My birthday was always a day I looked forward to every year.

The other 364 days, I hate attention. I hate having any sort of spotlight and I hate being talked about. I'm an introvert who enjoys school, reading, work and working toward my profession of journalism. But on my birthday, I love feeling celebrated, like I'm wanted on earth that sometimes feels like you can disappear and no one would care. It sounds depressing, but it's the truth. It's the one day of the year when people really pour their heart out to you, reminding you how much you're loved and how much they cherish your presence.

Maybe I don't necessarily love my birthday, maybe I just love seeing the raw heart of humanity.

My birthday was one week ago. And it was also the first birthday I dreaded. Over the past year, I lost friends to circumstances that don't matter enough to explain. I left the apartment I called home for two years. I searched for a new roommate and a house 30 minutes away from my broken relationships. And I had to pick myself up to begin an uncertain future in hopes of restoring a new sense of updated reality.

For months I only had my boyfriend. Don't get me wrong, he's my rock and best friend, but I couldn't put the pressure on just him to be the one there for me. It was a lot of pressure on him and our relationship. So I began to put myself out there and try to make new friends.

As aforementioned, I'm an introvert, so this was a battle I dreaded from the beginning. But in the end, I now have more genuine, authentic friendships because I began to look everywhere and see the beauty in people I would have overlooked if I still had my former friends.

But in those months I was alone, I would think about my birthday, the day I looked forward to each year, and I wept. I thought about being alone on the day I saw most beauty, how lonely it would feel to no longer feel celebrated. But I was cynical and I was wrong.

My 22nd birthday was the best birthday I had yet. All of my new friends were able to come together and meet one another at dinner without any expectations, and it felt pure to be the glue to new possible crossover friendships. We laughed, we ate Asian food, we drank sake and it was better than any expectation.

The purpose of me telling you this is so that no matter what season you are experiencing in life, you know there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how dark, stormy or uncertain your future may look, you have to take your fate into your own hands. No one is going to drop friends, good grades, or whatever you desire off at your front door... you have to go get it yourself.

Push your personal boundaries and fight for what you deserve and what you want. I did, and it worked out for me.