Seven years ago today, was my most serious suicide attempt. It was the second of four, but it was the one that came the closest. In those moments, deaths felt like the best possible option.

Now, all those years later, as I celebrate a milestone birthday and freak out about being “old,” I also reveal that I got the chance to get older. It almost didn’t happen.

I think back to those dark moments and I wish I could have told myself all I would miss.

I would have never passed the bar.

I would never be a Top Writer at Quora.

I would have never walked over the Williamsburg Bridge.

I would have never gone rock-climbing or camping.

I would have never had a surprise birthday party, something I had dreamed of for years.

I would have never seen Wonder Woman or Avengers Endgame or Fauda, my imagination going wild.

I would have never joined Krav Maga, a journey that has changed me forever.

I would have never had an adopted niece whose smile lit up my life.

Most of all, I would have never met friends. I think about the people I met in the last few years and I’m deeply grateful.

Of course, it’s fair to say I wouldn’t have gone through: an abusive relationship, a year of the worst depression possible, heartbreak, failures, a terrible betrayal, and when everything seemed to be finally coming together, having my trust in others shaken almost beyond repair.

Yeah, it wasn’t a fairy tale happily ever after, and there are some really hard days. Now that my 35th birthday is coming up, I’m not where I wanted to be and my anxiety is getting really bad. I thought I’d have novels written and a family.

But I’m alive. I got the chance. According to the CDC, 42,773 American people in 2014 didn’t get that chance.

I’m alive. Despite the pain and the fear and the reality that life is hard, I’m still here.

Today, I’m so thankful that the number wasn’t 42,774.

Happy Alive Day.

To many more.

Many many more.