful. But, guys, I think what I have to say about 25 was that it was an important year. Perhaps the most important year of my life thus far. I have boxes full of boarding passes and a heart full of love for 25, but 26 is here and I want to be the best hostess upon its arrival. And I think I will be, because right now in my bedroom sitting under this slow moving fan after a morning of giving alms and grabbing iced coffee...I feel really, really happy. 

And despite this photo of my empty Sangria glass, my cup run-th over with good shit. 

I'm 26 years old today. I have no doubt that this year will be full of surprises and plot twists. 

And, of course, plane tickets.

*special thank you to all those who have sent packages, cards, messages, or posted birthday love on social media. I am the luckiest human alive when it comes to people and I love you all so much my heart just explodes at the thought of trying to express that.