The past year has been, without a doubt, one of the hardest years of my life. But at the same time, one of the best. I've laughed until my stomach hurt, cried until my eyes stung, and smiled from ear to ear. I've had broken hearts, captured snapshots, inside jokes, bear hugs, and new situations. I've had painful goodbyes and joyous hellos. I've screamed lyrics from deep within my lungs while frolicking at a concert. I've spent hours and hours learning from role models and artists and tutors. I've taken over 3,000 photographs. I've made snow angels with my best friend. I've debated passionate politics from a wooden podium and seen myself reach new heights. I've gazed with wonder at the paintings of le Louvre. I've walked the streets of Paris. I've lived. Fifteen.
Today, as these last remaining ten minutes pass me by, and the clock strikes midnight, I will be sixteen. Symbolically, I will become a young woman. I have so many years ahead of me, with such great opportunities that I am forever grateful for. I want this year to be the best of my life thus far.
Tonight, I'll write my aspirations and desires for sixteen. Tomorrow, I won't be just a girl anymore. I'll be a woman. And tomorrow night, I will dance my heart out at my sweet 16, linking arms with my dearest friends and tossing my head back in laughter, joy.