25.

Here we are. Today is my 25th birthday – I’ve hit the quarter-century mark. Wow, even just typing that makes me feel old or something. But that’s besides the point; I always like birthdays, because it means that you’ve made it through another year. No matter what life threw at you – obstacles, challenges, difficulties – you made it through, and got to this point. And we do it over and over again.

With that, I want to reflect on the past year. It was a huge growth year for me, I think. A lot in my life changed in my 24th year. I got engaged after asking my then-boyfriend to marry me. I moved out on my own, out of my mother’s house. Even those two things on their own are pretty huge, and they only begin to slice the surface of the past year.

I opened my 24th year with my mother and boyfriend singing happy birthday to me over a cake near midnight. I worked that day, then went to Cracker Barrel for dinner. It started to snow as we left – seemingly harmless – but that would turn out to be Snowvember, where so much snow hit that there were driving bans and travel advisories. My birthday was a Monday, and that was the only day I ended up working that week. Instead, I spent the rest of those days cooped up with my mother and boyfriend watching all of the Harry Potter films. I can’t complain.

I got to see some pretty cool places over the past year, including my first-ever visit to Letchworth State Park, a place I’ve wanted to visit for years. I also visited Sodus Bay and Elmira for the first time, and added another Finger Lake (Keuka, in mid-winter) to my list. The standards Pittsburgh, Erie, Toronto, Rochester and Hamilton were in there too, as was a July trip to Muskoka that I really enjoyed.

I went to my first FC Buffalo soccer match, and my first Shakespeare in the Park. I saw a bunch of wonderful theatre shows: Motown, Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, Kinky Boots, Newsies and Matilda, all at Shea’s, plus “Let it Be” and Singin’ in the Rain. I saw my older nephew graduate from Pre-K, and my younger one start walking.

Honestly, I wanted to write more, but to sum it up: the past year was a huge one for me. I feel like I grew in so many different ways and I’m honestly excited to see what 25 has in store for me!

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