My 25 Favorite Moments of Being 25

Turning 26 has no special ring to it. There’s no such thing as “the big 2–6.” Late twenties? Thrilling. Thirty, flirty, and thriving? Not yet. But know what? I’m okay with it being a “meh” age because my life isn’t “meh.” (Hint hint: I set out to prove it to myself below).

Selfishly, I wanted a way to look back at my year. Thinking about my birthday always gets the gears in my head turning — heck, even last year I set out to write the “25 things I’ve learned before I turned 25.” And honestly, completely forgot about it until I started writing this. I guess subconsciously, I treat my birthday as my “new year” rather than waiting until January 1. No resolutions or unmet expectations included. To piggyback off my lessons from year 25, here are My 25 Favorite Moments of Being 25. It’s pretty much my own personal yearbook in words.

1. Spending my birthday in San Diego at KAABOO — a three-day, music festival with all kinds of artists. I’m talking from The Chainsmokers to Aerosmith, from Hall & Oats to Fall Out Boy, and everything in between. Bonus: I romped around with my BFF who lives 2,000+ miles across the country. Two words: peach rings.

2. Celebrating Alpha Xi Delta’s centennial. That’s 100 years of heart sunshine and a whole lotta sisters. You might say I “paid for my friends.” Well then, thank goodness I did. These girls are who hold me together on the daily.

3. I helped plan, in less than six weeks, a day where 5,000 people had 500+ community conversations. The energy of The Big Table was palpable across Columbus that day, and was one of the coolest things to witness. We did it again 6 months later. By the way, my coworkers rock.

4. After dating for six months, I finally faced my fear of admitting that I truly-kinda-sorta-really liked my boyfriend — yet was still terrified of him meeting my parents. With a few beers in me, and a unanimous thumbs-up vote from a completely random group of drunk college girls at Out R Inn on a home Ohio State gameday, he met my parents. Thanks to beer and the vote of confidence from strangers, it went well. Hiccups and all.

5. I leaped (hesitantly) at a work promotion. Know the stats and stories about how men will apply for a job if they’re 60% qualified and women will apply only if they’re 99.9999% qualified (while worrying about the other .0001%)? Yeah, that was me. But I asked for it, and got it.

6. I’m now a photographer. Yes, pretty much overnight. It’s weird to say aloud, and normally I just mutter “I take photos,” but I’m working on it. Photography is a constant challenge and a constant practice. I had a good teacher with some good faith in me, and learned a completely new skill from scratch. I dig it.

7. I went on a solo trip to D.C. for work. I was sick as a dog but managed to walk the entire city and observe the air of the nation’s capital the two days leading up to the crazy, controversial 2016 Election. I won’t forget this moment sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

8. At one of my cousin’s weddings, the four sisters (aka my mom and three aunts) took a shot of Fireball to the song Fireball by Pitbull. Considering none of them really drink (ever), their party-ridden kids were proud. It also served as a reminder of how dang fun it is to have a loving, tight-knit family who has a blast together and always supports one another. We celebrated three Woodruff grandkid weddings in 9 months. Cheers.

9. This moment is solely for you-know-who (and is 3 moments combined), but I guess I had fun too: Topgolf. The Memorial Tournament. Putt-putt champs.

10. OHIO STATE BEATS MICHIGAN IN DOUBLE OVERTIME. And we somehow snagged a spot by the heater outside at Little Bar. Score and score.

11. I said goodbye to my grandpa. There’s no doubt in my mind that this was one of the hardest days in my (now) 26 years of life. He was an incredible family man, father, husband, friend, and grandpa. We slowly lost him mentally to Alzheimer's, an utterly devastating disease that takes no pity on its victims or their caretakers. Losing him physically broke our hearts. I thank God for the time I did have with him and know exactly who to talk to when I need comfort.

