Hello World,

Yes, it truly is me. Remember that time we last talked?

The past six months have been a roller coaster of personal adventures that have taken my life back to the feelings I thought I had lost. For now all I need/want to say is that we all have secrets and what we conceal is a decision that is made everyday. I like to believe that I always speak the truth (ish) and that I have let the walls down to the point of feeling exposed but there is still a lot that I have to say.

Disappearing from my blog for the past six months has been a wonderful decision that I made back when I was still living in Lakeview. I was at the point where I found myself up late feeling jealous and looking at the bullshit of other people’s wellness. I stayed up many late nights feeling hopeless and yelling at the walls of that old apartment. How did I get so low? I didn’t seem to understand it until one day I made the decision to book a one-way flight to Mexico because I pictured a better life.

I traveled through Mexico and stayed at our family home, clearing my mind from everything toxic. When it was time to come back to the states I took a road trip back with my parents. Once back I stayed at my brothers home for two months until my apartment was ready for move in. It was in this time that the fear inside started disappearing and the road that had been taking me home had finally been exposed.

I have been in my new apartment for a few weeks now and it’s here that I’m celebrating and starting the next chapter of my life. My 30th birthday was yesterday (August 27th) and honestly I can say that I’ve been celebrating since Friday.

Friday night I got picked up by someone who shall remain anonymous for the moment. All I can say is that he makes me happy and made my birthday memorable in ways that no one has ever done. It all started at a French restaurant and ended Saturday morning with a bike ride.

Saturday. Met my brother along the lake for a quick bike ride. Biking with him and catching up while we overlook the beautiful lake and having the city in the background brought back memories of our childhood. Saturday night I went to what I was told was a simple dinner. Turns out that my friends, brother and sister-in-law decided to surprise me at a lovely restaurant. We had an awesome dinner and then we danced the night away

Sunday was a fun-day. My friends Matthew, Andy and Paris blew it out of the park with something so simple yet so thoughtful and completely unexpected. They blind folded me and put me into an Uber without telling me anything. Once we pulled up to the mysterious location I was taken the blindfold off. We were at the Lincoln Park Zoo and it was in that moment that I knew everything was going to be okay. I realized that thirty is the start of the free-to-be-yourself decade. It was here that four over qualified grown men rode a carousel and walked the park on an extremely hot day. We had brunch and eventually ended up in Boystown. Thank you Matthew, Andy, Paris, Lyndsey, Vic, Ryan, Joe, George, Kyle and Stevie for making my day so special.

Monday was my actual birthday. I woke up to a phone call from my parents and countless other calls, texts, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn messages. In the afternoon I met my friend Beth Anne from Anderson Photography at The Happy Place. THP is a massive pop-up experience filled with larger than life art installations. Part of the fun was dancing, jumping and playing inside the world’s largest confetti dome. After spending hours at The Happy Place we made our way back to my place to freshen up. For dinner Beth Anne, Matthew and I went to PR Italian Bistro in Lakeview. We sat outdoors under the warmly lit space and it was the perfect way to end my birthday celebration. Not just because the food was delicious but because I got to spend my day with the two people who have changed my life since the moment we met.

Thank you to all the friends and family members who took a minute of their day to wish me a happy birthday. Special thanks to the loved ones who helped me celebrate this past weekend, it truly means the world to have such wonderful people in my life! They never say that you have to grow up quite this soon, especially how fast things change. I’m now here.

Reneh Valdez
Living in Modern

PS. Thank you to Anderson Photography for the wonderful photographs. Much love!

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