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Editor’s Letter

December 2013: Forever

andrea-carroll-it-hurts-to-be-sixteen-1963

I. A Brief History of Forever

Forever is the state, exclusive to those between the ages of 13 and 17, in which one feels both eternally invincible and permanently trapped. When my parents were young, Forever was expressed through promise rings, names carved into trees, and photographs you could hold in your hands. In the years since, Forever has inspired many phrases and ideas popular among adolescents: Best Friends Forever, Together Forever, Forever Young. In more recent years, Forever, with its cousins Always and Infinity, has dominated young adult literature, differentiated the internet from the more fleeting IRL, and, one could argue, explained the popularity of the galaxy print. Nothing lasts forever, of course, but Nothing doesn’t resonate with a teenager the way Forever does, because, for better or worse, it’s hard to imagine ever not feeling this way, being this person, having this life.

I waited my whole life for Forever. I started reading Seventeen at age seven and regarded my camp counselors, babysitters, older sisters, my sisters’ friends, and my dad’s high school students with more reverence and awe than I did any actual grownup. And really, truly? My Forever didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t perfect, but therein lies its perfection: I’ve been lucky to come up in a time when there are enough teen movies that make high school’s terribleness into something interesting at worst and beautiful at best, so even the darkest times were not lonely, but strangely magical. John Hughes said that “one really key element of teendom” is that it “feels as good to feel bad as it does to feel good,” so really, I’ve had a solid run. Forever is not meant to be the best time of someone’s life, but it is certainly the most Forever-y. So I’m not sad because I think post-Forever seems terrible, I’m sad because Forever is remarkably peculiar, and I’ve really enjoyed trying to understand why, and I will miss it.

I’ve often worried that this ambition to understand my own teenage existence has lessened its sincerity, made my experiences too self-aware, but it’s been quite the opposite. Chris Kraus writes in I Love Dick, “The Ramones give ‘Needles & Pins’ the possibility of irony, but the irony doesn’t undercut the song’s emotion, it makes it stronger and more true.” The self-awareness or irony or whatever you want to call it made it easier for me to appreciate the awful parts of Forever because I had the rose tint of nostalgia in real time. It granted me a sense of humor about the most resentful of teachers. I was careful not to hang out in the alley behind school often enough to find it redundant and oppressive. I let myself write bad poetry and diary entries because I knew they’d at least be funny to look back on. Of course, the idea of a time when I’d ever be looking back was nebulous to the point of being unimaginable, because Forever, Always, Infinity, etc.

Technically, I still have quite a bit of Forever left. I won’t be a legal adult until April. According to science, adolescence now lasts till the age of 25. If we use high school as a timeline, I have six months left. But because my friends have already graduated, because I’m in the midst of planning my future, because I feel like I hold more memories of who I have been than an understanding of who I am now, I say with certainty that my own personal Forever is over. And I’m terrified.

II. A Theory of Forever’s Remarkable Peculiarity

Forever is when you have the height and width of a miniature person with the density of an alpha-person. Forever is when you’re a human cartoon with every vein and skin cell as exaggerated as Minnie Mouse’s gloves. Forever is when you experience all kinds of things for the first time, as do your hormones, which will never again be this crazed, never again experience things as either so bleak or so Technicolor. Forever is when your brain is still developing, so everything sticks, like a lot. Forever is when you have tunnel vision because you (I) have not yet understood that you (I) are not the center of the world, so you (I) grant yourself permission to see things as though you (I) are (am). I don’t recommend it as a lifestyle, but there’s something to be said for having this much time to just think about you, what you like, what you believe in, how you feel. When I asked Sofia Coppola why she continually writes movies about teenagers, she said, “It’s a time when you’re just focused on thinking about things, you’re not distracted by your career, family.… I always like characters that are in the midst of a transition and trying to find their place in the world and their identity. That is the most heightened when you’re a teenager, but I definitely like it at the different stages of life.”

III. Different Stages of Life

Like she said, Forever is not the only time a person is transitioning, finding their place in the world, finding their identity. Forever is not the only time in which a person feels things strongly, or for the first time, or in a way that is central to their forming who they are. It’s maybe a crazy concentration of that time, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great time. Sometimes the awful parts are beautiful, but sometimes they’re actually just awful.

The good news is that most people’s lives get better after Forever. The bad news is that some people’s lives don’t, or they do, but those people themselves become cold and bitter and nostalgic for Forever, whether or not their own Forever was really worth pining for. Or, as Allison says in The Breakfast Club, “When you grow up, your heart dies.”

One way to avoid killing your heart is to decide that you will spend your whole life growing up. I am not saying you should aspire to the maturity level of the characters in Hot Tub Time Machine; I am suggesting we resist a life that looks, in line-graph form, like it goes up and up and up and then it stops, and then it levels out, and then it stays on that flat plane until death. I hope to live a life that goes up and up and up until the end, with the inevitable dip here and there. I hope to continue to learn and change.

Coveting youth also needs to be dealt with. I’m not afraid of being old; I’m afraid of being afraid of being old, which for some reason appears to be an inherent part of being old, because the examples out there of adults who aren’t trying to turn back time are few and far between. But a fear of aging turns every second into your enemy. It means that your worst nightmare is constantly coming true, unless you choose to die, which is a terrible choice to make. I generally like life—it lets me do things like eat good food, watch good TV, and have good friends—so I’d hate to have a bitter relationship to it, to hide from it, to dread it. I’d rather not romanticize a lack of knowledge. I’d rather be a wizard or a mad scientist or a walking encyclopedia. I’d rather get on with things than spend every day super pissed that we haven’t yet figured out time travel.

Finally, it’s important to take time to mourn Forever. I know this doesn’t have to be so tragic, I know I don’t actually want to stay in this place—but to effectively move on, I have to effectively wrap things up. Because I don’t want to long for Forever in small, unhealthy ways later, I have to honor it in big, creative ways now. Reflecting and archiving is not the same as dwelling in the past. It is not anti-living, but a part of life, even a crucial one. We do this to highlight one thing above others, so that a special moment can take up more space in our brains than an inconsequential one; so that, by plain math, our personal worlds contain more good things and fewer bad ones. Or more interesting things and fewer blah ones, since you have to record the bad, too. Like I said, Forever is not about being the best years of your life, just the most Forever-y.

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149 Comments

  • katie December 2nd, 2013 3:05 PM

    aw bless
    i miss your letters like this tavi

  • augustina e December 2nd, 2013 3:18 PM

    This is one of the most touching things I have ever read.

  • angelaunz December 2nd, 2013 3:29 PM

    Tavi you are an amazing person with a bright future ahead of you. I still remember that first Editor’s First letter back in September 2011. Time just flies…..like a blink of an eye. And now reading this in the year of 2013…..WOW : 0 I’m looking forward in sending some work of mine to ROOKIE….that’s one of my goals that hopefully come true…and who knows I would like to be a regular contributor ( if that ever happens) But from your blog to ROOKIE I feel as though I grew up with you…..thanks again for this and to the wonderful people behind it as well who creates such beautiful artwork and share there writing pieces and advice to us readers…..thanks you all : D

  • maude loves you every day more December 2nd, 2013 3:30 PM

    Oh my god. This is so perfect, thank you Tavi!!! Rookie is an incredible and amazing and perfect community that I can’t even believe it sometimes… the writing is always just what I need at the perfect time and its uncanny and beautiful and empowering… so anyway. thanks.

  • sylvie December 2nd, 2013 3:37 PM

    Everything is so perfect and true. Can’t wait for this month ⭐️

  • sadie n. December 2nd, 2013 3:44 PM

    Dear Tavi, I’m 25 and I wish I had someone like you to look up to when I was in my Forever.
    I wish you all the best, really.

  • spudzine December 2nd, 2013 4:01 PM

    This has to be the best Editor’s Letter on Rookie. I think(no, I KNOW) I’m crying on the inside, because this letter had that kind of nostalgia you get when you watch an 80′s movie over and over again, or when you watch MCR’s ‘I’m Not Okay’ music video over 10 times in a row, except this was Rookie themed(no kidding, self). I’ve been reading Rookie since it started, and I’ve been reading Style Rookie before this started, and even though I and billions of others have not been a part of the experiences Tavi mentioned above, it sure felt like I knew exactly what she was talking about. And I think that’s pretty special right there.

    http://spudzine.tumblr.com/
    http://emotwins.tumblr.com/
    http://rockogirl.tumblr.com/

    • Viaperson December 2nd, 2013 6:46 PM

      just had to respond to say WOW, i could not relate more to the DEEP nostalgia/melancholy that comes fromwatching the ‘i’m not okay’ music video 10 times in a row. love that you brought it up. such a strange and special emotion

  • Gwendolen December 2nd, 2013 4:28 PM

    Ergh. Tavi. Stop being so perfect in your imperfections.

    theirfancies.blogspot.co.uk

  • Clementine Rose December 2nd, 2013 4:44 PM

    If only things like chocolate cake could be forever…and chocolate. And any sort of cake. And maybe, um, waffles. Yeah. Eternal waffles.

