I’m an adult now. Feels weird to say, but I finally turned 18 today.

For quite some time, I’ve been looking forward to this day. Many people told me that it’s not as special, but adding +1 to my years lived means much more than just increasing the count.

I always enjoyed being independent and going my own ways—doing what I think is right. Other perspectives are important, but eventually deciding on my own is what makes me feel free. And these decisions go far beyond being able to pick every drink from the menu now.

“18 is one of the best ages. You get to do adult things while still acting like a kid.”

Call me naive, but curiosity and knowing so little about life helps me move forward and explore the unknown. It’s scary—which is the most intriguing part of it all. I might stumble and hit rock-bottom, but that’s also how I learn to get up and try again.

I want to build things, do purposeful work, spend time with friends and family, get lost in music, and wander through nature—whatever makes this earth a better place and creates a peaceful life. It’s not about trophies, or any form of admiration.

“By doing the right things without expecting anything in return, the universe will reward you in the most beautiful ways.”

I am of firm conviction that we’re all born completely and fully ourselves as we can be. With the course of our lifetime, while being judged by others, trying to fulfill someone’s expectations, and morphing into what we think our part in society is, we get lost.

We lose our innocence, the undoubted trust we had in ourselves when we were a kid. We start to question whether we are enough or worthy of love. This part is to remind myself that I’m proud of me and how far I’ve come.

Lastly, here’s to all the great people in my life. You’ve helped me overcome many struggles, spoiled me with (tough) love, and showed me why I wake up every day, trying to be the best person I can be.

Some will leave, some will come. I learned that holding on sometimes hurts more than letting go, and you should rather embrace time spent together than worry that it might not stay the same forever.

It’s been an incredible year and I am thankful for every experience. As of now, I want to focus on myself and reappraise what has happened, as well as looking forward and building independence for the days to come.

Only to support my biggest and perhaps most ambitious aim: to be a positive influence in some people’s lives. Not for them to notice, but for them to feel—because there’s a difference.

Thanks for being with me.

Love, Linus