On Turning 25

Tampa Blogger Ayana Lage - Sandra Morlet photography

Photos: Sandra Morlet Photography // Top: Women’s Ruffle Sleeve Tie-Front Top // Shorts: Women’s Striped Waist Tie Shorts // Shoes: Nine West Raissa Sandals // Necklace and Bangles gifted by Modern Mesh // Bag: {a} haley boutique

What’s that sense of dread I feel? Oh, just the realization that I’m one year closer to 30. (I’M KIDDING.) If the post title didn’t give it away, today’s my 25th birthday. I’m writing this wrapped up in my favorite hoodie with some serious sinus problems, but I’m going to force myself to get dressed and moving soon. You only get one birthday a year, right?

Before I start partying hard, I want to spend some time reflecting on this year, what I’ve learned, and what I’m hoping for in the next 365 days. I’m a planner who loves envisioning the long-term, and it’s often unhealthy for me only because I punish myself for not reaching my goals. 25 was always a huge birthday in my eyes, and I just knew I’d be accomplished and successful by the time the milestone arrived. The funny thing is, I’ve got something that no accomplishment ever brought me: genuine happiness and the reminder that I am strong and full of life.

The Hard Stuff

  1. I lost my job unexpectedly with no backup plan.
  2. We left a church we loved (and a job VL adored) because it was no longer healthy.
  3. I was hospitalized during a depressive episode.
  4. VL and I faced more stress on our relationship than I could’ve ever anticipated.
  5. I drifted apart from friends who I thought would always be there.

The Silver Linings

  1.  My layoff forced me into a freelance career, which I’d avoided out of fear but actually loved.
  2. Finding our home church in Tampa was made even sweeter because of what we left behind.
  3. I’m more open and in-tune with my mental wellbeing than I’ve ever been.
  4. Marriage has taught us how to choose each other and say yes to love, even when we’re angry or upset or scared.
  5. Moving back home gave me a chance to rekindle friendships that I’d missed due to distance.

Coolest Moments

  1. Interviewing Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook headquarters.
  2. I had a tweet go viral, and Chrissy Teigen liked it.
  3. Arianna Huffington might know my name, and I’m still fangirling.
  4. My Lilly Pulitzer partnership I won’t shut up about.
  5. I saw several of my closest friends become parents, and it was life-changing, humbling, holy — any positive word you can think of, really.

Random Things I Learned

  1. Childish Gambino and Donald Glover are the same person.
  2. Prince Harry’s first name isn’t actually Harry. (This was thanks to Bustle’s incessant royals coverage, which I will miss.)
  3. Black coffee is still the enemy, and cream is your friend.
  4. If you write an article about how much you love being barefoot, people with fetishes will find you.
  5. I’m probably addicted to my cellphone. Whoops.

Goals For 26

  1. Travel to Europe with Vagner!
  2. Submit a personal essay to The New York Times, even if it isn’t published.
  3. Become stronger, physically and spiritually.
  4. Buy a house (fingers crossed this happens).
  5. Ride at least one roller coaster to conquer my fear.

Leave a Comment


  1. Amanda wrote:

    You will be able to ride a rollercoaster I PROMISE!! Start small and work your way up, like I did! I love this idea for reflecting on your past year. Sometimes even the worst time can catapult you towards new directions you never saw coming! I’m so proud of you for branching out with your Instagram/blog and that we were able to meet 🙂 I’m cheering for you, Ayana!
    P.S happy birthday! :))

    XO, Amanda
    <a href="http://www.affordablebyamanda.com&quot; rel="nofollow"> Affordable by Amanda </a>

    Posted 7.5.18 Reply
    • Ayana Lage wrote:

      Amanda, I LOVE YOU!! Thank you sooo much — so glad we met this year! xx

      Posted 7.16.18 Reply