This week, I turn 20 and finally exit the realm of the sweet, difficult, awkward, and rewarding teenage years. I’ve been thinking about it for the past couple of months, about how this birthday truly marks me becoming an adult. Personally, I’ve always been one to not want to get older and grow up; I’m a big fan of savoring the moment and tend to get caught in some nostalgia. So here it is, my final parting thoughts as a teenager addressed to my fresh, new 20-year-old self.
Congratulations! You made it through some of the most awkward and confusing years of anyone’s life - the time when one is a teenager. A lot can happen in that span of seven revolutions around the sun, from the day you turn 13 till the day you turn 20, which is why, right now, I want to reflect on some of the things you’ve done in all this time.
When you were 13, you graduated from middle school, one of the hardest times of your life, and moved from Honolulu, Hawaii, back to your family’s home near Washington, D.C. You found that things were a lot different than you remembered.
At 14, you started high school at a co-ed boarding school and had to grow up QUICK. You found a real fire and passion for your first love (soccer) and spent almost all your free time practicing.
At 15, your family moved halfway across the country (again), to St. Louis, MO. You met your ride-or-die high school best friend and your love for her, even five years later, has never grown weaker. Your heart broke when your doctor looked at you after your major injury and told you “you will never play soccer seriously again.”
At 16, you got your license, had your first boyfriend (and breakup), and started cheerleading (your second love). Lots of angst & rebellion during this time. You had the best summer of your whole life (thanks to said high school bestie).
At 17, your family was split in half due to your dad’s job and your brother and dad left your mom and yourself to live separately for a year while you finished high school in STL. You had the hardest year of your life, but later you looked back and realized you wouldn’t have changed it for the world. You faced the adversity you did so you could grow above it and realize your worth. You realized people are mean, but it makes them ugly, not you. Oh, and not to mention, you built your relationship with your mom into a best-friendship and fell in love with your other high school best friend (hey, @J). You graduated and moved to Hawaii with your mom to finally reunite with your brother and dad.
At 18, you moved away to college in Kentucky. You went through Panhellenic Recruitment and found the first place you’ve ever felt fully accepted for who you are (thank you, Alpha Delta Pi for knowing me better than I know myself). You met your best friends through ADPi, had an all-around blast, found your future career path, and did a lot of growing. You grew apart from your high school boyfriend, but in a good way that you later would learn made sense in the future.
At 19, you got cheated on and it knocked you off your feet for a little, but ultimately it helped you grow more and realize what you actually wanted from life. You gathered yourself, completely moved everyone involved with it out of your circle, and never looked back. You did a little soul searching and found the girl inside of you that had been missing. You grew closer to your friends (so close, that now you have a whole group of best friends who you can do anything with (sappy, but true)), and you made unforgettable memories with them. The door you closed at age 18 with J opened back up to show you what a healthy and rewarding relationship is and reminded you what happiness is. You found yourself content with everything in your life for a long time, even with all the craziness in the world (thanks a lot, @COVID-19).
And now, here you are at 20 after everything, absolutely thriving, and more happy, confident, comfortable, and at peace than you have ever been. This next chapter just feels oh-so-good and I know you’re ready for anything life could throw at you in this next decade. These next ten years are sure to be even more eventful than the last. This will be the decade in which you graduate from UK, go to law school, get your first big-girl job, move to a new city (or more than one), and begin your real adult life (speaking it alllllll into existence). I can’t wait, proud of you.