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[caption=Green Day at the Reading Festival in 2001]061712_gdreadingfest.jpg[/caption]It happens every June, no matter how hard I try to avoid it. Inevitably my birthday rolls around and I begrudgingly turn another year older. And instead of celebrating that I somehow managed to survive another year (I may be a bit clumsy), I take a more pessimistic approach and reflect on my fleeting youth.

As I took my annual stroll down memory lane I realized something. This year is not a milestone birthday, but it is an anniversary of sorts. Ten years ago on my birthday I went to my first Green Day concert. It occurred to me how incredibly rare it is to carry an interest, especially in a band, all the way from your teen years through to adulthood. For over a decade now Green Day has been the soundtrack to my life. Of course there have been songs by other artists that have influenced me, by Green Day have by far played the biggest role in my life.

So in the spirit of reflection, here are the Green Day songs that have defined the last ten years of my life.

"At The Library" - Who hasn't fallen head of heels for someone who barley knows they exist? The bulk of my teen years were spent in the throes of unrequited love. I was an incredibly shy kid. Talking to anyone was an effort, talking to a boy I liked took considerably more effort, and usually I came off a bit weird. With the exception of one disastrous prom date, I didn't date in high school. I spent many an afternoon wondering what was wrong with me and why the boy I was sure I was meant to be with, barley acknowledged my existence. And through it all there was a song that shared in my misery. "At the Library" might as well be an anthem for anyone who has loved someone only to be rejected, or unnoticed. It's heartache, loneliness and longing crammed into 2 ½ minutes. And hearing it come from guys who are now the objects of desire for thousands, gives you a bit of hope that maybe someday, you
will be noticed too.

"Holiday" - When I arrived at college I was an extremely liberal, anti- Bush, anti-war, girl from a small, conservative and mostly Republican town. I had never been shy about my opinions but I had been cautious about when and where I voiced them. Suddenly I found myself in a place where virtually anything goes. I was surrounded by people who shared my opinions and who voiced them loudly. I quickly joined in. The same year Green Day released American Idiot and on it was a song that was angry, politically charged and brutally honest. Releasing Holiday was a brave and bold decision. Although tensions were high and opposition to the war and the administration was growing speaking out was a risky move. Green Day didn't care. They spoke their truth and they urged us all to "dream and differ" and in doing so they created a rallying cry that very much became a big part of my early college years.

"Wake Me Up When September Ends" - My early twenties were marked by an incredible amount of loss in a very short period. Those losses very much influenced every choice I made, for better or worse. As much as I'd like to look back at that period in my life and remember it with a happier song, that's not how things played out. I don't dwell on the loss but remember it because it made me who I am today. WMUWSE reminds me of my losses and in a strange way it also reminds me of what I still have. It is a heartbreaking song that reflects a period in my life. Fotunatley it does not reflect my entire life.

"Waiting" - Here I am. In my mid-twenties and for the first time I actually feel like an adult. Well some days, I feel like an adult. And in a lot of ways I feel like I'm waiting for something, anything to happen. I have spent a lot of years feeling like I was doing the wrong thing, making the wrong choices. Always feeling like my life should be bigger than it was. But in the last year I've come to realize a few things about myself and my life and I've made a lot of changes that have taken my life in a very different direction. And now I'm waiting to see what happens next. Waiting to see if this time I made the right choices. And I'm okay with waiting, because I know that I'm "destined for anything at all."

Through good and bad music has always been there, a constant companion. My first decade with Green Day has been a slightly chaotic but excellent one. I look forward to the next ten and the amazing songs that will undoubtedly accompany them!

By: Lori Champion
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