  • shakera December 2nd, 2013 4:47 PM

    this letter was brilliant. I am sitting here in my room trying to figure out how and when I will finish my homework and im generally browsing the internet when I remember that I haven’t read todays rookie posts. I see this letter and it excites me cos its from tavi duh. I was feeling a bit low today thinking about the friends ive lost and the friends ive gained. the year had flown past so quick and im thinking what have I done? reading this reminded me of all the things that matter in the world. it reminded me of all the fun I actually did have, whether it was receiving a note from my friend it my school book saying a rude word that we had a joke about or the day we had lunch with a boy we liked and how screamy and girly we were feeling after that. I don’t remember what I got for my gcses, I remember I failed history and got a d( in England that’s not really a fail but it seems like a fail so im saying It is lol). I remembered the feeling that had overcame me and how distraught I was at my exam results. after reading this letter I realise that stupid things like grades ( ok not that stupid but not that great tbh) aren’t forever and I shouldn’t hold onto these things forever either. small things that made me happy like jokes and notes, and embarrassing things you do with your friends last forever because theyre happy memories that can change your life and the way you see it.im 17 in 2 weeks and this makes me so sad because it seems like memories are fading. im scared scared scared but this letter has made me realise a LOT and the true meaning of forever. thank you tavi xxxxxx

  • whiskeytangofoxtrot December 2nd, 2013 4:50 PM

    I have been so blessed to have a life generously
    peppered with amazing and incredible examples of adults (both in the family and friend categories) who aren’t trying to turn back time.

    They are out there, find one, they are important to have in your life!

    Failing that, read http://advancedstyle.blogspot.ca/ or rewatch Bill Cunningham New York and Harold and Maude every once in a while for inspiration.

  • emseely December 2nd, 2013 4:57 PM

    I can’t live my forever because all I can think about is it ending….. Help

    • Erin. December 2nd, 2013 5:47 PM

      Hey, I know Tavi said has defined Forever as the state exclusive to people between the ages of 13 and 17, but Forever can be whenever you want/need it to be. If you don’t have that sense of Forever now, you probably will eventually. I spent most of high school focusing on school work, so I can’t say I experienced “Forever” in the way she described. People come into themselves/”find themselves” at different times in life. Don’t stress too much about living a certain way at a certain age, because it’s hard to live up to the ideals presented in movies. (It’s also hard to live up to the ideals presented by Rookie.) If you don’t think you’re living your Forever, maybe it hasn’t even started yet? And if something hasn’t started, it can’t end. And, anyways, Forever is called Forever because it’s Forever, you know?

      I don’t know if this helps at all….

      • emeraldruby December 3rd, 2013 1:19 AM

        That was amazing and very true :)

    • gato December 2nd, 2013 6:12 PM

      that’s what it was for me too hah, but hang on and work hard!!! stick to your dreams and dont let go, make it better!!

    • Anaheed December 2nd, 2013 7:21 PM

      I think that thinking about it ending is part of it, though — that’s what makes it so exquisitely bittersweet while you’re living it. You’re not doing anything wrong! But I back up whiskeytangofoxtrot’s recommendation (above) to watch Bill Cunningham New York. That’s what I do when I need to feel life/work-inspired, and he’s a good example that while nothing else will ever feel like being a teenager, there are new beautiful states of being awaiting you, so you shouldn’t fret too much about this one ending — the later ones can be just as wondrous, just different.

  • Taylor WM December 2nd, 2013 4:59 PM

    I’m usually quite good at articulating my feelings, but to this, all I can say is: <3 <3 <3 4eva x Rookie <3 <3 <3

  • Kirala December 2nd, 2013 5:04 PM

    I am 26, somewhat far from my Forever years, and this gives me chills. This past weekend, something reminded me of my favorite band from high school. I listened to an old CD in the car all weekend and remembered how it felt to be 15 and so in love with a band. My friends and I would stay up all night analyzing every single line of every single song and counting down days to their concerts. I don’t think it is possible to love anything so intently as an adult.

    But now I am in a new kind of forever, where decisions become permanent. I have a masters degree and a dog and a fiance and a job. The future isn’t vast and unknowable, but it is warm and calm and happy. And most days, I like this even better.

  • starsinyourheart December 2nd, 2013 5:10 PM

    oh god this is perfectly timed for me. my forever was mostly pretty sad, except this last year and a half and i’m trying to figure out how to come to terms with it all.

  • Monica B December 2nd, 2013 5:15 PM

    Tavi –
    Sparrow :)
    It’s a part of my Forever, too.
    Monica

  • alliya December 2nd, 2013 5:15 PM

    This is so sweet.

  • Lea December 2nd, 2013 5:18 PM

    Lots of love to you and Rookie. Thank you so much for being in our lives <3

  • oharnoldlayne December 2nd, 2013 5:18 PM

    This article was wonderful. I’m afraid of aging and have dreaded my birthdays for a few years, so this month’s theme shall be sad but interesting.

  • tweendeck December 2nd, 2013 5:25 PM

    This made me cry a lot. I’m right where Tavi is and I don’t know where I am. Thank you so much for this, Tavi <3

  • rachelturtlebaum December 2nd, 2013 5:32 PM

    I just left my forever today. At 3:51 p.m. I turned 18. I don’t feel all that different but now after reading this letter, I will try to keep my forever with me as long as I possibly can.

    Tavi your letter was so beautifully written! I am so glad to have found Rookie this past year and loved what you and the staff and everyone has had to contribute. I really love Rookie, and look forward to reading in the future.

  • Kathryn December 2nd, 2013 5:34 PM

    This is so perfect and beautiful and made me cry a little bit. I live in a small town and never really found my niche and I’m graduating this spring and am sort of depressed about not feeling like I’ve had the TRU ~teenage experience~. At least I have Rookie to live vicariously through. Since freshman year, Rookie has always been there for me. <3 <3 <3

  • awesomelikeapossum December 2nd, 2013 5:34 PM

    Beautiful; reading the editor’s letters are usually one of my favourite parts of rookiemag, but this one was definitely special, I love reading stuff like this because it’s something (the ‘forever’ years) i’ve always been thinking about just never found the right words to explain it, and then to see what seems like my thoughts put into the right words in this letter it’s like “Yes, I know exactly!” and it’s a really nice feeling that you get, like I feel more connected with humanity and stuff so yeah ily tavi for writing this <3
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/JustBeingMiley?ref=si_shop

  • Anya N. December 2nd, 2013 5:34 PM

    Tavi, I feel like this was hard for you to write but let me tell you it is so so so beautiful. Rookie has grown together, and I feel like (along with other people here) even though we weren’t there for any of those memories, there is sting of nostalgia hanging in all of them that I can relate to. I can feel these memories even though they are not mine, if that feels weird for you I understand. But I think it’s so gorgeous that so many people can actually feel this. Your words are amazing Tavi. We love you.

    I guess you could say my Forever is beginning, since I am in my freshman year. But reading this warms my heart so much and wells me up with… feels. Good feels! Inspiration, creativity, motivation, excitement… hope. It’s cheesy but I just wanted to say how crazy beautiful this letter is. Thank you Tavi, from all of us!

  • DianeK December 2nd, 2013 5:46 PM

    ugh you’re my fav

  • MaddieMae December 2nd, 2013 5:47 PM

    Absolutely amazing:) Every time I read these letters from Tavi, I feel truly inspired. But in a LYFE way, not just a temporary way. Thank you so much!

    http://madelinemeimei.tumblr.com/

  • LucaElizabeth December 2nd, 2013 6:09 PM

    This was beautiful, and made me cry a little bit. I am also graduating from high school this year and this letter echoes so many of my thoughts, nostalgia, and feelings about moving on and growing up. It is scary, but what is most sad is seeing people–friends–who live in their Forevers so desperately and nervously. There are good things to be seen ahead, though, and lovely, glowing Evers to follow this Forever.

  • stephanieUSA December 2nd, 2013 6:19 PM

    thank you, from the bottom of my 24-year-old heart.

    i struggle a lot with the fact that while i’m holding onto my youth, i’m in turn neglecting any opportunity to make new memories.

    this said everything that i have felt but never really put to paper. thank you, tavi.

    also– i see that the house rules state that all comments are moderated so– moderator please give tavi a high-five or a hug or something because danggit, that was truly amazing.)

