Go Hug Your Parents

Note-to-self

I was never one of those girls in junior high or high school who was best friends with her mom. I was, for the lack of a better term, a quintessential teenager who was mortified to even be seen with my parents. I was totally the:

“Please, dear God, drop me off around the block. YOU ARE SO EMBARRASSING, DAD… UGHHH” (Wasn’t I a peach?)

I never understood how these other girls in my grade were always hanging out with THEIR MOM. Really, you’re going to the mall with your mom? No thanks. I’ll do that twice a year, once for the dreaded back-to-school spree and maybe again when I need some new gym tennies.

My mom would tell me stories of her friends who had daughters older than me:

“One day, you’ll just hit a point and realize that I’m not crazy.”

Yeah, OKAY mom. Ugh, could you please close my door on your way OUT? (Again, ‘daughter-of-the-year’ quality here)

Well, like most of you have probably realized, in some frightening dimension of the universe, our parents were right… about basically everything. I can almost pinpoint an exact time in which I woke up from the cloud that was my indifference towards my parents.

It was sometime during college. I don’t remember why or how exactly, but I just began to see my parents a little differently. Aside from the fact I realized that I was extremely lucky to have two parents who loved me unconditionally and really didn’t screw me up in the head too much, I began to see my college friends and work acquaintances who had suffered from receiving the short end of the stick on the parent tree.

These other parents put extreme pressures on their kids to succeed, or their body image, or even brought their own petty dramas down onto their children, etc. Making a comparison, I was SO lucky. What was I so bent out of shape about? Growing up with these knuckleheads, I had two loving parents who stood beside me my whole life with unwavering support. Slowly but surely I began to not only respect my parents but also appreciate them.

Now, I can’t imagine my parents playing in the chorus of the big, dramatic play that is my life – they are leading cast members. My parents became the main people I could count on in my life. Chances are, the troubles I have or the stresses I face, they’ve been there before. I can’t think of a better person who you’d want to get advice from than those who simply will always want the best for you. Now when I’m broken hearted (yet again) I click “Home” on the speed dial. Or when an amazing job opportunity comes my way I can’t decide who to email first, Mom or Dad?! (Or just send it to the email address that they still share – aren’t they adorable?)

It turns out they were right all along about how I’d finally come around. Also turns out, they are right about everything else. They were right about the little things like, making sure to eat your vegetables, how to check out the sales rack first, that there is a Bob Seger song that fits any situation you’re going through, and to say “please and thank-you”.

And they were right about the big things like money and savings, that heartbreaks will eventually pass, how sometimes change can be good, how my sister would become one of my most trusted friends, and that time does heal all. Before the tune, “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger,” starts in, I’ll confess, I do look back and regret how much time I wasted fighting against the current. But I probably wouldn’t appreciate them as much as I do now…

Now, if you’re feeling similar to what I’ve been blabbing on about, go thank your parents! Do it now. We always hear parents saying, “My kids are the best thing I ever did.” Go thank them for doing that! These people, these amazing people who created you out of nothing are the two most enthusiastic cheerleaders you are ever going to have. Relish in this. Feel lucky, feel extremely lucky. Go give your mom and dad a hug.

Advertisements

A Tale Of Two Headaches: Dating & Job Hunting

office-romance

When I was a little girl, I had a vision of what my dating life would be like once I got older. I would be swept off my feet, ride off into the sunset, happily ever after, etc. etc. As you may have already guessed, this hasn’t happened. (For future reference: I don’t really want to ride off into the sunset. Preferably, I’d rather sit back, drink in hand, and watch a sunset. “Riding off” sounds exhausting).

I’ve also had a vision of what my working life would be like. I’d go to college, study hard, have fun, graduate, and get a job.

Bing – Bang – Boom.

This also hasn’t exactly happened. I have been fortunate to be employed and I don’t want to downplay how grateful I am for my job – – However, I am continuously looking for a career – – A career where I can fully immerse myself in a company and see growth, potential, and a future.

So, while I’ve been on both the dating and job hunt – – I’ve noticed how similar the two are.

1. Seeking “The One”

Whether it be searching for a job or a partner-in-crime, most everyone is looking for “The One”. I don’t know many people who are like, “Well, I’d rather date some crappy people for awhile,” or “Sure, I’d like a job where I see absolutely no future and I’m not using any of the expensive college degree I have.” Most people are looking for “The One”.

2. White Lies

If you are applying for a job or getting to know someone that you may want to pursue romantically, we all know there are little white lies that are presented. You fudge the truth, but only slightly. BECAUSE – – If this escalates (the job or lover) you know that they’ll eventually check your references. So, I suggest not explaining you had a two-year internship at Google when you actually worked at your Dad’s law firm, filing and flirting with the UPS guy. Or explaining how much of a family oriented person you are, when in fact you haven’t made it home for Christmas in three years. Here, honesty is truly the best policy.

3. Networking

Of course, you’ll hope to be set up by a friend but you’ll most likely end up turning to online dating. Just like you’ll hope to network your way to the top, but have to turn to Monster.com at some point. (Sigh).

4. Interviewing vs. Dating

If you get past the initial screening, you have made it to the interview/first date portion. Interviews and dates have more in common than you’d think.

There are always lots of smiles, combined with nerves. A great amount of thought put into outfit selection – – nothing too over-the-top, but nothing too frumpy either. The Q&A portion, where you try not to bring up anything too serious too soon and you’re of course very anxious to see how it ends.

