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?