    • Tavi December 2nd, 2013 6:21 PM

      *high-five* *hug* to you <3

    • Esmee December 3rd, 2013 3:13 AM

      The hard part of leaving Forever that most of the time you cannot ‘check out’ but you just get thrown on the side walk with you luggage.
      “You’re 18 now: time to do the stuff adults do” society seems to say.
      At 18 you are no longer have health insurance under your parents name(at least here in the Netherlands it is), you have to get a job and you are going to study but people seem to think you got everything figured out.
      And as the years progress, society wants you to get your bachelors degree, find a partner, get married and have kids and work.

      At 18 I never felt like an adult and I tried to distance myself as far from it as possible(also because I was very dissappointed: I thought adulthood meant you could take on the world, afraid of nothing *like the dentist :(*.
      I still don’t and I’ll be turning 25 in a month.
      I’m glad I had some more Forever instead of checking out at 18: and that that BBC article confirms it(I always thought I was REALLY slow)
      I wish they figured that out ten years ago, then mine wouldn’t be as stressful as it was after 18.

      But this post-Forever isn’t all that bleak(I realise that after reading this Tavi): actually it’s pretty awesome. Although getting ripped from under my mothers wing was really painful and hard(she died suddenly 3,5 years ago) I figured out at lot of things on my own, just like when I was a teen.
      And the new(good) memories are just as great as the ones I made in Forever.

  • llamalina December 2nd, 2013 6:22 PM

    This was bittersweetly beautiful. It may sound strange to say, but I feel like I’ve grown up with you Tavi. Here’s to new adventures. Sometimes it feels like forever will never end and sometimes it feels like the end of the world’s at my doorstep.

    http://llamalina.blogspot.com

  • Chloe22 December 2nd, 2013 6:26 PM

    Man, I wish I appreciated my ”forever” as much as you do…My forever, since about 13 (i’m 15 now) has been waiting for it to end, when I can go to college, wait for that to end, and then have a life. I have a great family, great music to listen to. But I just hate being a teenager. I have no friends, and any i’ve ever had were nightmarishly fake. We didn’t grow apart, they said horrible things about me, or betrayed me. It never ended good. I just want this to end. I can’t romanticize it. I could still spend time with my family and listen to my favorite music when I’m an adult. All I’d be leaving behind is no friends, algebra, not being taken seriously at anytime whatsoever, stress, etc. I definitely know, too, that being an adult can be just as bad. But being an adult is a whole lot longer, and i may be crazy, but I’d much rather be paying taxes and working at a cubicle than being this alone, bored, and tired.
    http://rhinestonemoon.blogspot.com/

    • Abby December 2nd, 2013 6:51 PM

      I completely understand where you’re coming from. Looking back on my high school years (I’m 19 now), I don’t have a ton of good memories. There are some, with some really great people, but there are also a lot of bad ones, a lot of really hard-to-deal-with ones. Being in high school (and middle school for that matter) was not the highlight of my life. It was hard, and I was probably depressed, even though I didn’t know that at the time. BUT. I don’t want to sound all “stop whining you’ll be fine.” But I do want to say that it does get better. I didn’t come into my own, so to speak, until I went to college. But now I know myself so much better. I hope this doesn’t sound preachy… but I just wanted you to know that it will get better, even if it doesn’t seem like it now. Hugs :)

  • ShayMarie December 2nd, 2013 6:34 PM

    This has inspired me so much :)

  • honorarygilmoregal December 2nd, 2013 6:40 PM

    Tavi, this was so beautifully written. I love it. I’m a freshman in college but Rookie continues to help me out :) You and the rest of the Rookie staff rock.

  • Abby December 2nd, 2013 6:44 PM

    Guys I was hyperventilating at the end thinking she was going to say Rookie was going away and then when she didn’t I reread the last two paragraphs over and over to make sure. Rookie has formed me as a person so much over the past two years, and I want to say thank you to everyone who is part of it.

  • ElisabethGrace December 2nd, 2013 6:51 PM

    thanks tavi. you don’t know how much I needed this. or maybe you do and thats why you wrote it. and thanks for introducing me to twin peaks even though you’ve never actually spoken to me.

  • navyblueguava December 2nd, 2013 7:04 PM

    This was perfect! Loved it.

    http://theneonguava.blogspot.com

  • sofia the weird December 2nd, 2013 7:17 PM

    I have tears in my eyes right now! oh god that was very good, Tavi. Unfortunately I feel like I never had the forever time, and now that I can have it, I feel too old and responsible. I never went to cool gigs in my hometown. I never had cool sleepovers or got the time to do my crazy art. Now, despite the fact that I am 18, I just feel that I am not supposed to live this things as intensely. But I really liked this, I needed this. Thank you, Rookie!

    • Anaheed December 2nd, 2013 7:21 PM

      Never too late to live intensely.

    • Nikilodeon December 3rd, 2013 1:18 AM

      I feel the exact same way! :) I had a pretty boring high school life. Aside from writing songs, I never really did anything as cool as Tavi did, I didn’t even know about a lot of the cool movies, TV shows, books, and music that are here on Rookie now. I lived in a small, boring bubble, and I remember being very disappointed because like Tavi, I had been anticipating my Forever since I was a kid, and there it was, the most boring, anticlimactic, and uneventful Forever anyone could ask for.

      Now that I’m 18 and in my first year of college, I feel like my Forever is just beginning. I’ve been really introspective lately and thinking about myself and who I want to be, my relationships with people, things like that. Of course, I had similar thoughts too in high school, but I don’t think they ever got as intense as they are now. I experiment with the way I dress, I open my world to different music and literature, I hang out with people more, and it feels like I’m taking the world in for the first time. So don’t worry Sofia, you are totally not alone! From one 18 year old to another, I wish you well on your journey to being You. :)

  • MissKnowItAll December 2nd, 2013 7:19 PM

    This made me cry a bit because when I opened the tab and saw where it said “being sixteen hurts” I felt a part of myself cringe.I’ll be turning 16 in a few days and the idea of some distant forever that has somehow become mine is something that I’ve been turning over and over again in my mind ever since I began high school. How the four years of my life that have been so hyped up have turned out to be insignificant in comparison to the rest of my life. And its all for this that makes me want to be a senior forever and never again all at the same time. And for this, I thank you Tavi

  • GabbyCat December 2nd, 2013 7:31 PM

    Everything you write about nostalgia and forever is perfect and I don’t know if I could ever appreciate it this much without you.

  • rhymeswithorange December 2nd, 2013 7:31 PM

    Tavi, you are so insightful and wise it is crazy.
    I’m reminded of this Don Draper quote about teenagers: “The truth is, they’re mourning for their childhood more than they’re anticipating their future, because they don’t know it yet, but they don’t want to die.”
    You’re also a beautiful writer. Whatever you write I will be first in line!! Keep on keepin’ on

  • die_mad December 2nd, 2013 7:46 PM

    This makes me want to live so much more than I am right now. I always see your descriptions of life like I’m looking at dreamy polaroids or looking through a kaleidoscope, its so beautiful and I want my life to look like that when I get out of my forever.

  • Gabby December 2nd, 2013 7:55 PM

    only you Tavi could write something so beautiful and heartwarming that includes a Hot Tub Time Machine reference <3

  • whoopdedoo December 2nd, 2013 8:00 PM

    Tavi, you are such an inspiration. Keep up the good work, because the world needs more smart and amazing people like you!

  • Claire December 2nd, 2013 8:02 PM

    Tavi, I don’t know if you’ll ever even see this, but I feel like I’ve experienced teenagerdom with you, even though I’m a year older than you are and probably considerably less cool and worldly…hahaha. I read Style Rookie religiously and have read Rookie from the beginning, when I was just starting my junior year of high school. Now, I’m 19 and a freshman in college, and all the sentiments you expressed here resonated with me more deeply than anything has in a long, long time. I don’t even really know what else to say, because you said it, girl. Even though I obviously don’t know you, I kinda feel like we would understand each other in a way. I wish you all the best and want to thank you for sharing my adolescence with me, albeit in a weird, interwebs-y sort of way. xoxo

  • LaurenMichele December 2nd, 2013 8:05 PM

    Tavi, I love how every time I read a piece of yours I always feel more aware about myself and the world around me. This piece made me look at the idea behind forever in a whole new way. I really loved your comment about deciding to spend life growing up and not just reaching a point until it all levels out. I think that’s a really important concept to remember. There is so much to learn and experience, I always want to keep and open mind and allow myself to be shaped and changed, whether I’m 18 or 78. I think there’s something inherently magical and special about Forever, and it’s something I always want to keep inside of me. Thank you for this beautiful piece! <3

  • sophiethewitch December 2nd, 2013 8:12 PM

    Tavi, I heard you read this at your Urban Outfitters book-signing in San Francisco, and I don’t know if you’ll read the comments but I hope so because I want you to know I was scared about growing up before hearing you read it, and I’m not anymore, or at least considerably less so.

