Today my mom asked me how it felt to be 18, officially an adult. I thought about it for a second, and while I intellectually understand that I am now able to vote, to tell you the truth, I still feel the same as I did yesterday. What is an adult anyway? There’s not some magic shift overnight that makes me feel like an adult. I learn and grow and evolve yearly, weekly, actually, daily. There’s always something else I’m learning or someone or something that makes me look at things from a different point of view. If I listen, then I learn, and I may shift perspective or change my mind on something or expand my understanding…or, I may not. I think change is constant. I think it’s life.

I don’t have any profound words of wisdom for those coming into adulthood or adulting. I only know that I am very grateful for my life, the good and the bad, even the mistakes, because I learned from them, and everything is an opportunity to grow and begin again.

I’m grateful to my friends and family, especially my parents, for the support during the last 18 years, and I know how blessed I am that they aren’t kicking me out of the house now that I’m 18 and expecting me to fend for myself. I know how lucky I am that they will continue to support me, no matter what problems I face in the future. My mom called it life’s adventure, and that’s what it is, I guess. But I am thankful that I have people that I can turn to for guidance, that will love me even when I mess up, and allow me to grow into the adult that I want to be.

Whatever I do, I hope it makes a positive impact on someone. That’s a life goal for sure. And along those lines, one thing that’s super exciting for me is that I signed a book deal with a publisher for a book about mindfulness for teens. We are in the editing phase now and it will be published in the US and UK in 2023. I am hopeful that this book will help at least one person, whether it be a parent, a teen, or a teacher, and that everyone reading it knows that they are not alone, and they are worthy.

My goal, as I move into the next chapter of my life at college is to continue to work to make sure these mental health and mindful social emotional learning programs get into our education curriculum K-12. My intention is to help end the stigma and help teens accept, process, and express emotions, establish connections, experience empathy, and get to neutral. Hopefully, I will continue to come up with new and creative ways to make that goal a reality. I may face challenges that I will have to overcome and figure out and I definitely will continue to learn and evolve, but with your continued support, I believe those goals will be attained.

Thank you to everyone, especially all my mentors and advisors who have helped me get to this point. Hopefully, now that I am officially an adult, it will be ok if I still call you sometimes for guidance. I may be older and wiser, but I still value your guidance.