5. Full Circle

At first, you’re super picky. Nothing will do. “Oh please, I went to college and got my MBA – – that job is so below me” or “Right, like I’d go out with a guy who lives in his parent’s basement”.

Then you’ll take anything you can get. Anything and everything. “Well, it can’t be thaaaaat bad, right?” or “Yeah, so? It was white collar crime! He’s a nice guy!”

Then you’ll wake up. You’ll become picky again. “What THE HELL was I thinking??”

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

6. The Aftermath

Here, you’ll now wait by the phone. Anxious to hear from Mr./Mrs. Right and or the HR Recruiter of your dreams.

The “One That Got Away”: Job hunters, daters, and, well, serial killers have this.

Unrequited love: Ah, the worst. Nothing stings like rejections. It hurts, burns, leaves a scar, and takes time to get over. But you have to bounce back. You’re resilient, you can do it! Remember, you can’t control the process, only your reaction. Try not to take rejection personally. (If you figure out how to not take it personally, would you please let me know?)

Going your separate ways: You and your past employer or significant other may have just lost that “loving feeling”. Now it’s gone, gone, goneeeee – – and you have to go on.

At the end of the day, to find your best match, whether it be a job or a future companion you have to know what you want. You have to find that perfect mixture of being open and also selective to opportunities both romantically and within the business world. There will be days when you are constantly second (or triple) guessing which aspects of yourself or your resume to highlight. What will make me stand out? What are they looking for? Who the hell knows…

The most important piece I will leave you with is this…

Give it time. We must try to understand that the job/love search can’t be a one-night-stand or even a summer fling. The process is probably going to take upwards of several months (or more – possibly much, much more) to find something worthy of you

You will get your heartbroken, at least once. Losing a job prospect, not getting a phone call after a great date – – These things will happen. There’s nothing worse than a follow-up email that features the word “unfortunately” or a text message that reads, “I think we’re looking for different things”. My advice is to have a good support network.

Actually, have an amazing support network. With that, you’ll be able to face anything.

Six Things We Need To (…Attempt to) Stop Doing

Stop Means Stop

1. Thinking The Grass Is Greener: One day, you’re just surfing good ol’ Facebook, minding your own business, and the next thing you know… It’s been two hours and you’ve stalked everyone who was in your middle school earth science class. You then come to the conclusion: What the fuck am I doing with my life?! How much easier was it when social media didn’t exist to constantly remind us of how “we’re doing”? Pictures of graduation ceremonies, engagements, house hunting, ultrasounds, etc. etc. It’s easy to think that you’d be happier if you lived somewhere else, or had a better job, or earned more money, or were in a relationship.

These are really nice lies we tell ourselves – – but they just distract us from fixing the actual problems we have with our situations. Don’t buy into this delusion; the grass isn’t always greener.

2. Posting Everything: Speaking of Facebook, can we all just sign an imaginary agreement that we will stop posting every, single thing we are doing at every moment of every day. This isn’t going to be easy, let’s just really try and work on it together.

3. Dating Someone & You Know It Won’t Work Out: Ah, this one. We really need to stop this. Whether we tend to ignore the important signs pointing to why one should walk away or that we tend to keep someone “on the hook” just to… keep someone “on the hook”, let’s snap out of it!

Ignoring the important signs: C’mon, we’re better than this. Let’s end this – – Immediately. Red Flags: They avoid meeting your friends/family. Your friends/family don’t like them. They don’t make any sacrifices. They’re too controlling. The “What are we?” conversation fails, miserably – – Multiple times. The attraction is “meh”. They violated your trust. It’s hard to have great conversations with them. They don’t make you laugh. Your gut is telling you that this just isn’t the person for you. Ultimately, avoiding these obvious signs can lead to some major, unnecessary heartache.

“On The Hook”: This euphemism for keeping someone around until someone better comes along NEEDS to stop. I’m definitely not free of guilt on this one and I’ve also definitely been stuck on someone else’s hook. Nothing about this situation is fun. It doesn’t feel very good to be dragged along by someone who “likes” you just enough to keep you around but not enough to fully commit. And on the other side, it’s not fair to keep someone on your hook just because it may feel good, or you’re lonely, or you’re “in between relationships”, or whatever. The hook is worse than the friend zone. At least when you’re in the friend zone, you know where you stand – – You may not necessarily be where you want to be, but at least you’re swimming around in a giant ocean full of other fish that may actually be interested in you. But when you’re on the hook – – You’re harnessed in, dragging behind the boat’s propeller, water splashing in your face, holding on for dear life – – Pretty much torture. Everything about the hook sucks. Let’s get rid of it.

4. Stop agreeing to do things that you know you’ll never actually do: I am terrible at this one. Like, super terrible. I don’t know how many times I run into old friends and leave the conversation with, “Yes, totally! We HAVE to get together soon, I’ll call you!” And I rarely do. It’s not because I don’t care about this person or value their friendship. It’s just life gets busy! Right? Ugh. Maybe I am terrible. This needs to stop.

I refuse to be labeled a “flake” and you should too! Believe me, people will notice when you don’t follow through. The problem here doesn’t lie in the fact that you need to do everything, every time someone asks – – You need to stop just automatically saying YES. It’s okay to just be honest. If you have no intention, what so ever, of follow through… JUST SAY NO.

