College grad –> adult?

April 30, 2010 § 3 Comments

It’s a funny thing, being 23. Today at lunch my coworkers were describing the “20’s” as the volatile period of your life, and I can’t help but agree. Your twenties are the years during which you are constantly making decisions and shifting your plans as you evaluate and reevaluate the direction of your life. You are finishing college and (hopefully) starting your first “real” job, which requires lower levels of accountability than were needed to write your Senior Thesis, but solicits strong bonds of dependence since it is with this job that you will pay for rent, insurance, a car, cell phone bills, the internet, repairs, and maybe save enough to buy a $3.00 cup of coffee from Starbucks twice a month. At the same time, you have no idea what you’re doing with your life, there’s a 90% chance that what you currently spend your day laboring at has nothing to do with your college major, you are likely still in debt from said (seemingly) impractical college degree, and at best, you’re living just above the poverty line. You are grateful to be able to purchase simple groceries and “two-buck chuck” to wine-and-dine yourself as you manage your small apartment and apply to graduate schools or research your “dream job” on the poor old laptop that lasted your three-hundred trips hauling it to and from the library but is not going to last much longer.

(Here ends a fairly realistic account of the sad state of life the average humanities major encounters post-graduation).

This is not to say that your twenties are without their perks. There is certainly less responsibility as you likely do not have children (or at least do not have teenagers), have less to file for in taxes, do not have mortgage payments, and hopefully have your health. It is fantastic to be able to take advantage of your spare time and energy to be with friends, go exploring, discover new likes and read new books (especially with your college-conditioned reading skills). In fact, having lesser responsibility and fewer years of 9-5 work wearing down on us, we might just see each day and weekend as an opportunity for adventure (again, save the financial constraints).

It isn’t time to settle down yet. I asked Alex the other day how many years from now he would like to have started his career, and he said “six.” That puts him at 29. That gives him (and me), six years to re-evaluate what we want to do with our lives, to research grad schools, apply, get-in, work; to research our dream jobs and apply to the entry level positions of those industries. Six years to learn about taxes and IRA accounts, to learn about politics and the corporate ladder. Also, six more years to live adventurously, to explore local areas with our free(er) weekends, to sleep in on Saturdays, to have our friends over on weeknights just to watch TV shows together, and work 9-5 rather than 9-7 or 9-8. It’s not that we expect or intend to have everything figured out by then, it is just that this feels like the time for a large dose of both learning and adventure.

So here we are. 23. Not yet adults, definitely no longer teenagers. Six more years ’til we are just about 30. Then does real life begin?


The (injured) cook and her (disproportionate) kitchen

April 21, 2010 § 5 Comments

This week I am learning to live life from a different angle.  My sad, damaged plantar fascias are having trouble healing,  so I have been told by the doctor to help the process by using them as minimally as possible.

This means I now must try to live my life from the seated position.  Working as a secretary makes the workday fairly stationary – I am taking advantage of the term “desk job.”  Sleeping happens to also be a predominately sedentary activity, save those prone to sleep-walking, which, fortunately I am not. Unfortunately, the third thing I give my life to (aside from working and sleeping), does not easily oblige itself to restful positions  — meal preparation.

In the kitchen countertops are built for someone to use while standing, making  them about 1.5 feet too high.  This means that as I try to do the dirty dishes from a seated position, I am knocking other items  into the sink (so far, nothing has been broken).  When I try to cut baked chicken off the bone my arms become achy and my progress is slow.  Maybe I could kneel, but there is only so much pressure that knee joints will take before they too join the force of dysfunctional body parts.

So I sit in my chair in the kitchen and manuever my body every which way to reach what I need.  At least in a small kitchen I can reach the stove, 90% of our cabinets, our fridge and our sink without moving the lower half of my body, or the chair.

Nonetheless (despite the mostly easy-reaches of our little kitchen), I can no longer cook alone.  I cannot reach the spices, I cannot move quickly, I cannot run and leap to hit the smoke alarm when the eggs start burning.  It is now a team effort — Alex is learning to cook.  While he struggles to get over his fear of raw meat, I am doing my part by taking over dish-duty, a task I can attend to comfortably (no matter how many innocent bystanders I knock into the sink).

Ten things I learned from my friends

April 8, 2010 § 2 Comments

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1.  The friends who suffer through massive amounts of studying, reading and writing together, stay together.

2.  Tea is the most soothing late night studying accompaniment.

3.  Follow the trends when everyone else is excited about them too.  Otherwise you will be alone in your excitement.

*This is especially true when it comes to television series.

4.  When you are with a friend and bored by your usual activities, it is perfectly acceptable to dress up as pregnant women and go to Starbucks.  It is also perfectly acceptable to run to your car in embarrassment after having happened into the Senior boy you fancied. (He would not have been fooled by the pillow stuffed under my dress. However, since he didn’t know my name, I doubt he recognized me.  Still, what are the chances?)

5.  Decorate your locker.  Decorate your dorm room.  Decorate your desk at work.

6.  Laugh, and do not stop laughing, at the boys who stalk you on facebook.  Cry when the boys you like don’t like you back.  Be sad when the boy you love is living 4,000+ miles and an ocean apart from you.  Also, eat cookies.  They are perfect to console (If you really need a sugar kick, dip Girl Scout cookies in sprinkle chip frosting.  This may be slightly disgusting, but it is also kind of delicious. Or was).

7.  How to listen.

8.  How to cheer each other on.

9.  How to make Peanut Butter popcorn (This one deserves to be separated from the list below.  Trust me).

10.  How to sew, knit, quilt, play Nintendo, take pictures, do the Lindy hop, enjoy poetry, make Sun tea, wear dresses, paint my nails,  jump rope, drink diet coke, stay up later than I should (on rare occasions), talk on the phone (a skill I’ve lost since Junior High), conquer 6 mile runs with big hills in hot hot weather, chew excessive amounts of gum, and laugh at life.

Ten things I learned from my siblings

April 6, 2010 § 1 Comment

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(I’m sorry for portraying us as ducklings.  It was the only image I could come up with.  Also, I like the little yellow duckling, trying to keep up with his elders).

1.   Don’t count walking as an option when you’re on a run.  You can slow your pace, but you can’t walk.

2.  Don’t be too rowdy on a trampoline.  You could break your leg.

3.  Don’t borrow people’s clothes without asking.

4.  Don’t chew your food too loudly.

5.  Using spreadsheets to plan out your spring wardrobe is helpful.  Using spreadsheets to plan out the gourmet dinner you are hosting is also helpful.

6.  When you’re a kid, building forts and playing in dirt are worthy playtime activities.  When you’re a teenager, move on to prank wars and TPing your friends’ houses.

7.  Grab adventure whenever there is an opportunity for it. (This is why my name is Jane).

8.  It is more fun to watch your brother play video games then to play them yourself. It is more fun to wear your sister’s clothing then your own.

9. Morning drives are a good time for silence, unless you are taking finals at school that day – in which case you should listen to Beethoven.

10. The tooth fairy deserves to be reprimanded (or discovered)(or given a hug) when she fails to do her duty.

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