Blog-tember Day 3 prompt: “When I grow up I want to be….” Feel free to answer as your 5-year-old self or as of now. This is a pretty generous guessing game, but what follows is the basic gist of me answering that question, mostly in relation to my career, as best as I can remember, in each year of my life. Enjoy.
- 5 – 8 years old: An artist
- 9 – 13 years old: A dancer
- 14 years old: The first female Pope
- 15 years old: Mmm I don’t know, but Rachel from Friends seems like she has it all figured out. So maybe her?
- 16 years old: A Journalist, like Angelina Jolie’s character in Life or Something Like It
- 17 years old: Broadcast Journalist who choreographs Show Choirs on the side
- 18 years old: Show Choir choreographer who dabbles in Journalism on the side
- 18.5 years old: When I grow up, I wanna be famous, I wanna be a star, I wanna be in movies
- 19 years old: Something to do with Business, I guess?
- 20 years old: Something to do with Business that’s creative. But not Sales. Definitely not Sales.
- 21 years old: Do I have any other options than Retail? Okay, so Retail.
- 22 years old: Anything but Retail.
- 23 years old: Someone who can wear jeans to work.
- 24 years old: A Writer/Lawyer/Journalist/Marketing Prodigy/Sales Guru/Television Enthusiast/Photographer/Cat-mom/Professional Sleeping Person
- 25 years old: Happy. Challenged professionally and satisfied personally — but mostly, I think I just want to enjoy the ride.
And on the note of growing up and careers, here’s one of my favorite Nora Ephron quotes, from her 1996 commencement speech at Wellesley College. This about sums up where my head’s at right now.
“This is the season when a clutch of successful women — who have it all — give speeches to women like you and say, to be perfectly honest, you can’t have it all. Maybe young women don’t wonder whether they can have it all any longer, but in case of you are wondering, of course you can have it all. What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind. I know: I’ve had four careers and three husbands.”
I think when I grow up, I want to continue embracing the mess. Cheers to that!
…And just to finish the last part of that Grey’s Anatomy quote from 2005, “And how do we make it stop?” Although my feelings at the moment are less in the interest of making it stop and quite a bit more curious on just when and where it began?
Due to a slight emotional breakdown (not adulty behavior, I know) my parents recently made an impromptu trip into the city for a long weekend; bless their hearts. I called my mom on a Monday afternoon, and she and my dad were in the city early Thursday evening. The last time they visited, it was literally a nightmare. It rained the ENTIRE time they visited, I was running around midtown like a psychotic tourist fool and all they wanted to do was relax with their daughter. Needless to say, that weekend didn’t end on the best of terms, and this time around not only did I not have time to plan ANYTHING, but also they were staying IN MY LIVING ROOM. A recipe for disaster, I thought.
BUT GUESS WHAT? It was fantastic! Hands down not only the greatest weekend I could have imagined with my parents, but also one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long, long time. It was so refreshing to just mosey about the city, not have to constantly be on some rampant schedule that I’ve meticulously worked out, and just fully enjoy my parents’ company. To say I had a wonderful weekend is putting it lightly.
Even though I knew I would be seeing them in a short two months, saying goodbye was still hard. It was after that tearfest that I got to thinking, “Hmm, only a matured grown ass woman cries when leaving her parents for an undermined amount of time.” And even though that’s actually more like what babies and small children do, the point was that I actually enjoyed their visit. Hanging out with them felt exactly like hanging out with them, and not like trying to entertain them and shield them from the big-city things I wouldn’t want my care-takers to see. After dissecting the situation a bit more, I came to the realization that this is one of the first times (aside of paying bills and watching my metabolism dissolve before my eyes) I truly felt like an adult. Here are some other signs you’re growing up I’ve since come up with:
- When politics suddenly get really exciting. True that 2012 being an election year and me being a huge SNL fan also feeds into this, but outside of exciting, you start to realize politics are also very relevant.
- The aforementioned getting along with your parents.
- A 401k. You have one now.
- The endgame of any time you consume a drink does not consist of blacking out and making terrible life decisions. *It does on occasion, but just not every time.
- Reading the newspaper everyday. And not just the horoscope section.
- Putting money in the tip jar. I don’t know, maybe this consists of being a good human, but I’ve started to do this a lot lately and it does feel good. Plus karma and stuff.
- Starting to seriously considering adopting a dog, because even though you will always be a cat person, your maternal instinct is kicking in and you don’t have the money for a baby.
- Sending out more mail than you receive. (Bills, bills, bills)
- Reading the washing instructions before you buy clothing.
- You know how to fax shit. And you fax shit like a mofo.
- Buying beers in bottles.
- Voluntarily volunteering.
- When you realize the TV shows you watch have shifted from Jersey Shore and Gossip Girl to Up All Night and Parenthood.
- Choosing to buy tampons over candy as your drugstore purchase two weeks before your lady time because you need to get cash back and the ATM is 4 blocks farther away.
