I turned 20 this week, and at first, it didn’t feel like anything changed. I was dreading turning 20, to be honest, and that’s mainly because I had to say goodbye to being a teenager.

The teenage years are the golden years and they are when you learn lessons that will carry you through the rest of your life. Whether you learn those lessons the easy way or the hard way, they are sure to stick with you for a whole lifetime.

For me, I learned the importance of family and that they will always have your back. I know friendships don’t last forever and some people aren’t meant to stay in our lives. I know how to stand up for myself and not be afraid to voice my opinion.

Not only are the teenage years the foundation of your life, but it’s the time to let loose and have fun. It's the time to enjoy being a kid and maybe even be a little reckless.

Of course, you are able to do this when you’re older as well, but turning 20 means it’s time to grow up a bit. I need to start focusing on my future because I am not a little kid anymore.

I will always hold those teenage years close to my heart and will always look back on them for guidance. Although I will miss them greatly, I am so excited to step into my twenties. The real world can be a very scary place, but I know I am ready to handle it.

I have grown so much from when I was 13, and I’ve figured out who I am and what I want in life. My twenties are a fresh start and the beginning of a whole new and exciting part of my life.

I can’t wait to see what they have in store for me.