When I  crossed the Golden Gate Bridge a few months ago, I knew this was something I would like to do on my  milestone birthday. I never liked celebrating my birthday but I felt I needed to do something different this year. I came up with the idea to celebrate it by crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. Of course, it has to be in New York, where I feel most alive. 

There’s probably a metaphorical reason why I want to cross a bridge on my birthday. Perhaps a bridge is a symbol of hope, and everything I had hoped for in life is waiting for me at the other end. Unfortunately, there’s a huge gap between that end and from where I am. And before I reach that point, I need to learn the lessons that not everything bad that happened to me happened because of me. I have to learn to love and treat myself better. I need to learn to be my own hero. Without those lessons, I will never be able to fill the empty void. No bridge will ever be built between those two opposite ends without realizing my life is beautiful regardless of how empty I feel.

Life is beautiful indeed and every moment is a celebration of being alive. But my life hasn’t  always been beautiful. It’s been one big struggle and I believe I have faced deep adversities and challenges much more than anyone I know. I have been through abusive and deceitful relationships that forced me to make moral decisions at a young age. I have dealt with life or death situations in the face of childhood cancer. My father passed away without the chance of me saying goodbye and will carry that guilt and regret forever. And more recently, I’ve to face another difficult challenge: my older son’s identity crisis.

If I have to write a memoir, I don’t think anyone would believe a person could go through a series of disappointments and heartaches in just one lifetime. It would put Elizabeth Gilbert’s struggles to shame in her book Eat, Pray, Love but would parallel Cheryl Strayed’s deeply scarred emotions in Wild. But unlike them, I don’t have a bestseller book or any claim to fame. Instead, what I have is a huge reservoir of sadness.

It’s probably right to assume that what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. That’s why I’m still here, standing strong, hoping to fill the empty void someday, and that my life will finally see what’s waiting for me at the other end. But for now, I will have to settle and make peace with the sadness I feel on most days, thinking it’s all part of life–my life.

**if you are interested, the best site I found for a complete guide on walking the Brooklyn Bridge  is by Free Tours by Foot (http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/walking-the-brooklyn-bridge/).