Skip links

What a Decade It’s Been

hourglass sand rocks

Ten. Years.

The morning radio show I listen to has been featuring a few of the typical lists every episode about the last decade including “Best TV Shows,” “Top Artists” and “Memorable Moments.” Not going to lie, I’ve identified with very few.

I identify as a “21st century goth” meaning a modern yet reserved traditional goth kid. Yes, I wear all black and my purse is a spellbook but I also like experimenting with colorful makeup because I’m obsessed with making my eyes look more piercing.

That being said, I’m sure you can assume I don’t listen to Beyonce or Taylor Swift, don’t know a thing about whatever happened at that one football game and I barely watch TV.

I thought it would be nice to go over my highlights and lessons from the past 10 years.

Becoming Auntie Em

My nephew was born in 2011, just a few days before I turned 18. When it came time for his mom to start pushing we left the room but were stuck in the hallway due to the early morning hours and not being able to get through the door to the waiting room. We wondered back toward the hospital room (where else could we go and not get accused of trying to creep on newborns?) and waited in the hallway. I got to hear my nephew’s first cry and I’ll never forget that moment. He’s since grown to be a bookworm (Yes!) who loves to tell jokes and is the smartest kid you’ll ever meet.

Starting college

I started at Wayne State University in fall 2011 and it was a culture shock. I was a kid from the burbs who used to drive a maximum of a half mile to school to suddenly fighting with morning rush hour all the way into Midtown, Detroit. Let’s say I quickly learned defensive driving.

I also had to learn what chaos was. I was working full-time, studying full-time and sleeping via naptime. It was a lot but ultimately I learned a lot from fellow students and their experiences just as much as I learned from my textbooks.


One of my degrees is in journalism. Given the current state of our world, I’m sure there are some who would be wary of me finding out I’m part of the media. Let’s go back a few years to before the 2016 election when the hot topic in my journalism classes was beheading. It seemed we talked about many journalists getting beheaded over the course of a year and I remember one instructor taking a beat and saying, “How does that make you guys feel about your career choice?” Honestly, it didn’t feel good knowing I was at risk in any way just because I was trying to cover a story. Jump ahead a few years to our “fake news” era and the dangerous implications that come with it. I won’t go into politics here, but if you want a good take on how journalists do their jobs and why some things don’t get reported, I highly recommend the Catch and Kill podcast or book.


Stepping back, I grew up pretty sheltered. I’m from a small town that is predominantly causcasian and upper-lower, lower-middle class. There weren’t many LGBTQ+ individuals out in my town and many of the adults had grown up together. Going to college and exposing myself to other cultures, ethnicities, economic statuses really opened my eyes to the problems of privilege and oppression. In the news, many now infamous deaths had occurred and serious discussions on race were circulating all while I was confronting my own ignorance on the experiences of others. Not everyone had the cozy life I did and not everyone could enjoy the same ease as I could. 

Also, I remember pouring a massive glass of wine when same-sex marriage was passed.

equality sign flag


I interned at a magazine an hour away from my house. It was my first experience working in a “professional” environment and I found out I work better in an office setting. Just after my internship ended, I started working part-time on a copy desk as a paginator. I was happy to find an entry-level desk job because for me it’s more productive and I get the camaraderie of my coworkers. We laugh, mostly at the expense of ourselves, and I have a reason to bake.

Graduating college

College was a battle. I finished seven-and-a-half years after I started with two separate degrees and adjusting to life post-grad is still weird. I found out the hard way that I was so used to chaos that when given the opportunity to sleep more instead of speed read a novel and write an analysis, I couldn’t sleep. My body may have been exhausted but my mind was racing, thinking it had more to do, because I had trained it to think so. I’ve had to start working on training myself to relax and focus on reading for fun rather than academic necessity. 


In college, I primarily worked in isolation because I hated group projects. I like to apply myself and in group work I was always the person carrying the team so I would rather just do it myself. Starting to work in an office helped curve this habit. Working on the blog team has helped me master it. 

imagine mosaic


Yes, the world can seem like an ugly place but there’s still those fighting to make it better. I’ve learned we’ll never get to John Lennon’s “Imagine” status but we can work on getting to a place calm. I retain the hope that one day we’ll live in a world of tolerance over hypocrisy and love over ignorance.

So what about you? What were your top moments from the last decade?

Share them with our blog via or in the Best Friends community on Facebook (and let us know if it’s okay to include them with or without your name in a collective post this January).

Emily Ridener

A few words about me

There are quite a few mottos I like to sling around including but not limited to, “Life is short, eat the cupcake,” “What would Wednesday do?” and perhaps most importantly, “What’s so great about normal?” I don’t approve of people who put others down because society has taught us they are “less” and I choose to use my words to share truth, do no harm, and combat ignorance.