St. Patrick's Day is a very big deal for me. It's been a big deal for me since 2012, when I went to the downtown block party with Cameron and Greg and had one of the greatest holidays of my life. As long as I live I will never forget the closeness the three of us felt that day. Arms slung around one another's shoulders as we belted out Sunday Bloody Sunday, singing along with the U2 cover band that sounded for all the world like the real thing, feeling invincible in our connection to one another, to our futures, to our beliefs about ourselves. 

It was just a few weeks before my dad got sick, and it remains in my memory a time of suspended innocence, before everything just went...upside down. Before my dad died. Before I inherited all the money that I was completely unprepared to handle. Before I learned how deep and dark my depression can go. Before I wasted nearly four years aimlessly wandering the halls of my own life.

March 17th, therefore, imprinted itself on me. It came to signify joy and friendship - and the friends I choose as family. It became my favorite holiday.  And for the next couple of years, I lucked out and again and again and had absolutely fantastic, laughter and love-filled St. Paddy's Days. Different friends, different boyfriends; same celebration of gratitude.

So gearing up for this year, freshly (read: painfully) single, I really, really wanted to have a special day. I needed it. So I took a shot at organizing a relatively big group of friends/coworkers/ex-coworkers. And though I tried to keep my expectations low, I really did pin a lot of hope on everyone turning out. In the morning I rallied the troops and started a group text to get everyone laughing and hooked on being together. And it worked. And they all came (except one, who couldn't get out of work). And it was just fucking glorious.  

We opted out of the actual block party and took up residence at the corner bar (which was much busier than these photos make it look). And for the first time in, I don't know, maybe ever, I spent the day with people who not only love me and accept me despite my vast catalogue of personal failings - they also respect me as a coworker and, crazily enough, their boss. 

And I felt more whole in myself than I can remember ever feeling. And it was just such a wonderful thing, to talk and laugh and spend time with people I've grown close to over the past two years, to just lean back and watch them be exactly themselves. There was lots of drunken hugging - we are an affectionate and demonstrative bunch. Multiple times I laughed so hard I cried. And then in other moments I just quietly listened and appreciated these incredibly supportive, really good humans I get to have in my life.

We partied from 4pm until midnight, across two bars and then Edmund's house, where we ended with wine and pizza and conversation about Big Things, until we all just couldn't go anymore. Some had peeled off by then, to go dancing at Short Stop. But I was exactly where I was meant to be, with the exact core group I wanted to stay with.

Today I stopped by to say hi to Costa as I was leaving work. We talked for a minute about whatever, and then he said something like "By the way, yesterday? Was the greatest day ever. You made the greatest day ever happen." I shook my head, started to say it was thanks to amazing people just showing up, and that's all that matters.

"Yeah but you made them show up. You set it up, you invited everyone, and it was such a great crew. We all had a blast. Seriously best day ever."

That right there is all I need in this world - and I'm not talking about the compliment of my party planning skills. That right there is a dose of invincibility that will power me for months.

Not that this puts ever more pressure on you, St. Paddy's, 2020. Don't worry about it. I'm sure you'll do just fine.