5. Stop seeking approval! Approach life, situations, people, etc., with the belief that you’re awesome. It’s completely normal to want the people around you to like you. But it becomes a big problem when almost all of your time, energy, and behavior toward certain people are designed to constantly reassure you of their approval – – Breathe easy, you are awesome.

6. Wondering When Your Life Is Going To “Begin” I’ve talked about this before… How it seems to become increasingly more difficult year-by-year to figure out what I’m doing with my life. I always thought this was supposed to get easier as I got older. One day I would just hit a magic day and a little man dressed like Mr. Peanut would come out with confetti and say, “Congratulations, you’ve made it!”

This hasn’t happened yet.

And maybe we need to stop wondering when this is going to happen… and maybe even stop thinking it will happen.

Why do I feel like this? Does everyone feel like this? Am I literally crazy? I think the reason why most twentysomethings are so fixated on age is because we feel some sort of pressure to be a certain way at 21, or 25, or 28, or 30, etc. These ages all represent invisible deadlines that we have given ourselves regarding careers, love, family, etc. “I can’t get drunk and throw up anymore, I’m 25!” “I need to be in a serious relationship by 27.” “I need to have a baby by 30.”

We put all of this pressure on ourselves which results in a whole lotta’ guilt for essentially just acting our age. Movies, TV, magazines, friends, teachers, and parents have all made us obsessed with the idea of being domesticated and having our shit together. It makes me sad to think that we are always so caught up in this stuff that we miss out on the other stuff. Other stuff = Our actual youth. By being so focused on doing everything THE RIGHT WAY, we are skipping out on doing things in the wrong way. Which could end up being the best way of all.

***If you can tell me how to actually stick with any of these, please message me 😉

The 5 Friends Every Twenty-Something Needs

Travel-With-Friends2-600x450

Being a twenty-something these days is exhausting. We’re constantly pulled in a thousand directions – – “Be mature!” “Get a real job!” “But you’re so young!” “At your age I was already married with two kids!” “These are the best years of your life!” First, would someone please take a poll of society so we can finally agree on a common age that is, in fact, “The Best Years Of Your Life”? That would be much appreciated. Secondly, I’ve composed the following list of 5 friends that I believe every twenty-something needs – – To ensure survival of the twenty-something years.

The DeLorean: This friend encompasses your past, present, and you know they hold a place in your future.  While this friend holds a lot of stock in your friendship market, they are probably not a reoccurring character in your current, daily life. Hell, this friend is probably not around a lot. This isn’t because they don’t care or you don’t care – – There is just some space. This space can be literal proximity (moved for school, job, new direction, etc.) or the space can be that you both have just grown apart.

Growing apart from friends is always difficult because 99% of the time there isn’t rhyme or reason. The drifting begins and you try to keep up the friendship because the investment is there and you’re a smart cookie – – You know you can’t just walk away from a long-term investment.

So, you don’t walk away… completely. The DeLorean and you keep the friendship afloat by allowing one another to change. This friendship still works because you have both allowed one another to evolve into new people – – You allowed one another to grow up and in turn, grow apart.

The DeLorean may not be around for your daily new stories – – The fight you got into with your sister, the horrible date you couldn’t escape, or that celebration for the promotion you finally received. While they won’t be there for those moments, they were there for the past. They will always hold a special place within your heart/soul/memories because they know you. They know every scar, every wound (both visible and emotional). There’s not many people who can identify the scar above your left eyebrow that you hit on the nightstand when you fell out of bed on Father’s Day 1996. There’s also not many people who know exactly how often you lip synched to Britney Spear’s …Baby, One More Time with a hairbrush. And there’s definitely not many people who helped you compose the most beautiful poem for your waiter at Steak N’ Shake, circa junior year.

The DeLorean will always hold a very special place on your friend roster and while they’re in and out of your life a lot, you’ll always be able to count on them to transport you back to simpler times and memories you never want to forget.

The Magic Eight Ball: This is a special type of friend. The Magic Eight Ball (M8B) is the friend you can talk to about anything. They not only give the best advice, but they listen completely. The conversation is unhindered because no one is trying to “one up” the other or interject with opinions. You’re probably wondering why I call this friend the M8B… let me explain.

The M8B doesn’t care if you want to talk about the same story over and over again. You all know what I’m talking about. That one story that’s even starting to annoy you as you start from the top for the 99th time. But the M8B knows that for whatever reason, you need to talk about it – – Again. The M8B will dissect a break-up over and over (and over) again until you feel better about it. Then, when you feel worse about it again – – They’ll buckle up for the repeat.

After they patiently listen, the M8B also carefully dolls out advice. This advice is most likely paired with the ever-so-popular terms, “It is certain”, “Without a doubt”, or “You may rely on it”. The M8B can also be counted on to cut the bullshit with, “Don’t count on it”, “My reply is no”, or the pleasant, “My sources say no”. Yes, it might sting – – But its better than those super-annoying, middle-of-the-road, “Reply hazy, try again”, or  “Cannot predict now”. Well, why the fuck would I ask you if you can’t “predict” now, M8B?!

The Energizer Bunny: Oh, this friend. This friend is amazing. Amazing, yet exhausting. You can’t figure out how they can go, go, go, go, go, and never seem to tire. You can’t figure out how they still have the energy and stamina of a college freshman while you’ve transferred to the common, yet more sedentary lifestyle of a twenty-five-year-old.

