Dear Zoey,

Well, today I enter the last year of my twenties. My twenties have given me nearly a decade of laughs, tears, friendships, and insanity. If there’s any wisdom I could give you when you experience these years is to savor them. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

1. You never get too old for cereal.
2. Friendships aren’t necessarily permanent. Sometimes you grow apart, sometimes your lives take different directions, sometimes you burn the bridges. Value the people you have in the moment you have them because they (likely) will not be there forever.
3. In fact, nothing is permanent. Nothing. And that’s okay.
4. When you feel completely alone or devastated or confused…turn to music. Seriously. Music has saved me time and time again.
5. Let people in, let them hurt you, let me love you, let them leave, and let them stay. It’ll always be worth it.
6. People won’t take you seriously. I’m 29, and people still don’t take me seriously. Don’t take offense.
7. Learn resiliency. Life will sometimes hit you hard, but always know that nothing is worth knocking you down forever. Bounce back, and be better for it.
8. Find things that you’re excited about. Whether it’s art, physics, bugs, the atmosphere, music…find things that thrill you, and find a lot of them.
9. Don’t let money stress you out too much. (A hell of a lot easier said than done). Live within your means, allow yourself to splurge every once in awhile…and when you splurge, try to do it on experiences, not things. Experiences are always a better investment.
10. Take responsibility for your choices. If there is anything I’ve learned this past decade it’s that owning your choices, good and bad, will really make you a more fulfilled whole version of yourself.
11. Don’t ever allow anyone to make you feel bad for being intelligent.
12. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Our society doesn’t tell us that, but it’s true.
13. Take roadtrips with your closest friends.
14. You never get too old for spaghetti-o’s and ramen.
15. Try new foods. At least try it once, and if you don’t like it, you never have to eat it again.
16. You don’t have to have everything figured out. Your 20s are there for you to explore and take risks and make choices, and find your voice. Give yourself time.
17. Always be willing to take pictures. Some day you won’t be here, and there will be people who want to remember you.
18. Understanding where a person is coming from doesn’t mean you have to justify their behavior or choices.
19. Take the trip.
20. Enjoy it.