Tuesday, January 4, 2011

See ya, 2010.

A whole decade* has gone by since I was in high school. Next May marks 10 years exactly since I left home, hopes and dreams in hand, and started out my life out in the world, mostly on my own (I say "mostly," because the parents did pay for and support me through college... and maybe helped for a few years after). Regardless, it's hard to believe.

I've been busy. In the past 10 years... 

+I aged from a teenager who thought I knew everything, to a "young adult" (at 28) who is just now starting to barely figure it out. Barely.

+I received two academic degrees and one high school diploma.

+I lived in 4 cities and called 10 different places home, including my parents' house, a dorm room, several apartments and houses, and a friends' parents house for a few months in between. In those homes, I lived with  roughly 13 people (give or take a few who were wandering through and such). I lived with Lizzie for almost 8 years straight with only a 6-month break when she left me to spend a season at the beach.

+I was a bridesmaid in three weddings and held witness to dozens more.

+I moved out of the state of Alabama for the first time.

+I traveled to... Costa Rica; Keystone, CO; New York; Toronto/Niagara Falls/Detroit; Charleston; Savannah; New Orleans; Baltimore; Chapel Hill; San Antonio; Asheville; Tampa; West Point; Greenville, SC; Atlanta; Orlando; Austin; Destin; Santa Barbara, CA; Knoxville; Gainesville; Tuscaloser; Blue Ridge; Fairhope... and lots of places in between.

+I gained many many new best friends from all over the country, and have still managed to keep in touch with many "older" ones from home. And also have held on to a few who I've had a steady close relationship for 20+ years now.

+I said sad goodbyes to many great aunts and  uncles, as well as two grandparents and Oscar, my 15-year-old dachshund (just a few months ago).

Oscar Larry Arieux, 1995-2010
+I changed professional jobs and career fields at least three times, though the lines have blurred along the way. I also learned to love (and endure on the days when I don't love) the worlds of working in the general public, in retail, for a public library, and as a waitress.

+I changed. A lot. The evolution of my musical preferences, clothing and decorative styles, tastes in the opposite sex, and social/political views is quite phenomenal, really.

+I became the Health Reform poster child as a middle class American who, despite having much education and smarts, could not find a full-time job with benefits, and was denied coverage for health insurance.

+I had some thrills and many almost-peed-my-pants moments. I rafted white water; survived a flood; endured a blizzard while driving  riding from Buffalo, NY, to Detroit by the way of Canada; rode numerous roller coasters; and got lost in very unsafe parts of Birmingham, New York, and New Orleans.

+I attended tons of Auburn football games as a student and many after, including traveling to Knoxville, Gainesville, and Baton Rouge for away games; Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game; and New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.

+I saw many, many concerts. From randoms playing at the Basement to my friends' bands. I saw an American Idol concert. Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney. I saw Elton John play "Tiny Dancer." I took my mom and grandma to see Celine Dion for a surprise gift (and had one hell of a good time). Plus I saw The Killers, Ryan Adams, The National, Coldplay, and Fleetwood Mac... all on my "to see before I die" list.

+I learned to work hard, pray hard, and have patience... and that my mind and body are much stronger and can endure more than I'd ever given them credit for.

+I let go and embraced my inner dork, all while finding my true calling to work in the book/information world. Bookstores, libraries, information services.

+I had a full-on love affair. Not with any person, but with a city. Nashville and I had a long-distance relationship until I finally gave in and made my move to be there full-time.

+I learned that life never works out the way you think it will. And that just when you think you have everyone else and even yourself figured out, something comes along to surprise you.

+I began to look at my parents and grandparents not as infallible, but as other adults, who were once in their 20s, who had babies and longterm careers when they were my age, and see them in a totally different light and relate to them more than ever.

+I found a best friend in my sister.

+I helped my friends (through a very measly contribution, but a contribution nonetheless) fund their first album, and got to see my name (misspelled as it was) in its album notes.

+I learned that my best friends are usually right and sometimes know me better than I know myself, and that I should try to listen to them when they feel strongly about something.

+I learned that I am not as nice or pure or reverent as I thought I was, but that the best of friends, family, and God already knew that... and still love me regardless.