The Energizer Bunny (EB) is the friend that drags you off the couch and out on the town. They insist you have time to grab a drink after work. They are insatiable and extremely persuasive. The EB is the only friend that is able to convince you to go out, even after you’ve put your hair up and PJ’s on for the evening. The EB is also the friend that wants to stay out and close down the bar. While you’re probably not familiar with the harsh lights of a 2am last call, the EB is making their last cycle around the bar, and bidding adieu to their favorite waitresses.

The EB seems to be living in a frozen undergrad moment. It’s hard to be on the same page as an EB sometimes because you have different priorities. You probably want to shake your EB sometimes and be like, “HOW ARE YOU NOT STRESSED OUT ABOUT THIS??” “HOW ARE YOU NOT WORRIED?!” The EB’s always seem so carefree. It’s not only hard to wrap your mind around but it’s also pretty fucking frustrating. The EB can be frustrating because you don’t understand why they won’t just grow up, too. Why can’t they be tired, too? Why can’t they understand that you can’t just book a vacation for next week because you’re saving for a down payment? (Down payment on what? Who the hell knows, but you’re saving for something.) Why can’t they understand that you don’t go out to 1am on weekdays anymore because you’re responsible?

While the EB will push you to your breaking point more than once, you hold your tongue because you know the EB will get their shit together… eventually. We all change and grow at different paces and the EB will get there at some point… right? And even if they take forever or never get there, who cares?

The best part of the EB is they help you step outside of your comfort zone. They help you remember how to have fun. The EB makes you feel young again. The EB reminds you that sometimes it’s okay to stumble home at 3am on a Tuesday night, after karaoke-ing The Counting Crows greatest hits, and eating greasy, bar pizza.

The Clock: The opposite of the EB. This is the yang to the EB’s yin. This is the mature friend. This is the friend who has all of their shit together – – Probably detailed in a very organized planner. You met this friend in school or from work. You can always count on this friend for anything. You can count on this friend to always do the right thing. You can also count on them to get jobs, get married, and have babies.

The Clock is a great friend. However, The Clock is someone who is always there to remind you of that one really, really, super, annoying thing – – Time. While you’re still trying to map out a “career path” (if that term even exists?) and find a significant other that you can stand for more than four weeks (four weeks sounds longer than one month, right?) The Clock just landed their dream position at Google and got engaged at the top of the Eiffel Tower last weekend. While you think the Eiffel Tower is a little cheesy, you still can’t help but feel a bit behind while all these amazing-life-altering things seem to be happening to The Clock.

You love The Clock and wish him/her all the best, but this goddamn Clock is beginning to make you feel behind the curve. You’ve had to adjust to the fact that people your age actually want to get pregnant and these beautiful children aren’t just “happy surprises” anymore. You’ve also had to practice your facial expression(s) so that when The Clock tells you that she isn’t taking her birth control anymore, your face that would normally say, “HOLY HELL, WHY?!” now looks more like, “YAY, SUCH A GREAT IDEA!”.

I’m not trying to degrade The Clocks out there – – I love my Clocks! The Clocks make the world go round (no pun intended). The Clocks are needed to balance out the EB’s and the other stragglers, like myself. I look up to The Clocks and part of me wishes I was more like a Clock. I wish I had more of a plan – – I wish I had more direction. I would love to embody the beauty that seems to exude from the stability, and calmness of a Clock. My Clocks are some of the greatest friends I have and I know I can count on them for the rest of my life.

The Rock: This person is your person. Out of anyone at anytime in anyplace this is the person you want by your side. The Rock can read your mind and know what you’re thinking even before you know what you’re thinking. For example, you and The Rock aren’t allowed to be on the same team at Game Night when Taboo comes into play – –  “It’s not fairrrrr,” say the whiners, “They know what the other is thinking, ughhh,” they’ll plead as they beg that you’re split onto opposite teams.

You can be your complete self with The Rock. Conversations with The Rock can start with discussing your biggest fears, then in the same thought, you can also admit to actually liking the band Nickelback. The Rock will go to parties or get-togethers that they know they’ll hate, just because you asked and know you’ll need reinforcement. They’re the friends that have been there when your family awkwardly fights in front of them and they’ve actually come back. The Rock is pretty much a member of your family. You can go some time without talking and nothing really changes. You know that annoying saying, “Friends are like stars, you don’t always see them but you know they’re there.” Ugh – – with a double side of ugh. The Rock is the friend that you want to see all the time – – And if you’re far away from your Rock, you don’t pretend that “distance makes the heart grow fonder” bullshit. You feel a little off not talking and seeing your Rock on the reg.

They’ve been there for the best days – – The graduations, the new jobs, the dates you fell in love with, the nights you both laughed so hard in the middle of State Street you fell over, the birthdays, the vacations, and everything in between. They’ve also been there for the worst – – The failed classes, the jobs we hated, the dates that broke our hearts, the nights we both cried so hard it seemed like nothing could ever be that sad again, the arguments, and everything else in between.

That’s the best part about The Rock – – They’ve been there for everything and you know they’ll be there for the rest.

For my sister… and really, all other twenty-two-year-olds.

Image

This past weekend, I sat at my younger sister’s college graduation ceremony and I couldn’t help but be transported back to my undergraduate commencement. Let me take a quick sidebar and just say how annoyingly awful graduation ceremonies are. Yes, it is a special time for friends and relatives to dab their teary-eyes and exclaim their pride for the graduate and yes, it is a tradition that has been set for years and years…and years. Graduation ceremonies are uniform and boring. But it’s just one of those things in life that we don’t question or change – we just accept it. If you think about it, graduation ceremonies kind of mirror The Hunger Games pretty accurately. Let me explain.