    I don’t know if you remember me (it’s totally fine if you don’t).I was one of the people you danced with and you signed my jacket and I gave you a necklace I made. It was honestly among the best days of my life.

    Wow, this is incredibly sappy. But, um, I look up to you a lot, and thank you.

  • amandajean December 2nd, 2013 8:12 PM

    aaaaaaah, i remember when you read this at the sf event, and reading it again now makes really emotional :”’)

    thank you for this. it’s been a rough couple of months, and things like this certainly help. <3

  • Leena The Unicorn December 2nd, 2013 8:12 PM

    Forever never made more sense then now. I love how you can put definitions and words to these feelings hard to describe!

    ps: I’m 20 but still feel like 16!

  • Clairebearscare December 2nd, 2013 8:13 PM

    My grandma (who’s 86 or 87 I think) says that she still feels the same as when she was a teenager. Being a teen is so much fun and it’s such a critical part in growing up–not just in becoming more mature, but in figuring out who you are! It’s a time full of passions and anxieties. It’s a beautifully dreadful time. I don’t think that self-discovery ever completely goes away.

    Tavi, you are such an incredible individual. You have gained and accomplished so much already. I absolutely cannot wait to see what you do next!
    Go out there and kick some butt, girl!
    <3 xx

  • Maddie Rackerby December 2nd, 2013 8:13 PM

    Tavi, this truly brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for writing down the words in our hearts and thank you for being a voice throughout my teenage years. We never were friends but you’ll live on in my Forever memories.

  • Dylan December 2nd, 2013 8:33 PM

    Cried a lil when you read this at the SF event but I was off to the side so no one could seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • Brodie December 2nd, 2013 8:37 PM

    MY HEART HAS BEEN BROKEN AND HEALED ALL AT ONCE

    • Anya N. December 2nd, 2013 10:55 PM

      I HAVE NEVER RELATED TO SOMETHING MORE IN MY LIFE

  • nizmocat December 2nd, 2013 8:51 PM

    Omg I am going to cry I love you so much Tavi <33333

  • thefilmrookie December 2nd, 2013 9:07 PM

    this literally sums up allllll my teenagery feelings of foreveryness. As i said in a letter that i gave to tavi at the LA signing, rookie has completely changed who i am in a totally amazing way. it has kind of made me the person i have always wanted to be, like the girl kathleen hanna talks about in the song rebel girl. through rookie i have learned to like what i like, and not give a damn about what other people think. rookie has totally affected and shaped my teenage years and i want to thank you all for that, and for bringing out the me i have always wanted to be. rookie is kind of my forever, and as long as its here, my forever will never need to come to an end <3

  • vanessaishere December 2nd, 2013 9:18 PM

    Wow, this piece is truly tugging at my heart strings. Being seventeen is so weird, and as of late I’ve been trying to enjoy this time as much as I can before it leaves me for good. I hope to grow and change as well. Thanks for writing this <3

  • whatnaomiloves December 2nd, 2013 9:18 PM

    So beautiful, Tavi.

    I never knew the stage of “Forever” existed, but it explains why whenever I visit home from college the concept of Time is so heavy on my mind. That it keeps going and going and soon all I have grown up to know will end, like my parents (ah, NO, too sad) and those friendships that I thought would be forever.

  • heyashes December 2nd, 2013 9:28 PM

    I love how in touch you are with your youth and how precious it is, I’m 17 as well and I wish I felt more teenage things tbh because mentally I feel old haha

  • culturealt December 2nd, 2013 9:34 PM

    One thing I know to be true is that Tavi and Rookie have changed me forever.
    I am not the same person I was before I discovered Style Rookie or Rookie Mag, which have helped me figure out living in the strange in-between of my twenties.
    Your words are so moving and exact. They are important. To me, and to all of us.
    Thank you for being. For writing. For perfectly chosen pop culture references. Thank you forever.
    :-*

  • Mimi7 December 2nd, 2013 10:03 PM

    I loved hearing you read this in SF! It was two days before my 16th birthday so they timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
    Reading and listening to this fills me with a sort of warm nostalgia that starts to take away the ache of nostalgia that I feel about missing the person I used to be at different ages and how I used to feel.
    Thank you for being such a genius :)

    http://dreaminginfashion.wordpress.com/

  • hellocat December 2nd, 2013 10:05 PM

    Dang it, Tavi you are making me cry and feel really happy.
    I’m 21 and still getting over some things in my adolescence. I feel like I may have foreclosed my identity in a way but it’s all catching up to me.
    I don’t want to let them go, It’s been taking a long time. It’s good to remember that these things need a full mourning. Thanks.

  • littlediamonds December 2nd, 2013 10:16 PM

    Tavi, oh my God, this was perfect! I usually really like your editor letters but this one – this one i LOVED it. It was just so special. I may or may not have cried while i was reading and it might have been because i’ve been thinking about this a lot, since next year is my last one at school and my 17th birthday is coming and I feel like i haven’t been doing all that I sould be, you know, all the teenage stuff. This made me feel worse and better at the same time (but mostly better) and now i feel like I should leave my room and step out of my comfort zone and, you know, really DO things. So thank you for this. And thank you for Rookie and everything. You guys are just so amazing. This was really, truly inspirational.

  • katiedaisy December 2nd, 2013 10:49 PM

    Hey :)
    Lately, things have been kind of difficult.. Just today I had my first good day in a while, and then I read this letter and it was perfect! I’m trying to think more like you, Tavi, and not the hope-less form of myself I’ve been for the past few weeks. She’s not much fun to be with. But I know she’ll come around again, and that’s ok! I guess you could say that’s just part of my Forever.

    an appreciative fifteen-year-old,
    Katie

  • sincerelyraven December 2nd, 2013 10:51 PM

    This broke my heart and mended it again all within the time it took to read it and sulk in knowing that my Forever just ended less then a week ago. I only wish I hadn’t spent most of my time wishing it was over. And now this will be one of the few times I’ll think about it again. Because I don’t want my post forever to be a nostalgic blob of never-moving-foward. Thank you for being here and letting me feel less like I’m the only one who understood what Forever was.

  • K8 is Gr8 December 2nd, 2013 10:57 PM

    I’m actually a lot in love with this. I’m considered the ‘good girl,’ so I’m always afraid that I’m missing out on memories just because I’m afraid to do something wrong. Here’s to hoping that my Forever (which is just beginning) will be fantastic.

    Thank you Tavi and the writers for Rookie. I hope your Forevers were/will be/are amazing

    Love forever,
    Kate

  • TessAnnesley December 2nd, 2013 11:15 PM

    holy shit, i finished high school last year and will turn 20 next year so this letter just kicked me right in the guts… in the best way of course

  • clocksheep December 2nd, 2013 11:20 PM

    Thank you, Tavi. My forever is over and some days I’m still trying to hold onto it, wondering who I’m supposed to be now that I’m not the person I truly thought I would be forever. It is so scary and confusing trying to move on from that, but also so beautiful, I’m realizing now, the moments are fewer and further apart but the beauty doesn’t ever end. Every new thing I read by you helps a little bit. You are wonderful, never stop writing. <3

  • julalondon December 2nd, 2013 11:41 PM

    I feel like i entered a “Second Forever” when i was 19 (after i graduated from high school). I’m 22 now and these past three years have been so intense, beautiful, difficult and absolutely crazy… So Girls, don’t be sad that Forever ends, i like to think that there can be many more Forever(s)… Also, Tavi, this was beautifully written. I have been following Rookie Mag from the start and i have always loved your monthly letters but this one was extra-special and even made me cry a little bit. Thank you for your great work; thank you for ROOKIE!!! <3

  • Sarah December 3rd, 2013 12:27 AM

    This article is beautiful Tavi, I love it.

    I love what you wrote about forever coming to an end. Even though I know factually it’s not right, I kind of feel like I’m going to be a teenager forever and that growing up is some weird fantasy that is never going to happen. I know one day I’m going to have realise that isn’t true but it hasn’t happened yet.

    Keep being awesome Tavi <3

  • SpencerBowie December 3rd, 2013 12:40 AM

    Hhhheeeyyy Tavi,

    Well this was wonderful. As a fellow Taurus I think you can agree with me that we are both def in transitional states right now. I’m 23, and I only feel like I’m beginning to live. I can out finally as bisexual on the Fourth of July this year and I also have only worked since high school. So now I have plans to go to art school in the spring and begin my living. But let me say this, in talking about your forever let me just say that after teendom things get so much better. I’m so glad that “they” are saying adolescence is still rampant until 25. It’s so inherently true. I’m claiming it for what’s it’s worth and will “adult” only when needed because my curiosity is still unquenched. I hope it alway will be, forever. Oh and the part you mentioned the morning Lou Reed died, yeah, that’s a little American Pie to me too. The Day The Music Died, lil bit. So that’s sad, but I have some bright hope for 2014 and beyond age 25 at the same time. You have a bright future in front of you gurl, forever is a long time!

