a farewell to my teenage years


photo by cece kirk

They say your teenage years are some of the biggest years of your life; the monumental moments, from going to high school, graduating and leaving all you’ve ever known to start a new journey. New friends have been harder to make as you realize what loyalty means. Life speeds up, people begin to think about their future and trust is something you can only count on in yourself. As I turn 20 years old and my teenage years come to an end, it feels like a closing chapter of life, and I am reminded that I’ll never be able to live my “teen” life again. What will life feel like now? 


For me, every birthday has always ended its day with a box of tissues and smeared mascara. Sobbing because growing up is nothing short of terrifying. I always knew I was going to turn 20 eventually, but in the back of my head it’s always felt so far away – but here we are. There’s something so surreal and devastating about watching yourself get older, even when you feel like nothing about yourself has changed. Feeling like the same person but looking in the mirror and seeing something different than that little girl I still feel close to. 

photo by cece kirk // model: caitlin hall

Maybe it’s because I don’t want to let go of being free, of being a kid, of being irresponsible with few consequences. Or it’s because I now have to think about an entire 10 year period and what I should do with it. I feel like I have to let go of a part of myself that wants to live out her teenage dream: being in a coming of age movie and playing the quiet, misunderstood high school girl who gets her biggest wish of being noticed by the hot, popular guy – life becomes a happily ever after.


When I turned 18, I knew that this was the beginning of “adulthood” –  everything had to become more serious and personal. And honestly, after turning 18, these past two years have been some of the biggest learning experiences about what really matters to me. These years have also been nothing short of a challenge for my mental health. I’ve seen how low anxiety can get and how quickly it can drag me down with it, and having a fear about where I “need” to be in my life at this point. 

photo by cece kirk // model: caitlin hall

But, you really don’t need to be anywhere you don’t want to be. Another year went by, and 19 came – truly the year of ups and downs. It has shown me to truly embrace those highs and lows for what they eventually brought to me. I look back at the girl I was at 14, and it makes me realize I am so much more than that anxious version of myself that sacrificed a part of her because she wanted people to like her, to be friends with her and to fit the mold of what it meant to be cool. 


Being reminded of that girl and seeing the one I’ve slowly morphed into makes me feel such adoration for my past and my present. To be proud of where I am, and for what I’ve accomplished. Life moves so fast, you blink and, of course, you’ll miss it. But, to tell that doubtful girl that she would be where she is now is something that she could never believe. 


So maybe turning 20 years old might not be so bad. Maybe closing the chapter of self doubt could lead to opening the door to self actualization. Maybe entering a new decade is nothing but an endless opportunity to live out the fear. Here’s to the candles, and best wishes. 

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Hi! I’m Catie Pusateri, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.