Now onto the celebrations. To everyone who has bared their souls through their writing and art on Rookie, making us all feel seen, heard, connected, and inspired; making Rookie better, smarter, and more human: Thank you. It has been an absolute gift—I don’t know how else to describe it—to see you interpret Rookie’s monthly themes in your own work. To learn about you through your art. I will really miss that exchange of ideas and experiences. And now I am actually starting to cry, thinking about how much love and vulnerability have gone into the thousands of articles, essays, poems, advice, stories, interviews, photos, illustrations, comics, collages, playlists, and videos on Rookie. Thank you.

Thank you to all of Rookie’s editors from the past seven years: Anaheed Alani, Emily Condon, Anne T. Donahue, Danielle Henderson, Jessica Hopper, Elona Jones, Rose Lichter-Marck, Marie Lodi, Jane Morgan, Erika Ramirez, Phoebe Reilly, Diamond Sharp, Derica Shields, Lena Singer, and Amy Rose Spiegel. Thank you for creating the Rookie voice by nurturing and honoring the voices of our contributors. For finding the perfect mix of funny/loving/dark/angry/kind/sincere/visually pleasing. Thank you for caring so much about our community. For evolving Rookie with them. And for working for someone who was figuring out Rookie—and, um, life—as she went along. Thank you.

None of this would have been possible without Lauren Redding, our publisher, who has been here all seven years. Thank you, Lauren, for everything—which, like your title, does not begin to cover it. Thank you for your vision, your generosity, and your passion for Rookie’s mission. For believing in it and supporting me. Thank you for making real what would otherwise just be fun ideas: the books, the podcast, the events, the site itself, and much more than I can list here. Thank you for architecting this universe with me.

Thank you to Molly Raskin, our operations manager. Thank you to Rumors Studio, Fictive Kin, Max Fenton, and Jeremy Zilar for working on the design and function of Rookie’s site over the years. Thank you to Drawn & Quarterly, Razorbill, Tina Lee, Sonja Ahlers, and Allegra Lockstadt for helping us translate the magic of Rookie into print with the Rookie Yearbook series and Rookie on Love. I will cherish those books even more now.

My parents took me seriously when I said I wanted to start an online magazine without knowing everything that would mean. Thank you Mom and Dad for only ever wanting this to be something I love. Thank you Dad for learning about the business side of Rookie along with everything else you do in your life. Rookie readers: I have not shared this before, but in the ’80s, my dad started a journal-writing class at the high school where he taught, where I eventually went, and where the class is still being offered. I learned this after starting Rookie, but it made perfect sense. Thank you Dad for understanding how important it is that young people express themselves for their own sake.

Thank you to you, reading this, for coming here to share, to listen, to connect with us and each other. Every now and then, I get a visceral reminder of how it felt to be in middle school, when I wondered if other people shared my fears, insecurities, ambitions, weird habits, enthusiasms. If I would ever meet them. The fact that this is no longer a question in my mind makes me feel utterly spoiled. That is thanks to you, and it means more than I can say. It’s Forever and Infinity.

It will take a long time for me to process the rareness of this connection, and the feeling that it’s over. But it’s not over. The changes people create in one another do not go away. The people you grow up with stay with you forever. You made Rookie with us, and its spirit will live on in whatever comes next for us all.