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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

There are various instances in our lives where we wake up and crave an escape. “Escape” as in the type alluded to by Rupert Holmes’ in “The Pina Colada Song,” Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville,” or Eddie Money’s “Two Tickets to Paradise.” A vamoose from the mundane, a chance to leave behind all of the stress, neurosis, and baggage that cruelly lives in your mind rent-free. The inclination to dramatically throw your phone into the ocean, change your name to Catalina, and run away with that hot Italian lifeguard you briefly flirted with at the beach last summer. The desire is burning, the heart is willing, but the path is obscured– for when and where is it that we can catch such a flight to Paradiso? Well, I think I may have found it. I think the flight boarded December 31st, 2021, 11:59 p.m. and luckily enough, some of us caught it. 

Each New Year is a chance to be reborn and I’ve got a really good feeling about this one. My grandfather, Octavio Enrique (may he rest in peace) always said that 22 was his favorite number because it was reminiscent of two swans– so let’s just say that “2022” has a pretty nice ring to it. As I look over to my latest Richard Simmons calendar, while my 2021 Sean Connery calendar lays discarded, I reaffirm that it’s not every day that we are granted such a grandiose chance to really start anew. 2022 is that ticket, that glamorous invitation to rise, fresh-faced, and make the active choices of pruning the areas of our lives which are holding us back and nurturing those which strengthen us. Believe me, it’s beyond freeing. Personally, this January 1st, I let go of a lot and for the first time in months, I truly felt relaxed and at peace…but it wasn’t easy. Ridding yourself of the habits that pull you down is difficult, and even more so is drifting from certain relationships which were making you feel more empty than whole. Sometimes we have to genuinely ask ourselves the question “should auld acquaintance be forgot?” and it can feel earth-shattering when the answer is “yes.” It’s a rocky part of life, but if you feel like you would be better off if your iPhone was floating out in the Atlantic, then mentally toss it there and be done with the contacts that are just taking up space. Only when the pruning is over, can there be room for rebirth in the tiny hopeful buds of new acquaintances, opportunities, and experiences. 

On a lighter note, this time of reflection and re-evaluation of our current livelihoods is also the perfect time to reel in our loved ones a little closer to shore. To call them up and hang on the phone just a little longer or bring them into a hug that’s a little warmer. To maybe love ourselves more, embracing our favorite qualities and attributes, leaving our more unfavorable moments in the dust of last year. This year, as well as this semester, go through life with new eyes, as if you’re simply a tourist amidst your existence, no extraneous ties pulling you to the ground, no strings attached. Revel in the freedom of allowing yourself a blank slate…and when you walk into your new classes, let go of the past and be present. 

Born in the Crescent City of New Orleans, Louisiana, Amelia A. Mendes was later to live in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Manhattan, New York, San Jose, Costa Rica, and Miami Beach, Florida before relocating to Cary, North Carolina in the fall of 2014. She is of Brazilian, Chilean, and Costa Rican origin and a proud American Latina. Now a sophomore at NCSU, Amelia is a dedicated student, having ranked number 1 out of the sophomore class for the Fall 2021 semester. Her passion for the written word has led her to major in Communications, as she hopes to ultimately write for television and other entertainment media.
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