22nd Birthday Surprise

My dear friends,
I wanted to thank you all for making my birthday so special. You have no idea how much it means to me! This semester has been a whirlwind of crazy and confusing so far, so much so that some of you have only seen me in passing this year, zoning out over work in the dining hall. But there is SO much to celebrate about this year, and it meant a lot to celebrate with all of you in one place yesterday.
I have a box called my Happy Box that I open up on rainy days sometimes, full of notes and letters I've collected over the years from friends, family, teachers, employers, etc. that in some way remind me who I am, outside of my outside. The book of letters you all put together for me is like a little Happy Book in itself, and I can't express how much I needed your words last night.
My biggest fear on birthdays past, and the reason I annually (since birth) cry the day before, is that I feel like I won’t get that “birthday feeling” -- that childhood doted-upon feeling; that remembering-again-that-it’s-my-birthday-every-hour feeling, and everything that feeling means. And every year, I dread that it will be gone and that’ll mean my childhood is over.
This year, I didn’t feel that same "birthday" sensation -- and it wasn’t scary at all. Because remembering it’s your birthday every hour means remembering that people love you, and knowing that you’ll be showered with attention and care and SURPRISES at intervals throughout the day. And this year, today didn’t feel that different from any other day, because I know I have that every day. Maybe that means I’m old, or maybe it means I’m really, really lucky.
It truly touched me that you all took time out of your days to come and sit and talk, and knowing that I have friends who would do that any day of the year means more than I can say.
So all of this is what I meant to toast, and I'm sorry it came out as, "to the most fertile-with-respect-to-friends and supported phase of my life so far." I'll work on it for 23.
All my love,