    Kisses and congrats,

    Spencer

  • Chrysta December 3rd, 2013 1:09 AM

    Wow, this made me get all emotional, I’m nearing the end of forever as well and I’m having trouble accepting it. I don’t think anyone could have described ‘forever’ any better than you did, gave me chills.

  • Hunter December 3rd, 2013 1:09 AM

    Crying (again).

    Soon.

  • Courtney T December 3rd, 2013 1:14 AM

    This is so beautiful. I love it. Made me feel so many emotions

  • emeraldruby December 3rd, 2013 1:25 AM

    That was one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.
    I’m seventeen too and it sucks. I feel so old but also so young. Very in-between and unsure.

    • kingofcarrotflowers December 3rd, 2013 2:27 PM

      it’s kinda like Jenny says in ‘An Education’ – ‘i feel old but not very wise’…

  • Nikilodeon December 3rd, 2013 1:28 AM

    Tavi, I want to thank you so much for writing this. I feel like I’m going through something similar, only I feel like, while my high school life has just ended, my Forever is just beginning, where you feel like yours is ending somehow.

    I hope you feel better soon about it “ending.” You said that you’ve decided to always be growing up, that your life will never be a flat line, and I truly admire and agree with that idea. I am trying to view life in the same way, too. :) Maybe this is just the ending of a phase or an era, but it certainly isn’t the end to the kind of qualities that make our Forevers special. :) We have our entire lives to figure out who we are and what we believe in, to experience magic, to meet and build relationships with wonderful people, to be in pain and learn and grow, and to do fun things that make great memories. :) It doesn’t have to end here. But, as someone who graduated last May, I understand how you feel. My high school life was not as exciting as yours seems to have been, but nevertheless it was sad and painful to part with friends and realize that high school had become a memory rather than the present moment.

    So here’s a *hug*! I hope you can come to terms with the things you’re dealing with and feel better about it soon. :) Your Editor’s letter was really touching, and it hit home in a lot of places. You are so mature and intelligent and you’ve achieved so much, and even if you mentioned you were scared, I have no doubts that you will get through this, and enter the post-Forever world with flying colors. :) All the best!

  • magenta04 December 3rd, 2013 1:49 AM

    I cried. So great.

  • cloudinthesky December 3rd, 2013 4:35 AM

    I want to thank you, Tavi and all the other amazing Rookiemag people, for being part of my Forever and thank you for helping me getting through it. Rookie is one of the things that has changed me in a good way. I got goosebumps in the end, and I feel like crying, but in a good way. Thank you.<3

  • Nobre December 3rd, 2013 4:38 AM

    thank you

  • Pat December 3rd, 2013 5:57 AM

    This was the most beautiful thing I have read all year. I think this was so timely for the end of the year sort of thing. It just took me to such a nostalgic part of my brain and I couldn’t help but feel the same things that you felt even if I wasn’t even a part of the Rookie prom and other sort of events but there’s just something about the way you put it that makes it seem as if we were all a part. But perhaps, I think by heart, I probably was :)

    Rookie people are the greatest and should populate the whole damn world if possible.

    http://patkaybites.tumblr.com/
    http://patkaybites.wordpress.com/

  • AidaA December 3rd, 2013 7:36 AM

    Tavi this is so beautiful. Your blog and Rookie has helped change my life. Forever is so strange to me because I’m 19 now but my birthday’s at the end of July so I’ve always felt young and all my peers have made me feel so young. Even though there are just months between us it seems like the end of my forever is further away than theirs. Idk but this letter made me think and reminded me just how amazing a writer you are

    -Aida xx

    http://sunshinesuperwoman.blogspot.co.uk

  • Narita December 3rd, 2013 9:18 AM

    Whoa. This just hit me hard.

    I’m turning seventeen in 2014, and this makes me very afraid that life will like, suck more after then. Because right now it sucks, and I experience a lot of anxiety and bouts of depression, for which I’m taking meds, but I blame it all on the teen angst. And indeed, sometimes there are moments that are … forever. Infinite. Very Perks of Being a Wallflower indeed, infinite. And reading this both fills me with comfort and like my organs are hugging me (did that sound weird?) but it also scares me. Because what if the very minute the clock strikes and my seventeenth birthday comes up I will never ever experience that feeling again?

    Sigh. Also, I never went to prom. More sigh.

  • Melisa December 3rd, 2013 9:30 AM

    So beautiful, Tavi, nghhhhhhh. I graduate next year too so I can totally relate.

    • Melisa December 5th, 2013 5:47 PM

      making a scrapbook for each year of school with my girl to commemorate our twelve years in the school constitution and to remember all the forever-y moments we’ve had and will continue be having in this coming 6 months left of it. thanks x

  • Alienor December 3rd, 2013 10:26 AM

    wow, just, wow.
    i was having the worst day ever and you actually put a smile on my face.
    so instead of going to hurt myself like i usually do on bad days, i’m putting down my scissors and I’m going to go think about how i can start living all these memories that I haven’t had yet, because I just became an adult and I never lived a real “forever”
    this was very touching
    thank you thank you thank you

  • Cutesycreator aka Monica December 3rd, 2013 11:40 AM

    Tavi, I have never read anything more beautiful than your writing in all my life. Thank you for everything.

  • Narnia December 3rd, 2013 1:07 PM

    tavi, you always seem to write perfectly in tune with whatever is happening in my life (and many others it seems)!

    just last night i was feeling really anxious about how my life was going to turn out and so i went out into the freezing cold of my backyard and danced to my favorite songs and looked at the stars and felt the ground and grabbed and grass and i started crying because I all thought it was so beautiful and i have never felt more alive and i hated to think those moments wont be there always, but you reminded me that they can be!
    i wish to always live in never never land.
    thank you tavi! ur words speak to ma teenage soul

    p.s. tavi, have you ever thought about making films?? i can scarcely begin to imagine how gr8 u would be!

  • giov December 3rd, 2013 1:16 PM

    this is amazing, tavi, thank you!

    I think childhood never suited me that well, it felt like I was just merely waiting to be a teen so that I had an excuse to feel all those feels I was already feeling anyway.

    My teenage years were amazing. The were also freaking awful. Every year when it’s my birthday I think: one more year away from 17. Don’t get me wrong, 17 made me who I am today and for that I am grateful. I just wouldn’t want to do it again :).

    My twenties are being so much harder, and so much easier. According to the article you linked I’m going to be an adult at my next birthday? WE’LL SEE ABOUT THAT, AH.

  • swaggiebae666 December 3rd, 2013 1:33 PM

    This made me so emotional oh my. Thank you so very much for everything you’ve brought into my life, Tavi-although you dont know who I am, you have been so helpful to me when I needed things. Your philosophy on life has helped me through rough times. I am having trouble communicating my feelings right now but thank you thank you thank you.
    Personally, I feel that my Forever started very early. I’m thirteen, but i feel like I’m about a year into it. I’ve always been friends with people older than myself, and I’ve felt things that people tell me I shouldn’t be feeling. I have been battling with depression and various other mental health issues since the age of nine, when I’d constantly bang my head against my walls, trying to knock myself out. I’m not looking for pity-just telling you something. I’m still trying to overcome my issues, but Rookie has helped me so much. It’s made me discover more about myself, and it’s helped me find people I can relate to. OK IM WRITING THIS DURING A FREE PERIOD AT SCHOOL AND ITS ENDING BUT THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU I LOVE YOU SO MUCH AND THIS WAS AMAZING TO READ YES OK OK <3 <3 <3

  • redfeminist December 3rd, 2013 1:37 PM

    Tavi, this was one of the most touching letters that you have written so far. Thanks so much for sharing your thought about forever. It made me realize a few thinks myself :) ^_^

  • juliemoon December 3rd, 2013 1:51 PM

    Tavi,

    My 18th birthday is in 25 days, and I am so terrified that I honestly don’t know how I’m going to make it through the next three or so weeks without breaking down in a plethora of public locations. I always craved eighteen (tattoos!!! piercings!! lottery tickets!!! voting!!! organ donations!!!!) but now I just feel like everything is coming too fast and all at one time, like I’ve suddenly been thrown into the middle of the universe and there are galaxies and planets and stars all shooting right at me. I am so scared. I feel honestly like I’m going to look back at my Forever and be disappointed in the teenager I was or wasn’t, and I’m afraid that the regret I feel is going to consume me.

    Reading through your “I remembers” made me feel like my heart was not inside of my body anymore, and I can’t decide if sadness or fear or nostalgia prompted that. I think it was probably nostalgia mixed with melancholy with a sprinkle of “holy shit, I have MEMORIES.”