The procession followed by sitting in a large group of peers, all wearing the same outfit is eerily familiar to The Reaping. Family members look on as if they know exactly how you feel – – As if they have been there before. The speeches are definitely all the same and end with the all-too-familiar, “May the odds be ever in your favor” feel. And lastly, the “real world” is set as the arena. It’s truly a dog-eat-dog world out here and there isn’t much room to have alliances. Let’s just be glad that we’re not named Katniss. Moving on.

Where was I? Ah yes. Three years have passed since my twenty-two-year-old self pretty much galloped with glee across the graduation stage to receive my Bachelor’s degree. I was full of the perfect mixture of excitement and nerves. My real life was about to begin!

Boy, was I disappointed.

The following is a letter dedicated to my sister and really, every other twenty-two-year-old out there who is experiencing the same feeling of excitement swirling with a shit load of anxiety.

Dear Taylor,

As your big sister, my job is and has always been to be a good example, give great advice, be a shoulder to cry on, and above all else, be someone you can look up to. So, I guess I should probably apologize for not completely adhering to all of those duties. Being the older sister is hard! Aside from my fabulous fashion sense I’ve tried tirelessly to “pass down” to you over the years, I think another aspect that I can give that may (actually) be useful is my advice/experience of how to deal with all-things-post-graduation.

Here we go…

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a vision of what post-graduation life is going to look like. Here are some of the top things I envisioned for myself after graduating…

I like to call this next section: “What really happened”

1. Fancy Feast: No, this doesn’t pertain to cats. After the years of living off dorm food and ramen, I thought that after graduation I would completely change my ways. My fridge and pantry were going to be stocked full of fancy “adult” food. What would this fancy adult food be? I’m not really sure. I think I envisioned myself at least harboring some fresh produce.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: I still live off noodles and swipe my debit card out to eat, far too often. Also, as for the “fresh produce” – – I have a hard time finishing a half-gallon of milk before it expires…

2. BUSY: After college, I assumed I would be extremely busy. I would be working 40+ hours a week at my dream career, balancing philanthropy work I was passionate about, hangin’ with my super successful live-in boyfriend, and still finding time for “Happy Hour” with friends — Of course.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: Well, let’s see here. I did find a job. Definitely not my dream. My philanthropic duties range from begrudgingly taking out the trash and occasionally watching my friend’s puppy who tires me out within 30 minutes of exposure. That super successful boyfriend? Yeah, that’s not something I have to “worry about fitting in” right now. “Happy Hour” does happen, thankfully. Mainly, because it’s from 4-7pm and most of us want to be in bed by 9pm. As for being busy? I miss being busy. In college I was so busy between classes, work, student organizations, friends, boys, etc., I had to nap for twenty minutes between activities just to gain some shuteye for the week. Now, I have more free time than I know what to do with. Like, I now have the time to work out? Yuck.

3. Professional Clothing: After graduation I assumed I would transform. One of these miraculous transformations would be my clothes. I would wake up one day with a complete closet makeover, full of professional blazers, suits (lady like suits – not butchy/boy-like suits), expensive heels, etc. I would be stylin’.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: I still shop at The Gap way more than I would prefer. I have exactly two pairs of “work shoes” that are heels that look “professional” and also exude the comfort needed for standing all day. Needless to say, they aren’t the “cutest” things I shove on my hooves. I have one (ONE) “interview” outfit. I’m still waiting for this closet makeover to surprise me one morning – – Here’s to hoping.

4. Sense of Direction: Yes, I mean something deeper than North-South-East-West directions (However, I could use a better sense of those as well). I just knew that once I graduated college that I would know what my “mission” in life would be. I would magically just know if it was time to change jobs, go to grad school, or pack up and move across the county. Graduation was going to be that time in my life when my “plan” was going to come to fruition and show me what the next step was.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: I was just as confused as ever. Probably even more fucking so. While all opportunities were at my fingertips, my “plan” seemed to be burning up in flames right before my eyes. Unfortunately, this “plan” that most of us have doesn’t come with time extensions or modification directions. Get ready for days when your highest accomplishments include scoring two yahtzees in “Dice with Buddies” and not losing a sock whilst tending to your laundry.

5. Lesssss Hangovers: Growing older, I just assumed that I would have less hangovers. Less drinking = Less hangovers.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: As I stopped drinking as frequently, my tolerance leveled out at ZERO. Now, after a few beers or a shot, I’m about ready to be wheeled home. Check, please.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. Well Stace, gee thanks. This has been super uplifting. I am so pumped that I just graduated. Hold on… keep reading. Let’s get serious for a moment.

So here you are, at the ultimate crossroads of your life. This is no fucking joke. This will be the biggest crossroad of your entire life. This is where you get to choose everything.

Sure. You’re currently enduring a complete identity crisis. Yep, there is still going to be some failure and most likely some more heartbreak ahead. And yes, you’re going to run into the “Big Three”: Boredom, Routine, and Frustration. And yes, all three of these bitches will suck. Big time. BUT! There is something you can do.

You hold all the power. You get to choose how you’re going to react to all of it. This may sound cliché or corny or whatever but you get to choose how you’re going to adapt to it all. You get to choose if you’re going to remain positive or if you’re going to fall into a well of despair and never fully recover. You get to decide if you’re going to work extremely hard to get what you want or if you’re going to just roll over. You get to choose if you’re going to embrace moving back home, spend time with your parents, get to know them all over again, and actually enjoy it or you can feel sorry for yourself and re-watch Mad Men on Netflix in the basement.

