Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Another Year and Just a Tad Bit Crazier...

It's that time of year again. The time of year when I can walk down the baked goods aisle at Publix and not curse the existence of cake, cupcakes, brownies, cookies and an occasional crumbly crumble thing. Why? Because it's that one time of year when you get to do just that without guilt- not Christmas (because you know that Mom is watching, Jillian is judging and somehow your Grandma will find a way to compare you to your morbidly obese great-aunt Alvina); not Easter because the people at Walgreens really do keep tabs on how many packages of peeps you buy (and remember you); and not Halloween because having a grown-up knock on a door dressed as a Disney Princess does not result in candy but rather an arrest. It's my birthday and I can do whatever I want.

Before I change the title to this blog from "26 and Perhaps a Little Crazy..." to "27 and Verging on Insane" I think looking back at the past year is appropriate. We can break it into chunks. I would go month by month but that would be too complicated. Why not do this Jeopardy style and gives categories. You get no money, no clicker to press and although it's not required, you may put "what is" in front of everything I say. Have fun with that one.

So what are the categories, Alex?

(And yes, there are 7 categories for a birthday on the 7th day of the 7th month)

1) Medical Mysteries
2) Legal Dramas
3) Lisa Patton's Safe Place
4) Always a Bridesmaid...
5) Love-Hate Relationships
6) The Devil Went Down to Georgia
7) Potpourri

I'll take "Medical Mysteries" for $1 million in Rx, Alex...
In the course of a year I successfully tore the tendon in the bottom of my foot (thanks to all of those who aided in the "Kristen sucks at crutches campaign" on campus); broke my tailbone (but did NOT spill the coffee after falling down 15 stairs); had tubes put in my ears (and then re-put in my ears after being a "hero" and sandbagging 4 hours after surgery); and a couple "I spend too much time with kids so I have the funk" infections. I spent more time in an emergency room and doctor's office than most people spent in their living room but I believe in one thing: If you're going to do something, do it right. Give 110%. Why fall down only 10 steps when there are 15? Why NOT run on a foot that the doctor tells you is about to fall apart? Yeah, that's what I thought. Go big or go home kids. And then get drugs.

I'll take "Legal Dramas" for all my Renter's Insurance and half of the South Nashville Precinct Police Force, Alex...

It's no surprise that when you live in a part of the city that requires you to hit the ground at any loud noise-whether it be a firework, a car backfiring or a 9mm (you just never know) - that your apartment will get broken into. I looked at that experience as a "whatever I lost could have been lost in the flood." But that wasn't the case because I would have saved most of the personal items that they took. Asshats! Furniture can be replaced but transcripts with a WWII veteran can not be. I have whoever did that in my cross hairs and they owe me a lot more than the stuff that they took. But I also learned from a couple other instances that all of the self-defense that I learned from my father was more of a blessing than an annoying chore after dinner (how would you get out of this is someone attacked you? and then Dad proceeds to block oxygen to head). It landed one asshat in jail for 4 years for aggravated assault. It also allowed me to feel safer when I realized that just days after my apartment was broken into I was no longer safe in my home, my car, my pharmacy or even South Nashville as a whole. My privacy was violated and I had to find the strength to fight an enemy who I could not see but who saw me. It was a testament to my strength and ability to adapt to basic survival instincts (and having superhero detectives on speed dial every time I heard a branch break in my vicinity) and a huge wake-up call in allowing me to see who my friends are, what trust is and just how far I can be pushed. While this mysterious but violating man forced me to move to another portion of town and constantly look over my shoulder... I think this new life I am able to live here on the other side of town is working out just fine :) I'll be sure to thank him- after I kick him in the baby maker.

I'll take "Lisa Patton's Safe Place" for all my sanity and a Xanex, Alex-

Mother Nature showed absolutely no mercy to this country during any season this past year. Tornado after tornado. Flooding after flooding. Storm after storm after storm. April 27th brought the Southeast to their knees. I know it did mine. I know that I completed the milestone of the one year anniversary of the Great Nashville Flood. I know that every time I heard Lisa's voice I got a little bit stronger. I learned that I have the strength to help those in Tuscaloosa, Joplin and the other little, small towns throughout the storm's path. Mother Nature stepped in, knocked us down and kicked us around. But I'm still breathing and that's all it takes for me to get up off my knees and fight back. While 26 years old I witnessed more weather disasters (after the flood) then I ever wanted to experience but I'm ok... and that is a HUGE realization to have. And I still hate Lisa Patton and would like to lock her in her "safe place" for years to come.

