Next week marks my 5-year anniversary of living in New Orleans, and I can't believe it. And now I have that David Bowie song in my head (“Five Years”), while thinking of all the ch-ch-ch-changes (sorry, I went there … rock gods strike me down) that have taken place in my life and around me.
I must admit, it's flown by. But in another way, it feels like I've been here all my life, like this is truly home.
But even though it feels like things have always been the way they are now, they're truly not. My life is so so different than the one I came down here with. The only thing that has stayed the same is change itself, it's always flowing around me, and I've come to accept it. It's never going to go away, so I've learned to at least try to make friends with it. After all, every time I've embraced change instead of railing against it, my life has ended up the better for it.
While in college, my marketing professor said that whenever he turned an age with a "0" or a "5" in the number, he'd look at his bookshelf and wonder where that novel was he was supposed to have written. Ever since hearing that, I've kind of done the same thing, and now I find myself thinking about my 5 years in New Orleans. Have I done a decent job? Am I doing everything I want to be doing? Of course, there's so many more things I want to do here, but I think I've done a pretty decent job so far.
And there have been lots of changes, that's for sure; here's a few. Some are much more serious than others. And some are not serious at all, because if you've read my blog, you'll know that I'm only serious about half of the time. Seriously.
1. My neighborhood. Bywater has changed quite a bit from when I moved here. There used to be crack zombies that hung out on the corner by my house, and now it's pretty much "hipster Haight-Asbury". I can't say which incarnation I prefer, quite honestly.
2. My friends. When I first moved to New Orleans, for some reason, I met several people from Ohio to watch Buckeye games with. I also became great friends with a few other transplants. They've all moved away, sadly. Only one remains. One! People ask me all the time if I ever plan on going back to Ohio, and I have to tell them "hell no". I love it here. And also, I quite literally married New Orleans  Which brings me to …
3. My husband. I married a southern boy. When I moved down here, I was very much a single lady and met my future-husband within a few weeks. He impressed me with his manners and knowledge of pop culture. The rest is history.
4. Step-kids. With the husband came two step-kids, and this has probably been one of the most challenging things I've ever experienced in my life. It has certainly made me appreciate my own parents, as well as form quite a bit of respect for other parents as well – and especially step-parents. We're kind of like life's equivalent of the British and how they always play the bad guy in movies. But the whole experience has taught me about what's important. I don't sweat the small stuff like I used to, that's for sure.
5. Football. I grew up in a college town, so I was always a Buckeye fan and didn't care too much about the NFL. The year I moved to New Orleans, the Saints went to the Super Bowl. The whole experience of going to watch all the games, especially during their winning streak, was absolutely wonderful and crazy and awesome. I am now a serious Saints fan. I doubt I'll ever care much for LSU, but am now a proud member of the Who Dat Nation.
6. Bounce. I've kind of been addicted to bounce music lately. I listen to it at work. It seriously makes my day. I love it.
7. Basketball. I now love … oh, hell who am I kidding. I still don't really care about basketball. Sorry, Pelicans.
8. Career. I started out as a straight-up graphic designer, and it's what I did day in and day out. Now I'm still a designer, but I also write, and I also cook – and I'm infinitely happier. Another thing, is that when I was living in Ohio, a lot of the time, I'd dread going into work in the morning. I'd live for Fridays and hate Sundays because that meant I had to go back to the grind the next day. I can honestly say that I've rarely felt that in New Orleans. Work has always been a pleasure.
9. Hippie-dom. For the first time since I was 16, I don't have a car. My husband has a car, and he takes it to work with him for 2 weeks at a time, so I'm pretty much on my own a lot. It's strangely liberating. Most of what I need is within biking distance, and it's cancelled out morning commutes and road rage. I can't say I miss it too much.
10. Support-system. When I moved to New Orleans, I only knew one person. Soon after that, I knew a few more people, and then met some pretty amazing people at work. Five years later, and I feel like I have friends all over the city, even though so many have moved away. Folks really are so welcoming here, the Louisiana natives and the transplants, because everyone embraces the unique spirit of the city. You have to, or you won't last long.
I'm being quite honest when I say that I never want to leave. I mean, I want to go on trips, of course, and maybe even extended ones, but I always want to come back to New Orleans. It's home. Here's to 5 more years … and 10, 15, 20, you get the picture.