    High school was beautiful for me, up until this year, when college applications and stress consumed most most of my social life, therefore leaving me without a best friend, and without anything or anyone to turn to except journals, blogs, my (kick ass) boyfriend, and this website. When I look at the future, the post-forever, the ending of innocence and invincibility, I see mostly apprehension, but also some excitement. I’m excited for what’s to come, and sad for what I’m leaving.

    I just want to thank you for this post. You’re the kind of soul who seems to be in touch with everything around you.

    Love forever,
    Juliet

    • irismonster December 9th, 2013 12:51 AM

      thank god I’m not the only person excited to meet the age limit for being an organ donor. lol <3

  • rebasaurusbex December 3rd, 2013 2:01 PM

    Tavi-

    It’s my lunch period and I decided to sit in the hallway where my crush sometimes walks through (UR MEMORY OF HALLWAY PLANNING=*LITERALLY* MY LIFE) so I could sneak a peek and steal a smile and eat my bowl of cereal like a total QT pie and be reading something gr8 so I would be all smiley and like “oh, hey! Just being a QT pie” and then I pulled this out and read it and oh my god the left ventricle of my heart yearned and pulled and FELT just like it does whenever I truly love and FEEL a song – like reallyreallyreally feel it, to the point where I have to sit down alone for 10 minutes in silence just to be like WHOAH THAT JUST HAPPENED THIS IS HAPPENING and my heart yearned and pulled and FELT like it did when my most magical friend who I love so incomparably wrote me his first letter from college and signed it the same way Robert mapplethorpe would sign his letters to patti and UGH do you get what I mean?? Like when the left side of your heart just suddenly becomes so turgid and warm and becomes an out-of-body, incapitating experience that could last forever but then so devastatingly fades away until all you can do is imagine that feeling and falsely recreate it which just ends up being so much more despairingly devastating than just being done with it ever could have felt IS THIS WHAT YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT IN THIS LETTER AM I BEING TOTALLY STUPID REDUNDANT I DONT CARE but basically oh my god I am feeling so many feelings and loving you a lot through this but also just filling in my own blanks from my life and it’s crazy and beautiful and cringing and happy and ugh

    • rebasaurusbex December 3rd, 2013 2:08 PM

      BUT ANYWAYS END OF THE STORY—

      OBVIOUSLY thinking about this and seeing this and FEELING THIS made me cry in a bizarre way that is combined with so many other things in my life right now but this just pushed it over that edge and just like TEARS, MAN. TEARS.

      And then the dude walked by (I’m really good at this hallway stake-out shit) and waved hello but then saw the tears and was like “uhhhUh?” In his face and because I am me and I am this way I decided the best thing to do was give him a double-thumbs up which was not so gr8 considering I had cereal and then milk got spilled and I smell like Kellogg and also I was really looking forward to finishing that cereal but yeah

      “BLAMMO! ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL INTERACTION WITH A MALE!” – Liz Lemon

      What I’m trying to say is thank you.

      • kingofcarrotflowers December 3rd, 2013 2:29 PM

        this made me laugh and you’re great, and also i know exactly that feeling you described :)

  • elliecp December 3rd, 2013 2:08 PM

    this is the most beautiful thing I have read in, ironically, forever. I have been going through a period of permanent existential crisis after turning 16, as I feel like time is slipping through my fingers like sand and soon I’ll be old and wishing I was this age again. This article has made me stop and realise how actually happy I am…I am young, school is going fine, I love my friends and my family, and I hopefully have a bright future ahead of me. My ‘forever’ isn’t perfect either, but that unperfection is perfect in itself. Cher Horowitz never thought her life was perfect, if it was, he film Clueless would not have been very entertaining at all. Amelie Poulain never thought her life was perfect….if it was, she never would have gone out trying to make other people happy and thus the film Amelie would not have been made.
    Teenagedom is painful at times, but that is what makes it beautiful. We have a lifetime ahead of us and it’s only just the beginning. Thankyou Tavi and Rookie mag for helping me realise how amazing forever is.

    http://roseandvintage.blogspot.com/

  • DymondMag December 3rd, 2013 2:11 PM

    this made me cry Tavi though I’m not really sure why. the bittersweet aspect I guess, again amazing writing
    http://fashiondymond.blogspot.com

  • Sonya December 3rd, 2013 2:27 PM

    This means the world to me

  • emlyb December 3rd, 2013 3:55 PM

    my forever has been spent out of school, holed up and isolated in my house for 4 years. this made me sad because i know i’ll never have a proper forever like this and the tiny chance i have to have one is slowly slipping away.

    • emlyb December 3rd, 2013 4:00 PM

      (i submitted my comment too soon) i wish more than anything that my pain has been ~beautiful~ and bittersweet and that i’ll feel yearning and nostalgia for this time in my life again, even if it is bittersweet or wtvr but nope

      things like this make me so sad and wish more than anything i wish i could of had the chance you know. i’m 100% something is fundamentally wrong with me as i can relate to nearly none of this. wow i hate everything today

      • Tavi December 3rd, 2013 4:52 PM

        Please do not hold up my experience as the standard for your own life! I mean, look at Naomi, our diarist — she was homeschooled throughout high school and is now at college and having lots of Forever-y moments. This is not your only chance to grow into yourself or love a band or whatever. For what it’s worth — not much, probably — I’ve had plenty of moments not worth recording too, or too painful to record: my Forever has also included being suicidally depressed, having panic attacks at school, being an utter asshole, and losing friends. I wrote this to capture a specific feeling as it pertains to a specific experience as it pertains to a specific person, but you are not missing out, there is nothing “fundamentally wrong” with you, if you don’t relate. Also, the fact that you’ll never worry that you peaked in high school or will never look back like “ah yes, the glory years,” — that just means there is much good ahead for you. <3

        • emlyb December 4th, 2013 12:09 PM

          woah i didn’t expect you to reply! <3 thanks tavi. this made me feel a lot better. i was also having an i-hate-the-world kind of day yesterday, probably not the best day for me to be accessing the internet hahha! but thank you a whole lot :) i think you are wonderful

  • luanda jabur December 3rd, 2013 4:08 PM

    Tavi, you’re like the best. I’m late for my college exam here in Brazil so glad that you wrote it. I don’t have other words for you than really thinking you’re a friend of my heart! Enjoy the rest of your high school, forever is awesome
    love

  • fromanotherearth December 3rd, 2013 5:28 PM

    This post is beautiful and heart-felt and incredibly magical.
    I’d had some friend problems at the end of last year that made me feel very alone and I worried about how I would be able to have all those ~typical~ teenage experiences. Luckily things have worked out but somehow no matter what happens I have this feeling that I’m spending my Forever wrong. I’m in the process of accepting the fact that there is no right way to be a teenager and that being true to yourself and all that is really what matters- not how many parties you go to and whatnot.

    All this reminds me of one of the best songs ever, Soco Amaretto Lime by Brand New.

    • sinclair December 3rd, 2013 8:14 PM

      gah that song made me nostalgic for things that hadn’t happened yet <3

  • LollipopTree December 3rd, 2013 5:30 PM

    This is so so perfectly written… I am in the exact same situation as Tavi, 17 and about to be thrown into the world after high school and stuff which is literally the scariest thing. The essence of “the forever years” has been captured so beautifully; being a teenager is all about discovering and growing, longing and dreaming and living in the moment. The low moments (a boy doesn’t like you, arguments with your parents etc) are just as big a part as the highs like sleepovers with your friends and seeing a band you love because each thing is a part of your growth as a person. I associate being melancholy with being a teenager just as much as happiness, maybe even more, but at that point in your life everything is so intense that you can look back at it like a movie or a book so it isn’t real damage. (that’s just my experience though, everyone has different experiences of course).