The point is, you get to choose. You get to decide. Sure, you learned all about your major and you even found your minor to be pretty interesting. And yep, you’re “well rounded” thanks to general education requirements. But the main thing that the fancy (and expensive) diploma you received should give you is the ability to choose. College should have taught you one of life’s most powerful lessons – – What has meaning and what doesn’t. If you’re extremely lucky, you’ve learned how to decide what is meaningful to you and what isn’t.

So why does this matter? It matters because no matter what situation you get yourself in, no matter what is thrown your way, no matter who breaks your heart, no matter how confused you feel, no matter what changes you have to endure… You have the ability to choose how you’re going to react. College should have taught you to have confidence in yourself. To have confidence in your choices and actions. You have the confidence to stand by how you feel. Sure, things aren’t going to go exactly how you think they will. And I can almost guarantee that your “plan” is going to be foiled immediately. But in the end you have to remember that no matter what happens, you are still in charge of what is most important – – you.

My final piece(s) of advice are the following:

1.If you’re moving home: Don’t mope around and haunt your hometown like some sad ghost. Get up and get doing. Also, avoid the main grocery store – – Just trust me on that one.

2. Don’t make super depressing Facebook statuses. In fact, stay off Facebook as much as possible. Facebook may have been the best medicine for procrastination while writing a term paper but now you’re just going to want to be added to a suicide watch list when you’ve refreshed your newsfeed thirty times in the span of two minutes. Get a Twitter account and follow some funny comedians.

3. Take some time to find yourself. Yes, this is cliché but take some time and “date yourself”. Read a real book (not a textbook or academic article). You know, that book haven’t had time for between the all-nighters and exams you were cramming for. Really sharpen your Netflix profile and what is recommended for you. Write something, anything. Figure out what your favorite food really is. Garner an opinion on politics, same-sex marriage, marijuana, the death penalty, abortion, and so forth. (Note: I didn’t say share this opinion – – But I do believe it is critical to have your own opinion formed before others try to change it). Find out what you really want in someone you date, get into a serious relationship with, or even eventually marry. Realize that your parents are (and were) always right. About everything. (Hang out with them more).

If you remember anything I have just rambled about remember this: Things aren’t going to go according to plan.

Just throw the fucking plan out.

How to live with a guy… When you’re not dating.

images

Over the past two-ish years (and counting), I’ve lived with two different guys, both of whom I was not dating – or sleeping with. Each situation was different, here’s a little back-story on the guys and what I’ve learned on this adventure…

Kevin: I moved in with Kevin in the spring of 2011. I think I probably would have had more hesitation moving in with a male, but luckily for me, I was bringing along my best friend, Mandy. Long story short, Three’s Company was born. Towards the summer of 2012, our lease was up. Mandy left us both for her new boyfriend, Kevin moved in with friends closer to school, and I moved home…ugh.

Summer of 2012, there I was – back living at my parents. I had my master’s degree and six years of independence under my belt. To avoid complete depression, I would float in and out of appreciating the fact that I was having home-cocked meals on the reg, saving money, and banking on free laundry services.

The main reasons I moved home were one: renting a place in the area I wanted to live was so expensive, it was pretty much throwing away money and two: I am too big of a chicken to live alone. To all the single gals who are brave enough to live in a place by yourself — hats off to you, apartment warrior. For the rest of us (not willing to buy a cat – yet) we choose to live with a roommate so we don’t have to come home to the sad silence of the jingle-jangle of Kitty Kitty’s bell.

So, the decision to leave the nest. This decision comes to everyone at some point in their life. Usually, the decision to leave the comfort of your parent’s home comes about over the following two reasons.

Reason 1: You’ve decided to pack up that yellow Volkswagen bug, put in the mix cd titled “Go Your Own Way”, and start off on the adventure of adulthood, i.e.: college out of town, job supporting yourself, following your dreams, etc.

Reason 2: Health reasons. The health of you and the health of your parents. If one of you doesn’t get out of here soon, someone’s not going to make it. There will be a casualty… and lets face it, parents are pretty reluctant to leave. So, you have chosen the high road and let them keep the house.

Now what?

Chris: I was at home for about two months when I received a very random text from my friend Chris. He was wondering if I had figured out my life and if I had any interest in moving back. He wanted to get a really nice place and needed someone to go in on it with (I = $$$). Another very long story short – – about a month later, I moved into a two-bedroom condo with Chris.

Here’s a list of what I’ve learned (thus far) living with a guy…

Men are just as dramatic as women

When I moved in with Kevin and when I moved in with Chris, I wasn’t necessarily jumping for joy. I was going to miss my girl time. The late night ice cream raids, staying up talking till 4am, and being able to share clothes and shoes. The one thing I was not going to miss was the occasional drama. I was pretty pumped to live with in a drama-free zone with a guy. Boy was I wrong.

Guys are just as dramatic! They get moody, give attitude, and they also have perfected the silent treatment. WHO KNEW!? So much for living a drama-free lifestyle… But you know what, I still enjoy late night ice cream raids and staying up talking till 4am. No sharing of the clothes, thankfully.

Motherly Instincts

With both guys, the day that I moved in I was overcome with some weird “motherly” feeling. Let me explain.