I'll take "Always a Bridesmaid" for a 5th of Jack and a Groomsman please, Alex.

A Brunette ties the knot in October. My baby brother walks down the aisle in May. And in both weddings I stood at the alter, on stage left and wept. Not because I thought they were doing the wrong thing or making the wrong move- but because they have found the happiness and love that I know I will find one day- (I also cried because my brother's wedding reception was "dry"). And hopefully, my mother will have no meddling in that process. As a habitual bridesmaid I have entered the "slow lane" to marriage but I am not above being in the carpool lane. It's just a matter of time and when the words "so when do you think you will get married" doesn't require medics to zap me back to consciousness, I will be happy to harbor the thought. Until then, I will hold onto the dream of marriage one day and be extremely happy for those closest to me who have found "that someone." And I will enjoy the Jack, the groomsmen, and of course, the cake. (What else are weddings for?)

I'll take "Love-Hate Relationships" for a broken treadmill, a container of frosting and another Xanex please, Alex.

I love sugar. I hate the treadmill. I love sunny days. I hate any spot of green on the radar. I love Jack Daniels. I hate a hangover. I love the snipers that got Osama. I hate the people who said we shouldn't celebrate over it. I love chocolate. I hate a dozen roses. I love to fish. I hate seafood. I'm a complex person but I learned (while being 26) that sometimes these love-hate relationships are good to have. They build "character," the provide great facebook statuses, they result in your calves losing 5" in circumference (my legs went from sequoia trees to maples!) and it proves to yourself just what is and isn't important. While I hate the treadmill and the pain she puts me though, I am grateful for the 60 pounds that are currently somewhere in that gym. And while I hate Jillian, I love her for the fear she puts in every fiber of my being. It all evens out in the end. But I still hate Lisa Patton. Sorry.

I'll take "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" for free Opry Tickets, Trace Adkins' Hillbilly Bone and Jason's Wranglers, Alex.

So the Devil went down to Tennessee and I made a deal with him. I told him that I couldn't play the fiddle (and my mandolin had been stolen in a break-in) and if I gave him my soul he would give me an amazing experience within country music. In turn I was paid with an internship at the Grand Ole Opry that is a dream come true; an opportunity to work for one of the biggest country music stars today- and become so close to the family in the wake of a horrifying and devastating fire. I was granted the opportunity to do work that I never thought I would be able to do and to experience Nashville in ways that I never thought I could. It was a long ride through political campaigns and lobbying (the mean Kristen days where she always wore her angry eyes) but I finally found what I am supposed to be: a Historian. And I learned that when I was 26. I know what I want to be when I grow up now and between the Opry and Trace Adkins, I am being given the chance to do just that. I don't remember making this apparent deal, but I am so thankful that I did. What an amazing experience. (Oh, and I got to meet Jason. Yeah, about that. And those Wranglers.)

Lastly, I'll take "Potpourri" for a true daily double, Alex.

On July 7, 2010, I could never have dreamed up the year that I would have as a 26 year old. I have been blessed. I have been challenged. I have laughed. And if you have been near me at a wedding, a storm, or an episode of the Biggest Loser, I have cried. I have gained a family member. I have lost family members. I've been told things are impossible and I have surpassed them. I have come to trust my instinct. I know that it's ok to put your heart out there in hopes for love and get hurt. I learned that my whole life I have been waiting to live in Nashville and I am seeing those dreams come true. I learned the importance of friends. I have learned the importance of a shotgun. I have learned that I watch way too many music videos. I have learned that my mouth gets me in trouble but sometimes it brings me good fortune. I have met new people that bring big smiles to my face. I have said goodbye to friends who were nothing more than a negative addition to my life. I have learned how much my family means to me. I've learned that it's ok to try to fall in love again. I've learned that the Yankees are not going to win every post season game. I've learned that storms are inevitable and my strength is unwavering. I've been pushed to the limit and bent to meet the resistance. And I learned that I was born to fly. I thought I was when I was a teenager... but I learned at 26 that there is no "bottom line"- there is just a line at the bottom that you have to work to rise above.

In the final jeopardy question of "what does being 27 years old hold in store for you" I answer this: "What is I don't know but I am so very excited and ready to find out. And there better be some damn sugar involved!"