A Letter To My Almost 20-Year-Old Self
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A Letter To My Almost 20-Year-Old Self

Looking back on the past two decades and what this new one means for me.

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A Letter To My Almost 20-Year-Old Self
Lizzie Grossman

Dear My Almost 20-year-old Self,

Do you remember 10 years ago, when you heard your mom talking on the phone to your grandfather? She was raving to him about your upcoming 10th birthday, asking if he could believe that his granddaughter was about to be “a whole decade old.”

At the time, it did not seem like a huge deal that you were going to be, well, a “whole decade old.” All you knew was that you were growing up and that you were excited to finally be in the double digits.

The reason I look back to this moment, however, is because in two days it is your 20th birthday. You are going to be two decades old.

I would not say that any of your birthdays so far have been particularly monumental. You have enjoyed every one of them, but the moments in your life that have been significant have not happened in conjunction with any of your birthdays. There were times that you hoped things would happen on your birthday, that you would have your first kiss or grow two inches taller; but, of course, none of that happened. There has not been a birthday that you woke up and felt, well, different. You were aware that you were a year older, but did that really make you a year wiser?

However, as you edge toward your 20th birthday, something about you does feel different. I cannot quite put my finger on exactly what it is. Part of it may be that for the past seven years, when someone has asked how old you were, you responded with a number that ended in “teen.” In two days, that will not be the case anymore. You will no longer be a teenager. Maybe you were legal when you turned 18, but you were undoubtedly still a teenager. Now, you are going to be a real, true adult.

This is bittersweet. Your teenage years probably comprise the most defining era of your entire life. Looking back, you really did not change that much until you became a teenager. Of course you changed some--you became a big sister, grew many inches, and learned a lot in school. But, for 13 years, you were always one of the shortest and smallest kids in your grade. You were a gymnast. You had very few, if any, love interests. You did not enjoy school very much. You pretty much had the same group of friends through all those years.

Now, just seven years since you turned 13 and entered the teen years, you changed more than you ever did before you became a teenager. You have grown around five inches (yay to delayed growth spurts). You continued with gymnastics, quit, went back to it, and experimented with a few other sports in the interim. You have become a newspaper writer and joined other activities that you never thought you would have joined. You have found a passion for school and subjects you never got to explore when you were younger. You got into college and are now halfway done. You have gone through several fashion and music phases. You have continued to be friends with some of your childhood friends, stopped being friends with some of them, made new friends in high school, stopped being friends with some of them, became friends with some of your best friends in the whole world, and went to college and met many more of your best friends in the whole world. You have become friends with boys, and more than just friends with some boys.

That may be why this birthday is so significant. It is not just marking the end of your second decade; it is marking the end of your teen life. This will be more than saying a new number when someone asks you how old you are— it will be feeling a whole new number too.

However, while this may be the end of literal teenage years, I want you to know that you do not have to completely grow up. You can continue to love all your teenage and childhood passions. You can still jam out to Avril Lavigne and Fall Out Boy. You can still have "High School Musical" and Disney movie marathons with your friends. You can still laugh hysterically over small things, and you can still cry and ask for help when you need it. Just because you are entering a new decade does not mean you need to give up all of your passions.

Twenty years. Sometimes it seems like it has gone by so quickly, other times it seemed like forever. I want you to know that I am so proud of you. Just think about how much you have accomplished in the 20 years you have been alive. It may not seem like something to be proud of, but it is. If you think about where you started out, and look at yourself now, you should be very proud of yourself. You have accomplished so much, and been able to pull yourself through the hard times. Living 20 years does seem like a long time, but it does not seem nearly as long when you think about how much you have grown. As you enter your third decade, continue to be yourself but do not be afraid to change and grow, just like you have in the past two. Enjoy being 20, and good luck!

Love,

About-to-be-20-year-old-me

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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