Cleaning. After moving in, I quickly realized that I would be in charge of the cleanliness of the living space. That may sound sexist, and it probably is. The thing is, I know both guys would clean; the problem came into play when they realized that I would (and will) clean everything. They’d have to leave dirty dishes in the sink jusssssst long enough to bother me and I’ll take care of it. Now thinking about it, this is probably their plan. WTF. Never mind, they would never be smart enough to pull that off.

Worrying. Just like any mother, I became an obsessive worrier. Let’s start with how I would worry about their eating habits. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe a bag of Doritos and a can of Mt. Dew constitutes a meal? Or literally living off noodles and nothing else can’t be healthy, right?

I also worried when they would get sick. There really is nothing more pathetic than a sick guy. First, they pretend that they aren’t sick for about two to three days. “No, that’s not a cough – I just had an itchy throat.”  “No, I don’t look pale, I just, uh, haven’t gotten much sun lately.” “No, I didn’t just sleep for 16 hours straight, I, uh, just leave me alone!” So, after the denial stage has phased out, it’s time to run for the hills.

I can’t speak for all guys when I say this, but seriously, all guys turn into miserable babies when they get sick. They don’t want to be bothered; yet they want you to help nurse them back to health. They will tell you, “I’m actually feeling much better, I’m not sick at all,” while the same time they are on the phone with their mother whining and explaining in detail how truuuuuly sick they are. Thankfully, like clockwork, after three days this all will pass.

Nosey. After growing up with a sister and then living with many girls throughout college, I got pretty used to knowing what was going on with my roommates at all times. This changed (big time) when I moved in with a guy. I officially became “nosey”.

Apparently asking, “Where are you going?” is against all rules and makes you “nosey”. If I was to get an answer besides, “(Heavy sigh)” or “Do you really need to know?” I would usually get the go-to: “Out”. Fortunately, I broke down the walls of both guys and they learned that the one-word answers were not going to fly.

Another “no-no” was asking about any lady friends. When I lived with girls, I knew who they liked, who they were hooking up with, how their dating life was going, and so forth. Living with guys on the other hand, was a completely different story. Both guys that I have lived with were single or are single. Whenever they were interested in a girl or had some new girl in the picture, it was like I was trying to break into Fort Knox to get any information. Another “nosey” quality of mine. Geeesh.

My television time changed dramatically

I’ve now logged more hours with SportsCenter than any one person should be objected to. That’s all I have to say about this topic.

I became sneaky

I’ve learned how to be very sneaky. I’m not sure if I was a sneaky person before or why I became sneaky but there are just some things that the guys I’m living with don’t need to know. Now this is all going to sound very hypocritical because I just got done explaining why the guys shouldn’t call me nosey and now I’m explaining why they should stay out of my business. What? A lady deserves some privacy!

Anyway, Chris is pretty laid back and I haven’t had to hide much from him. On the other hand, when I lived with Kevin… he was like a CIA agent who knew everything. I would be leaving in the morning for work and I would get the suspicious eyes from him, “So Stacey, I heard the front door open pretty late last night…did you have a guest? Who was he??” How did he even hear the door?! Can’t I have a mystery visitor?! Ugh. So I guess one could say I learned from living under Big Brother’s watch with Kevin…

Endlessly answering the question, “You’re just friends??”

One of my all-time favorite movies is When Harry Met Sally. In the beginning of the movie, Harry and Sally get into a discussion about whether or not a man and a woman can be friends. Harry believes that there is no possibility of a male and female being completely platonic. Sally disagrees.

I’m here to set the record straight. It IS possible for a man and a woman to just be friends. I swear! I have lived with two straight men, no romantic inclinations, and we’re still friends (GASP!).

I know, I know. You’re probably skeptical. Well, get in line. You can get in line behind my friends, co-workers, my mom, their moms, etc. No one can believe that we can live together and just be friends. It’s a very difficult concept, apparently. I get it though, from the outside looking in, I can see what others see. There’s a penis and a vagina living under one roof… obviously something will happen. Sorry to burst everyone’s dreams, but there is no funny business going on with these guys and me.

…All in all, I’ve experienced a lot living with a guy that I am neither romantically involved with nor sleeping with. I can only imagine what else I’ll learn… stay tuned!

The 90s & Regrets

I’d like to think that I don’t have many regrets in my life (thus far). I’m not one to wonder “What could have been…” – – Most of the time, this lifestyle leaves me with a bruised ego but hilarious stories. I’ll save those for another time…

Anyway, it seems like everyone is always talking about how amazing the 90s were. First of all, it doesn’t seem to me that the 90s were that long ago… Really, already? The 90s are a “decade to remember”? Geeesh. Secondly, I was thinking about the 90s earlier today and it made me a bit regretful of all the things I haven’t done or achieved yet…

Let me try to explain…

The Early Regrets

I never banded together with a group of babies (Rugrats)

Image

Tommy Pickles & Co.

It turns out my childhood was quite boring. I never tried to escape a Pack-n-Play with a screwdriver kept in my diaper. Truth is, I had about ¼ of the imagination these babies on this show had. I was always so jealous of Angelica’s motorized play car. I literally had dreams about this car as a child.

Image

Just look at that car.

