Hugs, Kisses and Wishes: 20 People on What They Hope My Twentieth Birthday Brings

I have always loved my birthday and being the center of attention for a whole day. However, this year, my birthday happens to fall right in the middle of finals week for Winona State. I’m not gonna lie—that thought is not one that fills me with the desire to blow out birthday candles and celebrate myself. But I can’t just do nothing, right? I thought a fun twist on sharing my personal wishes for myself as I turn 20 this year would be to ask 20 important people in my life to share what they hope this year brings me.


Below are responses from my parents, grandparents, long-time friends, and soon-to-be-forever friends made in college. I’m so blessed with people who care about me this much, and I am looking forward to a fun, albeit finals-studying-filled birthday!




  • Mom: “As you begin a new decade, I wish joy and adventure for you. Go explore the world and be confident in your ability to do so. I wish you all the happiness as you begin your young adult life. You have the uncanny ability to speak with your written world—get out there and write the story of a lifetime.”


  • Dad: “My wish for you is courage… courage to try new things, meet new people, and experience new places. When I look back at being 20, the regrets I have come from things I didn’t try, people I didn’t get to know better or places I didn’t experience. Also, I want you to have courage in your convictions. People will doubt you and tell you that you don’t know what you’re doing. But, if you have courage, you often find that you are right and with that comes confidence.”


  • Zoe: “Hannah… first of all, whoa—you are 20 and that’s wild. I hope that you come to love yourself more. I know we can all struggle with self-love when we see the expectations in social media. But you are so funny, beautiful, and smart; you should come to love all of yourself more. You have so many people who love and care about you, and I want you to accept that more. You’ve always been an inspiration because you are so productive and creative, although it was annoying to be compared to you for those same reasons. Keep working on what you love and the rest will fall into place. I love you, big sis. Happy 20th!”


  • Grandparents Judy & Bruce: “We have three wishes for you. The first is that you continue to have good health in your twenties and beyond. On both sides of the family, there are pre-existing conditions so we want you to stay vigilant so you can enjoy the other aspects of life in a healthy way. We hope your 20s continue to be full of joy and happiness, much like the joy you bring to so many other people. And finally, we hope you continue to be a “lifelong learner” and never lose your spark when it comes to reading, exploring opinions, and being endlessly curious.”


  • Grandparents Skip & Edie: (S)—My granddaughter has demonstrated that, after a couple of years growing up at home, she has blossomed on her own after hitting college. Hannah has grabbed the areas that give her the most opportunities to succeed in her major and has proven with her literary work that she is well-qualified to continue work with the school towards her life goals.” (E)— “As you turn 20, I wish you happiness and success in all your endeavors, which I have no doubt you will achieve. You are a strong and confident young lady. Love you.”


  • NugentsAunt Amy, Uncle Dave, Allyson, & Leah: “My wish for you is that you learn the key to happiness in life. Book work and experience will come naturally for you. But learning how to be happy, no matter what is going on in your life, is life’s biggest challenge. Crises of every kind will come to everyone—family, health, finance, and more. Learning to live not from the outside-in but from the inside-out is the greatest gift. Acceptance, peace, and happiness comes from within and can exist no matter what is happening in our lives. The ability to be at peace and to think more of others than ourselves is the true realization of that happiness.”


  • IbbotsonsAunt Beth, Uncle Bill, Julian, & Maria: “For your 20th birthday I wish many things for you—health, happiness, adventure, fulfillment, and all the good.  But, I also hope (in a not unkind way) that you have some challenges or setbacks.  I wish that for you because having to face some obstacles presents the opportunity to learn about strengths and talents you may not realize you have. I also hope you remember that money cannot buy happiness, but it can buy books… and that's kind of the same thing.  Happy Birthday!”




  • Sarah: “My hopes for you as you turn 20 are for you to have the best year yet: to continue to thrive in your studies and to accomplish more than you have already. I know it will be hard to beat. I know you have a big, bright future and I feel so lucky to have met you last year. You are one of the greatest friends, and Winona wouldn’t be the same without you. Love you, Hannah Hipps!”


  • Emma: “Hannah, my wish for you during your twentieth year is this: I hope you continue to find yourself and build your confidence in becoming the best writer you can be. I hope you meet a boy who changes everything you thought you knew about love and shakes your world a little bit. I hope you find happiness like you’ve never known, the kind that makes you smile until your cheeks hurt. And most of all, I hope that we continue to be friends until the end. Han, there’s nobody like you. I hope you never stop embracing what makes you you.”


