Since I was young, I knew 2016 would be a significant year in my life. Attending the same college-preparatory school from the age of 8 to 18, I was constantly reminded of the fact that 2016 is the year I would graduate high school. For years, I’d log into my school website as “kbingham16," attend pep-rallies with colorful banners that said “We’re kind of a B16 deal,” and hear “Class of 2016” announced as my classmates and I walked across the football field in our annual field day parade. It was a constant reminder that 2016 was coming, and it would be momentous. As result, after so many years of hype, it was surreal to believe 2016 came and went. I remember staring into the sky on New Year’s Eve, barely comprehending it was even here, thinking to myself: This year is going to change everything. And it did.
The best way I can describe it is a whirlwind. Everything moved fast, and it seemed to happen all at once. Pivotal moments in my life quickly passed with the flash of an iPhone camera. Flash. I went to my senior prom. Flash. I graduated high school. Flash. I fell in love. Flash. I moved away from home. Flash. I began and ended my first semester of college. So many new things happened to me over the course of the past 365 days that it’s still hard to comprehend it all.
Now that it’s over, it feels a little bit like the world is ending. Not to sound dramatic, but for so many years, so many people have always told me how big 2016 would be for me. No one ever told me what would come next. It’s terrifying to look 2017 in the eye, not knowing exactly what is to come. In the same way, it’s extremely liberating. There is no longer a fixed finish line. From here on out, the course of my life is entirely mine. Although the thought of blindly moving forward still scares me, it’s also exciting to face the unknown. And since I practically have no choice, I’m diving headfirst into it.
So, here’s to the past year. Here's to the moments that took my breath away. Here's to the moments that I was so overwhelmed I felt like breaking down. Here's to the moments I kept going. Though it was one of the hardest years of my life, I think I'll aways look back on it fondly. It has shaped me in so many important ways, and I will always be grateful for that.
Goodbye, 2016. It’s been an absolute thrill.