Dec. 31st, 2022

It’s the day before the new year and I’ve never felt so at peace with how my year has gone.

I became a person made almost entirely from scratch, with a little wisdom borrowed and a little faith earned, and I went from floating to flying, in a matter of minutes, months, and moments.

The mass amount of people I met, the expectation of character and quality I gained, and the things all of them taught me have been more than enough to build the foundation I knew I needed but refused to earn.

This year, I stumbled. Hard. But people picked me up.

You, my family, my friends, strangers, myself.

I fell and I bled. I fell and I scabbed. I fell and I healed. I worked through, around, over and under until the scratches only stung and the bones set back into their new proper places. And then I set out to earn a few more scratches and scars, collecting them like girl scout badges against my heart, skin, and soul.

I feel not a second was truly wasted, and everything went as it should have – how it needed to go.

I took adventures, to new places and my favorite ones. I read, a lot, and I wrote, a LOT, and learned that sometimes life has to be lived beyond the page. I learned that, sometimes, my parents are right and I am wrong, but also that, sometimes, they’re going to be wrong and I am going to be right, and that those are hard pills to swallow for the both of us.

I had to take a trip alone to truly learn who I was, and I learned that for once, I love and like myself enough to get three days of solitude and still crave more. I spent more money than I have ever spent in my life, but I also worked hard enough to make more money than I have ever made in my life. My life experiences skyrocketed and my soul enriched, and both of those things were enough to round out the sharp, cutting edges of the financial blades that were quite literally shredding my savings account to pieces. Concerts, trips, games, car batteries, and overdue book fees. I saw it all, I spent it all, and then I spent a little more.

But I learned that money, the sweet bit that comes after you’ve made sure that all your shit’s handled and dealt with, is meant for spending. Because while I should be saving for 50 years from now, and I will, I will never be 19 in Greece with my mother again, or 18 at a concert in Hollywood with my best friend, or 20 in Scotland trying haggis for the first time. Those are things I could never possibly get back. Money, I always can, and I always will. But life in this heart with these eyes, there’s no second try.

Travel, Writing, Acting, Love, and Experiences.

That’s what my 2022 was about.

And flipping through the photo album now, it definitely wasn’t perfect. But for the first time in my life, I feel my age. I am 19 and excited, 19 and naive, but learning. Brave and carefree, optimistic and terrified out of my mind.

It’s never been perfect, and it never will be. But it can be fun, it can be thrilling and painful, and peaceful. And that’s something.

Thank you, me. Thank you, you. And thank you, 2022.

To 2023, and whoever we all become in it.

Kate Santos

Dec. 31st, 2022; 2:22am

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