This week is my birthday week, with August 27 being my birthday. It’ll seem like an ordinary week; I’ll be working, but my job is part-time so it’s all good. At the same time, my birthday week will be a huge celebration filled with travel, friends and family, self-pampering, and plenty of self-reflection.

As I look back on my years, I can only arrive at one conclusion: what a life I have led! I am blessed to have met all my goals by the time Friday rolls around. 

Here are the major goals I’ve accomplished: 

I’m a published author. I have many titles available on Amazon and other online bookstores, as well as online magazines. I’ve been participating in author readings and at book signing events. The most recent one was the 2021 Space Coast Book Lovers event in Cape Canaveral, Fla., this past June. I have a growing following on my social media accounts such as Twitter and Instagram — followers for whom I’m grateful for reading my work and accompanying me on this journey of creativity.

I’m an award-winning journalist. I earned two New Jersey Press Association Awards (2009 and 2010) and two Florida Press Association Awards (2016 and 2019). Telling stories is what I was born to do. Getting paid and recognized for my work are byproducts.

I’m a wife and a mother. I first met my husband when we were college students in New Jersey. We were in the same freshman orientation group! Many, many years later, we got married, and we have two wonderful daughters.

I’m a homeowner. In 2017, my husband and I were able to buy our first house, a single-family starter house that is a great abode to raise a family in.

Besides achieving the above goals, I have made excellent friends who have been with me through thick and thin. I bonded with the writing community both online and in person, and I have traveled overseas. 

Beyond my birthday, I know there are much larger and better opportunities on the horizon for me. I helped launch a startup business that is thriving. I’m collaborating with several terrific authors on creative projects (one being a boxed series of novellas). And in the personal arena, it’s wonderful to witness my elder daughter mature as an artist as she enters her sophomore year of college and to watch my younger toddler daughter grow too. 

As an only child who grew up in North Jersey, my family and I weren’t swimming in our money bin a la Scrooge McDuck, but we lived a comfortable life. Throughout my childhood, I had a solid circle of friends, participated in many extracurricular activities and volunteer work, and consistently stayed on the honor roll. Sure, I experienced tumultuous times — who hasn’t in their childhood or even their adulthood? Yet for the most part, I have nothing but fond childhood memories. 

Graduating from college magna cum laude and finding employment with one of the most prestigious media companies in the Tri-State Area, North Jersey Media Group, were all goals I had set out to achieve and did. 

Yet, I thought I’d live the rest of my days in the New York City area. When I decided to move out of New Jersey, it was something I hadn’t done before — to suddenly pack up everything and move to a state I’m not familiar with, let alone consider vacationing in or living in. Moving out of New Jersey — where I called home most of my life — seemed frightening at first, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

So what do I have in store from this week going forward? I made a list of goals I want to achieve for the next stage of my life. Yet I’m not sharing it because doing so would mean opening it up to naysayers who’ll criticize that my dreams aren’t worth fulfilling for many reasons. So for now, I’ll keep this list a secret. When the time is right (and when I do the items on that list), I’ll unveil it. 

So this week, I’ll be diving into some cake (chocolate ganache!), admiring some birthday bouquets, and whooping it up with friends and family, because this birthday week will be unforgettable!

Teresa Edmond-Sargeant is an award-winning journalist and author. She released her first collection of short stories “Inner Demons” in October 2020. She is the author of the short story ebooks “Eve the First,”“For My Sister,” and “Sammy’s Butterflies.” “A Symphony of Silence” is her second poetry collection. Her latest short story “Healing” is published on Short Fiction Break.