I also never even idolized a gigantic green Tyrannosaurus Rex, named Reptar. (Well, I guess there was my connection to Barney…)

My school bus never took me anywhere cool (The Magic School Bus)

Image

The only place a school bus took me was from home and to school. On the off chance, we perhaps hit up a museum. All I wanted was for Ms. Frizzle to wrangle up my class and take us to, oh I don’t know, the solar system, or the past, or even inside the human body of one of my classmates.

It never happened.

I was never a member of “The Midnight Society” (Are You Afraid Of The Dark?)

Image

I think that every young girl and boy at some point in their life find themselves at a sleepover. At said sleepover, someone always suggests ghost stories… and they always suck. I think the main reason that these “ghost stories” are so terrible is because we grew up being scared shitless watching Are You Afraid Of The Dark.

I mean, c’mon. I’m pretty sure each episode was regarding a clown, or a creepy attic, or something that lived in a mirror, or some urban legend that would definitely not allow me to sleep for the next week.While I am not sad that I managed to escape ghosts, goblins, haunted houses, curses, vampires, and aliens, I will always regret that I never sat fireside and said the legendary lines, “Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story…” Then at which point, I would toss a handful of “midnight dust” from a secret, leathery pouch into the campfire to enrage the flames.

Maybe someday.

I never solved any crimes. (Ghostwriter)

Image

I’ll always be regretful that I was never on a team of young detectives from Brooklyn who solved neighborhood crimes and mysteries – – With the help of an invisible ghost, of course. It took my six-year-old self about two seasons to realize that this show was designed to teach reading and writing skills… and then I was like SEE-YA.

The “Awkward-Years” Regrets

I was never a teenage witch. (Sabrina The Teenage Witch)

Image

This one is pretty self-explanatory. I never had magical powers.

Or a magical talking cat.

I never dated Zack Morris (Saved By The Bell)

Image

Oh Zack Morris.

Swoon.

I never let boys come into my window via a ladder (Clarissa Explains it All/ Dawson’s Creek)

Image

I really should have been more promiscuous at a younger age. I feel like I saved it all for my twenties and really wasted some solid years. I’m not sure how I would have gotten this whole “ladder that is to transport gentleman suitors to my bedroom” past my parents… But I really should have tried.

Image

Image

At least Dawson’s Creek takes note of the ladder – – When Dawson and Joey become… “closer” the ladder is taken down. However, Clarissa never “explains it all” – – Her ladder is never discussed and what’s-his-face ventures up to her room numerous times.

How I never went to high school in Texas. (Varsity Blues)

Okay, the title of this one is a little misleading but I couldn’t find a better way to phrase the two regrets I have gathered from this film.

First, it’s really a shame that I never was a second string quarterback who had to jump into the starting line up and take over the for the star when they were terribly injured. I’ll never get to feel the pressure of an entire town to win a football game. Side note: This movie gave me one of my favorite lines, “I don’t want your life!” (Said with a slow, southern drawl).

The second regret from this is that I never sported a whip cream bikini for a guy.

Image

I guess there’s still time for this one.

How no one ever took it upon themselves to give me a makeover to become Prom Queen (She’s All That)

How can anyone who went to high school not hold She’s All That as their guilty pleasure? It holds all the cards: Hottie McHottie Freddie Prinze Jr in his prime, an ugly duckling/swan transformation, and a “not” choreographed dance by half the student body at the prom.

Also, I love this “makeover”. Because, clearly, Rachael Leigh Cook was so hideous to begin with. They literally cut her hair, pulled down her shirt, and gave her contacts – –  Boom! Prom Queen.

Image

The Later Years

How I never had a neighbor who would give me great life lessons over the fence (Home Improvement)

This one I really, really want. I hope that someday I’ll have an all-wise mentor, dolling out advice, and who will seemingly know what I should do in all situations. Also, many people are bothered that Wilson never showed his face during the series, but I appreciate it. There has to be some separation between neighbor and neighbor.

Image

Mind you, this is coming from a person who routinely would engage in year-long feuds with “neighbors” in her apartment buildings over laundry or parking issues.

How I was never a lifeguard (Baywatch)

Image

I remember watching this show with my mom, never really understanding what any of the episodes were about. All I could muster was that there were beautiful men and women running around on the beach and sometimes they saved people. They lived by the beach, hung out at the beach, worked at the beach – – Sign me up.

End of Regret…

After thinking about all the “regrets” and thoughts that I had about 90s TV/movies, I came upon a few shows that have actually depicted a pretty accurate version of my life.

Boy Meets World

Image

This show is everything. And yes, I’m pretty pumped about the revival, Girl Meets World coming soon. This show not only helped me through my youth, but serves as a walk down memory lane when I catch it on syndication here and there.

Boy Meets World also serves as a mirror in some ways to my life. As cliché as it sounds, the friends I grew up with are the friends I went to college with. We remained friends and I see our friendships lasting for a long, long time. We even have our “Cory and Topanga” who started dating when they were 15 and were just married this past October. Our group has the rebel, “Shawn”. The goofy, lovable one, “Eric”. Now, this makes me think… Who am I in this scenario?

Probably Minkus. Good grief.

Seinfeld & Friends

Aside from living in together in close quarters and their intertwining love lives, I think that these two shows also share a very important factor that is resonant in my life: Growing up.

Image

You may think that all these other sitcoms and series that I listed helped me in growing up, however, I don’t think so. Those shows were there for the beginning, but I think I’ve done the most “growing up” in the last few years than I have my entire life. I also think that the people you surround yourself with and the friends that you have in your twenties really help shape the person you are becoming – – The person you’re meant to be.

Image