+I questioned my faith. I got mad at God. Numerous times. I attended a variety of churches. And I found my way back. Not in that order.

+I had my heart broken to a point that I thought was beyond repair. And then I watched with awe as it healed. Then I began to work on erasing the scars left behind. Still working on that.

+I pierced my nose, something that in 2000, I would have laughed at the very idea of.

+I found out the meaning of "delayed adolescence" and that quarter-life crises are very real.

+I began wearing sunscreen religiously and using eye cream nightly.

+I discovered that music makes my life better, and I easily slipped into the world of obsession over certain artists, becoming one of the people I used to make fun of.

+I leased two and bought two vehicles. I totaled Rebecca's car and had two other significant car accidents. It's amazing I still have a license.

+I learned the difference between liking and loving people - that it's ok to not always like the ones you love, and that it's just not smart to love all the ones you like.

+I had my heart broken by many a friend, and I learned the power of forgiveness. Even when they don't ask for it or deserve it.

+I made my karaoke debut and never looked back.

+I discovered a love for children's and young adult literature (as well as got in touch with my inner kid) through a little guy named Harry Potter.

+I feared, resisted, tested, and then embraced new innovations like smartphones and social networking, and now have become addicted to the blogging world and Facebook and even made meaningful relationships through those mediums.

+I collected enough books to fill three bookcases and enough digital music and pictures to constitute buying a separate external hard drive for storage.

++I progressed from the age of 18 to 28, closer and closer to 30. In turn, I realized that if I've figured all of this out in the past 10 years, that surely for the next 10, I can just sit back and relax, knowing who I am, how far I've come, what I want, and what I stand for.

Cheers to 2011!

Here are a few highlights in pictures from the years (unfortunately, most are from 2003ish on... high school and early college were pre-digital camera days):

RRB and me, senior year of high school. 2001

The dorm room. 2001.

I think we were still AU students.
I've watched this little girl, Liz's niece who was born during our freshman year at Auburn, grow up. 

My first trip to the Pacific Ocean. 2005.

Many a good laugh were had from pics taken in my journalism photography class, 2003ish

Friends in Bham at KT's old apartment, 2005ish


My birthday always falls on the weekend of the Ole Miss game. This was my 26th, I think.

Two families of BFF sisters, sometime in college.

Charlsie's engagement party last month

Another birthday. 25th, maybe. 

At one of many tacky Christmas parties. 2007ish.

One of several brewfests. 2008.

Snow days. 2010. 

Redneck roots days. 2007ish.

Ice skating. 2005ish.



Halloween 2008.

First karaoke at Bourbon Street. 2006ish.


Engagement. 2008.

At Woodland Studios in Nashville (where Heartbreaker was recorded). 2010 

SEC pride (and way good friendship for Emi) cheering on the Gators for the 2006 National Championship.  (Or was it the 2008? Hmmmm...)

The night Emily and I realized how old we are. 2007.

New Year's Eve 2004/2005 in New Orleans. 

Rebecca, Sister, and me in NYC. 2005.

New  Year's Eve 2008/2009.

Rebecca's going away party. 2006ish? 

Wedding on a mountain in Greenville, SC. 2008.

DRA show. 2008.

James and Em dancing in my old room in Bham. No clue. when. 

Giving Charles Barkley a War Eagle in Innis Free (Bham). Again, not sure when.

Beach times. 2008.

More karaoke. Who knows.

ATL for SEC Championship. 2004.

Jordan-Hare Stadium. 2004. 

Another big change happened since this picture was taken.  2004.

Halloween 2004 or 2003. 

Knoxville 2004.

Roommates from the Batcave. 2005.


Downstairs after Nashville Flood of 2010

Savannah for St. Patrick's Day. 2007.

Austin for SXSW 2009

Fractured foot and The Boot. 2004.

Villager Tavern 2010

First white water rafting trip. 2007.

Night out in Bham. 2005. 

I watched many a friend play in venues all over Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas. (pic from 2009)


A sad but exciting day in 2005. 
*I realize there are arguments as to whether the decade ended at 2009 or with 2010, but for my writing's sake, we're going with 2010. Deal with it.