Last weekend I was riding shotgun in my dear friend's Xterra with the windows rolled down and a warm southern breeze floating through the window, and as we cruised down one of New Olreans' numerous highways I saw a billboard that advertised Ginger Ale--the hook? Man, it's Good to be You. I couldn't agree more. If life is like a box of chocolates, somebody picked me the most perfect truffle ever made.

Sometimes I look at the people around me and I can only pity them because they'll never know what it's like to be me. I've heard that line used before with negative connotations--thrown out in dramatic defiance, usually in situations where things are getting desperate, but this is not my case. I'm living the dream. And don't think me conceited because I'm grateful that I was born intelligent and into a family that loves and supports me, or that I had the opportunity to go to any school I could get into without worrying about money, and I chose one that has great weather and an excellent guaranteed hurricane evacuation plan, or that I had at least moderately good sense instilled in me by years of exemplary parenting, or that I was born strong and healthy and have managed to stay that way (except for my throat issues, a weakness that has proved difficult to overcome--also, my feet are at times problematic).

I know that my lifestyle is the result of years of hard work put in way before I was even thought of, and that I have my grandparents and my parents to thank for every minute that I get to spend walking underneath hundred year old oak trees, or laying out on the banks of the Mississippi river on a Friday afternoon. It's because of my predecessors that I get to spend Saturdays driving down the highway with my friends, smiling at billboards that say it all. Even the seconds I watch tick by in class are because of excellent foresight.

I mean I will take some of the credit. I worked hard in high school to get into college, I had to muster up all the courage I had to then go to a school 3,000 miles away, and then I had to make all these friends, so it's great, but it isn't all a cakewalk. Will I still be loving life after my second midterm and 3rd paper this week? I would like to say undoubtedly, but it will probably depend on how much caffeine I've had.

I hope that someday my own little hellraisers (which I have no doubt my children will be, karma is coming for me) will owe me and my parents as much as I owe my parents and grandparents. We'll see how well the Lauren Turns 20 program goes--also, hopefully my fantastic instinct for the stock market sticks around. That seems to be something I have cultivated myself--I told them to sell high, but they just wouldn't listen. Their huge loss.

xoxo, Lauren