Those of us who lived through a New Kids on the Block/Spice Girl/Take That breakup were not that fussed by Zayn leaving 1D. After a certain age, you know not to put all your faith in a group because someone (ahem, Geri!) will break your heart. As Lainey said at the time, it’s not a matter of if, but WHEN.

By leaving first, Zayn will always hold a place in pop culture memory. I don’t know if that was his goal, but I don’t think he dislikes being the first guy to break free. According to his goodbye statement, he wanted privacy and a chance to live a normal life.

Within days, he was spotted in the studio. He was sitting front row at fashion week. He started fighting with other famous people on Twitter – a lot. #zayn #hasnochill became a thing. First he got into it with his former band mate Louis. Then he ended his engagement to Perrie, and RT’d support for another girl group. He even went after Naughty Boy, the producer he was defending from Louis.

I took notice when he casually side-eyed the most dominant pop star of 2015: Taylor Swift. Her boyfriend Calvin tried to jump in and defend her and got bitchslapped. One of the biggest producers in the world got his ass handed to him by a former boy bander. On Twitter. Click here for a refresher.

Between all the drama (or, because all of the drama), his selfie was chosen for one of Interview Magazine’s 8 covers. Zayn, completely unproven as a solo artist, gets the same treatment as JLo, Miley, Selena Gomez, and Madonna. To steal a phrase from Lainey, how did he do that?!

It’s been delightful. And we didn’t even know the best was yet to come.

Zayn and Gigi Hadid!!!! In and out of clubs, holding hands, being ridiculously gorgeous together. It was on. It is on? I for one am waiting and watching, hoping for more.

To recap, Zayn: Quit the biggest boy band since the Backstreet Boys/NYNC era.  Became a fashion darling for real houses like Valentino. Publicly feuded with a former band mate and two producers. Ended a high-profile relationship with his fiancé. Is now possibly in a torrid romance with Gigi, the hottest model in the game.

Zayn has provided us with excellent dish in 2015. And he’s only 22. He has an album coming out in 2016. He’s just getting started.