    Also I bloody wish I went to the same school as Tavi… come to England girl! <3

  • Lorf96 December 3rd, 2013 6:28 PM

    Just wanted to say Tavi that was sooo beautiful! I’m 17 and in my last year of school and all everyone is asking about is my future, I’m really confused about what I want and am still in my forever! I can really relate to your memories and rookie has really helped me be comfortable with who I have become in my forever and who I am still turning into, thank you so much for rookie you guys you’ve helped me more than I can sayXxx

  • oldelectricity December 3rd, 2013 10:19 PM

    tavi and you lovely rookies,

    this is just swooning my heart out. i’m 25 (really?! 25?) and it feels so strange to write and say that, because i’m still a teen, and still figuring things out. i used to wonder, back in my earliest forever days, how it would all resolve — was i supposed to pop out, life-plan-enacted, published-books-in-hand and with some great true love (and hopefully a dog and a red pickup truck?) on the other side of 18? i’ve stumbled thru that, and many more, and the strangest thing of all is this feeling that there’s not necessarily an up or down to any of this. it’s just these fierce, gorgeous, often too-big-for-words moments; and whatever attempts we make to reign them in & look them in the eye & name what we see.

    i’m starting to have been alive long enough to see that, while i hope i’m coming closer to some cosmic sense of myself, vision & true-hearted courage, i also have periods of feeling scarily “far” — like a planet on the other side of the moon. i look back on myself in past moments of closeness — when i was really alive in my bootheels, moving in my own spirit — and take solace there; and from you, and this community & world, and taytay and bob dylan and everyone else who has the courage & the grit to stick to their own crazy becoming.

    and that’s the great lesson i’m always learning, here with you rookies, about forever. things are always closing off, and, definitely, life gets more busy and muddled and the middle of the nights sometimes seem less howling & holy — but it’s never over. we’re never done.

    love you all, and thanks <3

  • oldelectricity December 3rd, 2013 10:28 PM

    ALSO can i explain how amazing & huge-feeling it is to find this wonderful world of people feeling and thinking and singing out so many of the things that i felt (and still feel), even though my couple-of soul-friends and i felt crazy with the big weight of this stuff, and just sent letters back & forth between our big infinity-gazing lonesomes?

    it’s powerful. it’s powerful to be able to let go of the awful burden of supposed-to-be-being-adult and to mourn and celebrate and most of all, just gaze in wonder at the world, with folks eight years younger than me, and eight and eighteen older. it’s a sort of real-honest human community that you don’t find anywhere; and it’s helped flake away and soften up the years of heart-stones i’ve gotten from keeping all of this to myself in a world where you’re supposed to be all-composed, all-already-decided, all-the-time (bs!). feeling & celebrating & quivering at the bigness of things — this stuff matters; and, mark my words: changes the world. this old ark’s a movin’ –

    i’m excited to be in this good world with rookie. sisters, you are beauuuutiful. thanks for recalling me to myself, day in and day out; and for getting all of our courages up. <3<3<3

  • daydream December 3rd, 2013 10:57 PM

    This was really beautiful, Tavi :’))
    I’ve been thinking about these things a lot lately, about transition and identity.. I’m 22, and I’ve just moved to a foreign country with an entirely different culture, so right now I’m trying to find my place, and I’m also afraid of becoming so nostalgic that it’s destructive and I won’t be able to make any new memories…

    For me, Forever started around high school, and I think I felt the most Forever-y when I was in college, but lately I’ve been thinking that Forever doesn’t really end, it just shape-shifts into a different kind of Forever…

    So I think this part of the letter is really perfect :) “I am suggesting we resist a life that looks, in line-graph form, like it goes up and up and up and then it stops, and then it levels out, and then it stays on that flat plane until death. I hope to live a life that goes up and up and up until the end, with the inevitable dip here and there. I hope to continue to learn and change.”

    I hope to live like that too <3

  • LenoraLikes December 4th, 2013 1:55 AM

    Tavi, I remember being at the Seattle Rookie event and hearing you read aloud the first 3 parts of this letter and wishing that moment would last forever. Being in an unfamiliar city just to see you was invigorating, like I was becoming the type of person who Does Things instead of Thinks About Doing Things. This letter was very touching and so eloquently, deftly felt. Whenever I’m reading your writing, I am both floored and totally immersed. I hope that you’ll continue to share your work with us for however long this particular Forever lasts.

  • Maddie S December 4th, 2013 3:45 AM

    Awww I love you Tavi, I get so nostalgic and all of this is just beautiful xxx

    http://stylefreckle.blogspot.com.au/

  • dragonfly December 4th, 2013 5:46 AM

    I can’t remember the last time something made tears fall down my face in the last lines.
    Oh Tavi. I am quite speechless.

  • katewantscandy95 December 4th, 2013 8:35 AM

    I recently (well, just over 3 months ago) turned 18 and it felt like a whole new life but at the same time it felt like nothing had changed – but I knew that it was different. And I am different because of it. Those past 3 months have felt like a shaping up ‘grieving’ process for me, and reading this has just made me feel so much nicer inside about it all. I’ve always been afraid of this time right here, being over the age of 17, and actually tomorrow morning I have my uni enrolment session – so reading this tonight here in Melbourne, Australia has made me perk up about it all; seeing as the past hour or so I’ve been feeling rather down. So thank you Tavi for another beautiful letter, and thankyou for existing. And thankyou rookie – for always being there to help me along the way ❤️❤️

  • Kiana December 4th, 2013 9:31 PM

    I have a piece for forever/always/infinity that I haven’t finished yet but I want to send it to you. Is it still acceptable? Or…

  • Sssophiabh December 5th, 2013 12:48 AM

    Wow I just sat here and cried while reading this. I’m not quite sure why. But it was beautiful and perfect

  • Kori December 5th, 2013 1:19 AM

    Just something to consider: Being a teenager, being in high school… all of that is so intense partially because you’re in a transitional period and everything is so new. For me, my last year of college felt like that too. Not so much the first three, but the last one I felt everything so intensely, and I had crushes and deep talks at Dunkin at weird hours of the night, and and dancing all night, laughing, crying, all of it. Sometimes forever feels like knowing your future and your adulthood is RIGHT THERE around the corner, so close you can almost close your fingers around it, and you still have no idea what it’s going to look like or who you’re going to be or where you’re going to live. That forever doesn’t look so different. You and your friends are still going for late-night drives, without a destination in mind, content in the idea that you are together and you are moving. Still eating crappy food and kicking off your shoes and screaming out your favorite lyrics. You still write poetry because you feel too much not to. That’s not everyone’s experience. Some people get their shit together earlier than I do. But I guarantee that this is not the last time in your life you will feel at least somewhat like this. Things change all the time, anyone who says they know exactly where their life is going is in for a nasty shock, and artists and people who really notice/investigate their feelings don’t stop feeling intensely at the end of high school. I want to say they don’t stop feeling intensely EVER, but I’m in my early 20s, so I don’t feel qualified.

  • Emma December 5th, 2013 1:40 AM

    This brought tears to my eyes. My initial reaction was sadness and jealousy, because I have never had those movie-like moments, but then I started thinking about it and I fucking loved high school. The people I met, the small experiences I had have been so so amazing, even if they weren’t the classic teen experiences. I feel so grateful for everything, and so bittersweet. For everyone saying that they can’t relate to this, though, I understand, but remember you have your whole life ahead of you to experience these things. <3

  • NF4awesome December 5th, 2013 2:27 AM

    God, there are a lot more comments on this than usual.

    I’m 18, but I feel like I lost my “forever” way too early. As if I missed a lot of opportunities to be a ~teen~ because I was too busy being cynical and pretentious about the silliness of acting like a high schooler. It took me too long to not feel so wrapped up in my own self-consciousness that I always had to do everything cautiously and boringly.

    I’m a college freshman, but I want the rest of my forever. Sometimes moments of it pop up, but there’s far too large a shadow of finality over all of my thoughts for me to fully enjoy it.

    Anyway…Tavi, this piece was touching and relate-able and strangely inspiring. But don’t feel so concerned with the end of your forever, because I’m pretty sure pieces of it continue into the beginning of college.

  • Kal December 5th, 2013 3:33 AM

    Each time I see that you’ve posted something on here or on Style Rookie I am brought back to an age where I can’t hold in my emotions and often smile to no one but myself.

    I love your writing, I miss your writing. But at the same time I understand why the frequency of it’s publishing has decreased — somethings are better left unshared.

    I too am a senior, and I too find myself wondering what it means to depart this chapter of my life or how to properly pay tribute to it. Sometimes it feels like being a teenager is the loneliest thing in the world, then I remember that everyone else between 13-18 years old is lonely too, I guess that really makes being lonely a group activity doesn’t it?

    Anyway I have been trying to preserve this shimmer before it flickers out, because right now it feels like I am living in a single instant, a flash that is almost out, a wick that has nearly burnt.

    I don’t know what you plan on doing after high school but I hope you continue to inspire and move people the way you’ve moved me. Rookie is absolutely incredible and if I didn’t love it so much I wouldn’t religiously check in with the site daily, because I am still a bit jealous that you and Hazel and all of the Rookie staff are this cool/ bitter that I didn’t make the cut.

    Cheers to you and all of the glitter you’ve added to my Forever! Oh and visit Houston–we’d love to have some Rookie staffers!!

    Love,

    Kali

    zymurgyprocess.com

  • Joyce December 5th, 2013 6:11 AM

    this made me cry so much! i remember high school and friends i’ve never seen for a long time and music that i used to listen to. there wasn’t much at all but those are my forever.

    ROOKIE FOREVER.

