Holy cow, I'm turning 20. I honestly never imagined the day would come when I would no longer be a teenager. My birthday has always been such a huge deal to me. When I was younger it was more about the party and the cake, but as I grew up, it became a day to reflect on the past year.

19 was a transformative year. This was my second year at my dream college. This was the year that I was first treated like an almost-real music therapist. This was the year that my confidence and self-esteem were tested. This was the year that I made friendships that I truly believe will last a lifetime.

I learned about self-love and proper self-care. I surrounded myself with good people, and especially empowering women. I invited feminism and social justice into my life this year. The amount of change that has occurred is unreal.

Years ago, I never imagined my life would be the way it is on my 20th birthday. I imagined living in Boston and having a huge party in my apartment with all of my friends. We would blast 90s and early 2000s music all night long as I danced alongside my significant other.

Instead I'm having friends over for brunch. I guess that's reflective of the transition into adulthood. The time of wild and crazy parties are coming to an end (not that I go to them anyways). Now the time has come to work extra hard to achieve the future I dreamed of. I have to let go of teenage angst and take on more responsibility.

In two years I'll (hopefully) have a job, a career. That's crazy. Didn't I just graduate high school two years ago? How am I supposed to live on my own and support myself? It's so incredible to watch all my friends grow up and become real adults; it's just so hard to think that I'm there alongside them.

In the past when my birthday would roll around, I'd be afraid of growing up, but now I'm starting to embrace it. There's no point in being upset that I'm a year older, it's time to stop sweating the small stuff and start being happier.

This year is going to be great. 20 is the year that I’ll go on my first music therapy service trip. It’s the year that I’ll get a job during the school year. This will be the year that I focus on myself. This is the year that I will do all things with love, including loving myself. This will be the first year of my 20s and I am determined to make it great. This is the year I will try to find myself and understand who I am and what I want out of life. This will be the year that I learn to love myself, even when I do crazy, teenage-angst-inspired things. I know, without a doubt, that this year will come with challenges, but luckily it also comes with incredible friends and family for support. This year I will wholeheartedly accept every feeling, I will dance, and I will be free.