A bonus feature of having a weekly newspaper column like I do is that it serves as a diary. I was never able to keep a diary for more than a few months at a time. Turns out, when money is on the line, I can hit a deadline like nobody’s business. Now I have an easy way to review all the things that happen to me in a year, because God forbid something happens to me that I don’t write about.

I really only did two major things this year: bought a house and donated a kidney. But those events require a huge number of appointments, errands and phone calls to accomplish. For me, 2022 was the year of driving around; of waiting rooms and peeing in cups; of wandering through houses for sale and maze-like clinic hallways; of hospital gowns and hardware store trips; of endless piles of paperwork and signing my name until my hand was sore (it’s a very long name!); of gray hairs and panic.

I turned 30, which is supposed to be a big milestone of age according to pop culture. The age at which you’re supposed to have something big done. I haven’t managed marriage-and-kids-and-career. But I did manage buy-a-home and donate-an-organ. One big selfish act and one big generous act. But if we’re being honest, and I think we should be, the motivation of both of those acts share a root. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do those things. I wanted to prove to myself that I could accomplish some sort of task that comes with social accolades, something that would make people look at me and think: “Yes, that’s a real adult, even though she wears hair bows to work every day.”

Property, acquired. Solitary kidney, acquired. (That last one is an actual medical diagnosis in my permanent chart.) I gave the gift of life this year, even if I didn’t personally create it. I said I would do it, and so I did.

My sister graduated from college, which is great news until the student loan bill comes due. My editor retired, which was great for him and sad for me. My grampy died, which was sad for everyone. My mom has no more parents, now. I have no more grandparents. Our family seems to be shrinking. Somebody better start having babies soon. (Not me, of course. I already used up most of my paid leave this year.)

I don’t want to jinx things by saying I’m optimistic about 2023 (I think the last two years have taught us that), but I will say that I’m ending the year on a high note. After six weeks, I finally managed to sleep through the night without waking up needing to use the bathroom. It’s one surgical side effect that my mother, being of middle age, has absolutely no sympathy for. I didn’t realize that by celebrating my 30th birthday by getting rid of one of my kidneys would catapult me straight into the territory of AARP, but life is full of surprises, I guess.


I am also ending this year with piles of Playboy magazines hidden under my bed and inside my sofa (it has storage space). It turns out that when you write about selling vintage lad mags to raise money for charity, people suddenly remember old cardboard boxes tucked away in their attic. Mainers seem to have a natural tendency toward being pack rats – the cheap Yankee tendency to refuse to throw away something that you can find a good use for. Food banks and essentials pantries are always a good use.

In addition to Rob, who started this whole endeavor, four other generous gentlemen (who wish to remain anonymous) have contacted me to ask if they could donate their various magazines to the effort. So far, Operation Buns for Buns has raised $291.90 for the Good Shepherd Food Bank and $195.56 for the St. Elizabeth’s Essentials Pantry. And orders are still being placed. I’ve got a pile of packages to ship out tomorrow. I look forward to continuing this project into 2023. And also getting back my sofa space.

I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do have a few goals. My first goal is to keep up Operation Buns for Buns. My second goal is to donate platelets more frequently. You may be thinking to yourself, “Oh, there goes that nice Maine Millennial, always giving.” Au contraire, my friends. This is about getting. You get prizes from the Red Cross for donating a certain number of platelets, and I really want the fleece vest with the logo. Despite possible implications otherwise, I am a stereotypical self-serving millennial.

Anyway, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of these things without the help of dozens of other Mainers. So I look forward to seeing what else we can do together in 2023.

Happy new year, Maine. Love, Victoria.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:
Twitter: @mainemillennial

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