12. MLK Day was a mixed a day of volunteering, photography for work, and checking an ABC restaurant off the list. You see, at the end of 2015, a girlfriend and I started “Eating Through the Alphabet,” meaning we challenged ourselves to eat through Columbus’ food scene at restaurants, bars, and hole-in-the-walls with names in alphabetical order that we had never been to before. Now, we’re on letter “T” and our group has grown into a girls dinner of about 10. Sometimes we let the guys come too. I started this to document our faves. It’s not quite up-to-date because… life.

13. I baked and decorated my first ever two-layer cake for my best friend’s birthday — as bright and sweet as she is. She’s the big deal, not the cake. We celebrated our 20 year friendiversary this month. I treasure her so so much.

14. Two strangers proved there is still SO. MUCH. GOOD. in this world. Yes, still. Yes, I truly believe that. It happened over coffee at DK Diner. We need to share more of these good moments to combat the bombardment of negative we see every day. And just simply be kind. It’s that easy.

15. That one time we pretended to be models…

16. Family spring break in Tampa! I don’t think I could’ve eaten any more seafood if I tried. If you have the opportunity to go on a family trip, make time and do it. You might have a stuck-in-too-small-of-a-rental-car-going-the-wrong-way-down-a-one-way-street moment or two, but the memories are worth it.

17. I explored more of Columbus for work and for play. Here’s a favorite. And another. And one more.

18. I got a sister! And was in my first wedding party. My older brother married the love of his life at the most beautiful wedding. It was Pinterest-perfect. Although I’m still convinced they conspired to have me catch the bouquet and my boyfriend catch the garter. Fun family times I tell ya. At least we looked cute.

19. As “coincidental” as that was… In April, I celebrated meeting a cute, stranger at a bar. A year later, I’d say we’re both still happy that an almost-disastrous night talking about politics turned into pickleback shots, dancing, and a near Kroger break in. We’ve packed so much fun into so little time. You can find love in a hopeless place, people. It’s called Bernards.

20. I celebrated another anniversary. Three years at my first and only “real world” job. And continue to genuinely enjoy it thanks to the people I work with and what we can do together for Columbus.

21. My little brother graduated from The Ohio State University — making us a 3-buckeye family. Neither myself nor my brothers could’ve made it without the support of my parents. Good work M&D. We love you.

22. Simply put: Puppies! Ya’ll already knew this one was coming. Our family dog surprised us with puppies over Fourth of July weekend. Six little puppers that are the cutest things ever. My parents kept this one and my boyfriend kept this one so I lucked out double. Next litter TBA, and many more pupdates to come.

23. I acted like a kid at Disney World! My boyfriend and his family are the world’s biggest and best Disney Vacationers. Luckily for me, they let me tag along on their trip. (Mind you, this was my boyfriend’s 21st trip and my first in 20 years.) It was an absolute blast. So grateful for that fun trip and for such a loving family who’s embraced me with arms wide open.

24. Flip to the most opposite trip possible and my next adventure was… Vegas! Talk about wild. Five girlfriends and I had a whirlwind 48-hours-turned-extra-day trip that was hilarious. VIP when we didn’t try (or want) to be, an extra bottle here, a free cabana there, and lots of wings. Pure joy. So many laughs.

25. The final moment isn’t the coolest and definitely isn’t quite the best. (Hint: Shoulder surgery after a year-long injury.) But the day before, my boyfriend took me to Cedar Point to get my mind off things and is still keeping me sane through the process. My friends, family, and coworkers sent me love, lots of flowers, and support. My parents cared for me, went back to the days of cutting up my food and tying my shoes, and let me be their roommate for 3 weeks. Cheers to recovery as I typed this all one-handed! (It took me all 3 weeks.)

These are the big moments. The macro moments of my 25th year. It’s anything but “meh” and is 100% because of my incredible family, friends, boyfriend and his family, and coworkers. I’m grateful for each of you.

I’m setting out to spend year 26 noticing the smaller, micro moments.

(It’s not a resolution, alright?) Because even though these 25 moments are some of my favorites and the easiest to remember, and the ones I take photos of… It’s the little moments that truly count.

Stay tuned.

xo lyns