Anything I missed? When was the first time you actually felt like a grown-ass adult?
If you actually talk to me on a regular basis in real life (as opposed to internet life), then we’ve most likely had the “the year after college is the craziest year everrr” conversation. If not, then let me tell you–the first year after you graduate college really is a pivotal year in your life. You’re going to find out a lot about who you are and what you want out of life. Many people move back in with their parents and realize they are comfortable with the life they have lead in their respective hometown and plan to stay there for a while. Others get married and begin to share a life with someone else. Some people move as far away from home as they possibly can, and begin to really explore being independent. Many people will realize they hate what they went to school for and want to pursue another degree in something different. For others, their life will become their job. For some, their relationship will become their life. There are many things I’m leaving out, but you get the point–you begin to really explore who you are outside of the planned comfort of what was to be your life up until this age. The rest is what you make it.
I’ve compiled a list (can you tell I like making lists?) of 20 things I think every 20-something should do during this decade of life (IMO). I think it’s actually really good, so you should probably do them all.
- Learn how to live by yourself. Learn how to run a dishwasher, change the oil in your car, and assemble a bed frame from Ikea. You don’t actually have to live by yourself to do this, but there’s a good chance that sometime in the next 70 years of your life you will in fact be living by yourself, and I think it’s more socially acceptable to accidentally add bleach to your red load at 23 than at 83.
- Move somewhere that you haven’t lived yet. This could be drastic or not. You could move to a different city or country–or you could move out from your parents’ basement. You learn a lot about yourself by getting out of your comfort zone.
- Learn how to change a spare tire. That is, if you live somewhere you drive a car. If not, learn how to shoot a gun. If not that either, I don’t know, learn how to change a diaper. Basically, just learn how to do something that will feed your confidence and make you feel a little more self-sufficient.
- Stay awake all night & watch the sunrise. Self-explanatory, no?
- Learn how to be financially independent. Because there is no greater feeling in the world than being able to support yourself.
- Know how to stick to a budget. Create a monthly budget and stick to it. Know where your money is going, and if there are any things you can cut out of your day-to-day life (so you can start saving).
- Start saving, if you can. This is apparently important down the road. If you have the resources, open that 401k now. It’s an investment in your future (so I’m told).
- Make peace with old feuds from your past. It can be done verbally, or just in your own mind. Moving on comes with maturity, and now is the time to forgive and forget the things that typically don’t matter anymore in your present life.
- Appreciate your family. This is imperative. Look back on all of the times your parents were right–it was all the time. No one has as much of a vested interest in you as your parents (usually), so listen to their advice. They raised you, so they know how to do at least one thing right (usually).
- Be in a real relationship. Introduce someone to your parents. Sleep over at his or her house/apartment for days on end. Pick fights about money and have amazing makeup sex. Learn the feeling of committing yourself to one person, and maybe the feeling of getting your heart broken–or breaking someone else’s.
- Go on lots of dates. Go on all of those really fun, exciting dates that no one would be caught dead on after they’re 30.
- Have a lot of sex. Buy a position-a-day calendar and actually do it. Have hate sex, breakup sex, ‘I love you’ sex, ‘thanks for buying me chocolate ice cream’ sex, drunken sex, morning sex, phone sex, reunion sex, maybe even some bad sex. Have one partner or many (just use protection!). Also (yes, I’m going to say it), have an orgasm. I’m talking to you, ladies. ‘Nuff said.
- Think about settling down. You don’t have to do it! But think about it. Think about the characteristics you want in a partner. Write them down and settle for no less. You shouldn’t be forced into settling for anything less than what you want/deserve, especially when it comes to matters as permanent as marriage and kids. But, start to know what you’re looking for so when you find it, you can actively pursue.
- Know that trial and error in the job world is a valid strategy. If you hate what you’re doing, do something else. Lather, rinse, repeat.
- Put yourself out there at least once a day. Ask someone on a date. Take charge of a project at work. Ask for a raise. You never get ahead in the game without challenging yourself, and you never know if you don’t ask.
- Continue your education. Maybe this means going to college, trade school, grad school or medical school. Maybe this means reading the paper each morning. Whatever your personal take, never use “but I’ve already graduated high school/college/etc.” as an excuse to stop learning.
- Keep in touch with your friends. It’s really hard when your friends are spread out throughout the United States, but strive to do this. If my grandma kept in touch with a friend who lived 6 states away her entire life without the help of texting or the internet, there’s really no excuse that we can’t stay in touch in 2012.
- Figure out exactly what you believe in and practice that faith. Do some online research. Read the Bible. Read the Qur’an. Go to Temple. Go to Mass. Sooner or later, your grandparents are going to get sick, and having a solid backing of faith really will put your mind at ease.
- Appreciate your body. It might not be perfect, but your body isn’t going to get any better than what it is right now, so why not enjoy it?
- Be happy. Everyday, just do whatever it is that makes you happy. Because life is too short to be anything else