The fact that two decades have past by in a blink of an eye is a really scary feeling. I'm suddenly no longer a teenager, and entering real adulthood. *Dun dun dun...* 20 may sound young, but there's a lot you can learn through your teenage years:

  1. Be nostalgic. Stay up late and look through old baby photos. Compare yourself from when you were five years old to now. Look at how far you have come. Look at photos of your parents before you were born. Learn from their example of true love.
  2. You are enough. Do not let that boy make you feel any less than beautiful.
  3. Spend the day under the covers. Flip through old books you loved when you were 12 years old. Watch the light reflect off of your mirror. Remember this moment of pure bliss and relaxation.
  4. Eat the donut and don’t look back.
  5. Don’t fight your dad on what he’s making for dinner. Watch him cook dinner and learn how he makes his famous chicken cutlets. One day you'll be in your own apartment with a full kitchen without any knowledge on what to cook.
  6. Take every opportunity that is presented to you. You only get one life to live, so you better start doing what makes you happy.
  7. Be kind to others. A little kindness goes a long way.
  8. Always work hard.
  9. Call your grandma often. Take her out for breakfast or lunch and watch her eyes light up when you tell a story. Listen to her laugh and place it in a neat box of your memories. Watch as she transforms into a little girl again when she laughs. Cherish those small moments.
  10. Learn how to trust others, even when they give you every reason not to. Do not close yourself off from relationships because of pain from the past. You deserve relationships and good people in your life.
  11. Traditions are important. They make life a little more interesting and unique. Go to the same restaurant on your birthday every year. Go to your town's parade each fall. Always eat zeppoles at the county fair. Build a snowman in your front yard on a snow day, no matter how old you are.
  12. Exercise. It’s good for your body, health, and mind.
  13. Try something new; you never know if you’ll like it. Learn how to knit, ski, play a musical instrument, or take a foreign language.
  14. Dance even if you think you look foolish. Dance out your sadness, happiness, excitement, anxiety, and anger. Dance until you are doubled over laughing with tears in your eyes. Dance until you can’t possibly dance anymore.
  15. Be charitable. There will always be others who are less fortunate than you. Give a little and see how many lives you can change.
  16. Stay home on a Friday night and hang out with your family. Watch a movie, play a board game, bake cookies, and laugh. Your family is your support system that will always love you no matter what. Hold them close and never let them go.
  17. You will find love. Sometimes it comes when we least expect it. Don’t fight love; embrace it and all of its wonderful qualities. Take a leap of faith and go for it. That person may just be the one.
  18. Go on adventures. Go with a friend or go alone. Explore the world around you. There are so many people to meet and places to go. Grab your camera, a blanket, a snack, and hop in the car and just drive (don’t forget to make an awesome road trip soundtrack).
  19. Where you are right now is not your destination. Live in the moment and don’t take things for granted. If you’re not happy, find what makes you happy and indulge in it.
  20. Be nobody but yourself. You are one of a kind. Do not let others tell you otherwise. Love openly, deeply, and unconditionally. Chase your dreams and never ever give up. Life is short, so start living your life today.