  • Kaylee: “Hannah, my wish for you in your 20th year is for you to love yourself as much as I love you, inside and out. There will always be people who try to knock you down, make you feel inferior, and less than. What people say about you says more about them than it does about you. So with that being said, keep on rocking florals, write 500 words and then 500 more, and continue to grow into the woman you were meant to be. And that that wherever you end up, I’ll always be on the sidelines cheering you on. Love you, crackhead… more than you’ll ever know.”


  • Jess: “I am so proud of what you have accomplished by 20… to think we started as little seventh graders roaming the halls of Jackson Middle School, being the best SSC helpers ever known to womankind! Now, we both ended up in Minnesota and are doing some amazing things. You are the most compassionate and selfless person I know. Thank you for giving me a text when I haven’t responded in days and letting me lead you around on adventures. You are the best, and I will always be your biggest cheerleader. Love, Jess.”


  • Kellie: “Happy 20th Birthday, Hannah!  This year, my wish is for your continued successes.  I’m so proud of your accomplishments thus far, but I know that you are only going to soar from here.  Shoot for the stars, do not let anyone tell you no, and be the boss lady you were born to be!”


  • Cassidy: “I hope that in the 20th year of your beautiful life, you find happiness and purpose—whether you grow and find something new or learn that you’re right where you should be”


  • Katie: “My wish for you, Hannah Hippensteel, is that you get to embrace your 20th year on this Earth— that you live each day with passion and happiness like I’ve seen many times before. My biggest wish of all, for you, my lovely friend, is for the tough days to pass and the amazing ones to linger so you can be present in the little moments and love yourself to the fullest.”


  • Paige: “I hope that your 20th year of life is filled with lots of fun and happiness. I hope that you continue to shine and keep bringing joy to people’s lives, much like you have with mine. Much love always, from Crazsayyy.”


  • Maddi: “At 20, I hope that you just live your life… be there for your friends but make yourself a priority. Your 20s are a major time to figure out who you are, where you want to go, and what makes you YOU. Be open to trying new things and going on randomly planned trips. School is important but so is putting aside time for friends and yourself. You are one of the sweetest people I know, and I am so happy that college has brought you into my life!”


  • Sydney: “My wish for your 20th birthday is that you continue to be always happy and smiling. You are always a delight to be around, and I hope you continue to radiate all the positive energy out that you always seem to have inside. I hope you can achieve even more than you already have with all of your articles and I hope you enjoy every second of it. I have been so honored to call you a friend over the past year; I can’t wait to spend more birthdays with you!


  • Kelly: “To the most hip Hannah I know...congratulations on making it to the roaring 20s! You have already accomplished so much in these 19 years, and I am looking forward to seeing what you will do in your 20s. Whether it’s working for Vogue or attending graduate school, you will be that individual who will make a huge impact in whatever you decide to do. Now that you have spent two decades here on this Earth, I hope your 20th birthday is nothing but special because no one else deserves it more than you, my fellow Illinoisan. I am very thankful that Winona State brought us together, and I cannot wait to make more memories with you in this new journey to no longer being teens. Love you, Hannah!”


  • Hailey: "To my Hannah Marie, I can't believe you're 20. It seems like just yesterday when we met each other in person at the first Her Campus meeting our freshman year. You're such an incredible young woman, and I'm so damn lucky to call you my wifey. For your 20th birthday, I wish for you to know when to say enough is enough. This can mean standing up for yourself when a professor gives you a hard time and comments about your appearance (just a random example) or when a potential suitor doesn't treat you the way you should be treated (which, by the way, is as a queen). I think we oftentimes believe walking away from a situation or a person who proves to be toxic to us makes us weak, makes us a quitter. In reality, it means we know our limitations and recognize our self-worth. You mean more to me than words could possibly describe (which is slightly ironic since I'm an English major), and all I wish for you for eternity is to stand up for yourself. I love you!"


  • Hannah (me):  “Hannah, I hope you embrace all your loved one’s wishes and aspirations, and make your year 20 the beginning of a decade for the ages!”


This article is just one concrete reminder of all the love and happiness people in my life hope for me. I’m so glad I took the time to ask them about this, and I’m so looking forward to the beginning of this new decade, new chapter, new year of life— with all of them alongside me!