    • yellowplaid December 24th, 2013 10:09 PM

      Forever is also when you are related to a professional performing artist, especially if they made history! My relative is in her elder years now, and during this month actually, is when I came to the realization that I will have her forever now. I can hear her forever in the songs on the internet, on vinyl, cd…I can see her forever in the pictures posted online and in the pictures I have of her….and her impact in the industry is forever, and it forever opened doors and opportunities for me for the rest of my existence. I can see her in the mirror as long as I’m on earth, because my eyes look like hers. I see her forever when I look at my mom: she has the same eyes too! I don’t think it’s the right time for me to say who it is (partly because I am still recovering!!!!!!). This relative also goes with the Secret Sharers post in Age of Innocence. I haven’t told that many people and I don’t share it online because I am still in shock. I’m not ready to share who it is because I’m still in shock, while also going through a live through this time period right now. My relative made women’s history and I can’t wait for the best time to share this with the magazine of my dreams. Performing artist relatives forever and Rookie forever.

  • Roz G. December 6th, 2013 12:04 AM

    I remember not studying properly for a metaphysics final on december 6 2013 because I was too enthralled reading this amazing article… no seriously thank you for this little piece of wonderful :)

  • Ibe. December 6th, 2013 3:55 PM

    well here i am crying in my little cluttered room listening to the mamas and papas in a small village in belgium. tavi this is such a beautiful piece of writing! and whilst i was reading this i remembered all the magical moments of last summer. the swimming and camping at our secret river, the music festivals, the sleepovers & the waking up the day after in a sun drenched room with you best friend right next to you writing stupid things in an old friend book, the crushes, the parties, the 3 am disney movies marathons.
    thank you. i love you for this.

  • Tavi December 6th, 2013 5:00 PM

    Thank you all for your comments. I can’t believe this crew. <3

  • Pauline Voss December 6th, 2013 9:06 PM

    I know that this comes late, but I had to think about what you wrote for a while.
    Your Editor’s Letter is so interesting and well written, but it left me with the feeling that your idea of Forever doesn’t match up with everyone. You don’t have to go through such an unusual youth as Naomi to not be able to experience a lot of Forever-y moments between the ages of 13 and 17. Some people have severe problems at home, at school or elsewhere, that keep them from creating Forever-y moments. Some people are just more interested in other things at that age. And many people just don’t find friends they can really relate to. It’s such a luck to find interesting people when you’re young, because not every suburb has its Claires or Ellas, sometimes you just have to wait until you are old enough to go to places where you can find less narrow-minded people than at the town you grew up at.

    And in addition to that, I don’t think that the end of one’s adolescence is the end of his or her Forever-y moments. I felt so completed at the end of puberty that I was really surprised when I realised that my personality and feelings and even my brain still continued to change and develop so noticeably after the age of 17 (I’m 20 now). I don’t know you personally and I can’t predict your future, but if I had to guess, I’d say there is still a lot of Forever-y moments (or Magical Moments as I like to call them, even if I sound like a judge of a talent show on TV) to come. (Just as an example: Is there a more Forever-y thing than giving birth to a baby?)

    Your letter is extremely touching (the part with Petra was so sad) and it captures an atmosphere that I’d love to be part of, but in my opinion it doesn’t emphasize enough the fact that it’s about your own personal idea of how teenage years should be like. The good thing about Rookie is that it usually doesn’t try to tell teenage girls what their life should be like and what is ~normal~. But this article could put pressure on young girls, whose youth doesn’t feel as perfect (with all its perfect imperfections) as yours seems to be.

    Please keep in mind that this is written by a Rookie-Tavi-loving person. I think that debating with friends is so much more interesting than agreeing with people I can’t relate to.
    (I hope I didn’t make too many mistakes, because I’m no mother-tongue speaker. :))

    • Tavi December 7th, 2013 12:33 PM

      Here are some Rookie articles where we acknowledge that there is no trajectory for one’s teenage experience:
      http://rookiemag.com/2012/07/hail-the-misprint/
      http://rookiemag.com/2011/09/great-expectations/
      http://rookiemag.com/2013/08/in-good-time/

      I even acknowledged in this very piece under “Different Stages of Life” that Forever-y moments take place after Forever, people transition at different times, etc.

      But this is my editor’s letter, about my experience. It’s not an instructional article. It would have been condescending to include some disclaimer that hey, this is only about *my* life, because I don’t expect our readers to have trouble discerning when a writer is talking about themselves or not. To say it “puts pressure on young girls” seems a bit much to me. And ultimately, I can’t control how this will make someone feel — there are a couple comments here where girls seem to say that they don’t relate to what I’ve described. But a number of them still appreciate it. And I would rather that than include some patronizing disclaimer reminding people how to read.

  • _hauntedhouse December 7th, 2013 2:52 AM

    I’m 20 years old and this so beautifully puts into words a feeling I’ve dealt with before. It all rings true to me, and I love the idea that adulthood is an adventure that will always be changing as opposed to the awful notion of a personal plateau.

  • alesssurprise December 7th, 2013 11:17 PM

    so much love ♥

  • Laia December 8th, 2013 2:13 PM

    i love you and elton john is playing while i read it and i love you more.
    always + forever.

  • irismonster December 9th, 2013 12:47 AM

    Tavi,

    This is the most beautiful piece of writing on adolescence that I’ve ever read. I’m not turning 18 for a few years, so I feel all the luckier to have encountered this while I still have time to appreciate Forever. I think that your advice to never stop growing up is probably the best I’ve ever heard, and since I first heard this piece at a Rookie Yearbook Two signing in November, I’ve never stopped thinking about it. It’s profound, like this entire piece, because it makes me think about what defines the extent of Forever. The special period between ages 13 and 18 is defined my societal norms, and I feel that I can make the conscious decision to not accept it. If I live my entire life appreciating it like we all do Forever, I feel that perhaps I have a better chance at my whole life being beautiful. Beautiful like the advice to never stop growing up, beautiful like this essay, and beautiful like Forever.

    So, thank you.

  • sagwa December 9th, 2013 9:06 PM

    Tavi, thank you thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart. I remember hearing you read this when you visited Seattle. I was holding my crumpled zine, sitting next to my best friend who was about to move away, feeling like ‘yes, this is what Forever feels like;’ that ethereal, frightening and beautifully fragile Forever. Thank you for articulating what I could barely sputter, at best. I’m 18 and feeling my Forever stronger than ever, and while I’ll miss it in the next few years to come, reading this makes me realize that it will always be a special China Box Chapter in my life that I can open again and again.

  • moon-brother December 14th, 2013 3:46 PM

    UGH so much luv. <333 Rookie has been an integral part of my life lately, as a 21 year old. Like, I feel like I always know where I will run to after I close my Facebook tab and that is here. Rookie /is/ my palate cleanser after Facebook, if you get what I mean. I don't know, this has sort of become one of my happy places. In fact, I set Rookie as my home page <3 I would say that this is one of the reasons why the internet is amazing–I live in the Philippines and even though I never get a chance to come to any of your events, I still feel like I'm part of this community. Thank you thank you thank you!

    I think we all should never stop learning and wondering, because I think that's how forever never stops. ♥

  • Magdalena December 19th, 2013 10:36 PM

    Forever
    Forever is the plastic beads of childhood
    Linked together by infinity
    Pushing into the unknown
    Daring you not to cry
    Forever is baby teeth
    Growing up without
    Ever
    looking Back
    Forever
    Is the space in between
    Now and later
    Between
    Going and gone
    Between
    laughter and crying
    I’ll meet you there
    At
    Forever
    I’ll smile
    And for once
    You
    will
    too

  • yellowplaid December 24th, 2013 8:29 PM

    The 212 area code is forever, and its what I thought of first when I heard about this theme. They recently proposed an area code change, but we shut that down fast! 212 forever!

  • Eileen December 29th, 2013 12:33 PM

    I got rookie yearbook 1 and 2 for Christmas. these letters are why I asked for them

  • yellowplaid January 1st, 2014 11:27 AM

    “Fuh-eva? Fuh-eva eva? Fuh-EVA EVA?” -Andre 3000 in Outkasts’ song Ms. Jackson.

    Realized this quote on the last day of the month’s theme. A day late! lol. DARRRRRRRN IT!!!!!

  • January 8th, 2014 3:25 PM

    Here’s a video of Tavi giving this as a talk at Skylight Books. There’s a great interview too

    http://lareviewofbooks.org/interview/video-tavi-gevinson-rookie-yearbook-two

  • randomsynths February 13th, 2014 1:44 AM

    I love reading your articles even the articles back 2013. Im 22 right now. Sometimes I want to stop the clock and stop growing but then we have to grown and learn not just as we age but the day goes by. I do have a lot of growing and learning to do and Rookie you are a part of that growing and learning, seriously, you are my favorite site! :) All your articles are so genuine and they are not written just to make the readers feel good for a moment but you do inspire us a LOT! :) By the way Im from the Philippines and I do hope to get a copy of Rookie mag. thanks!

    forever and always!