You Can Always Go Home Again

Helloooooooo everyone!  It feels like years since my last post, even though it’s only been six days.  But I always feel like vacation time is some sort of strange black hole that warps days into feeling like minutes or hours into feeling like years.  Or something like that.  I have no idea, I’m still completely exhausted and think that today is Monday.

Going home is always such a mix of emotions for me.  On one hand, it’s nice to get away from the problems and stresses of my every day life and go back to a simpler times, when meals and basic necessities were provided to me without question and where I rarely have to make any decisions.  On the other hand, because I tend to suffer from a bit of revertigo when I go home, I also find myself acting in a manner which Normal Me would find appalling but Visiting-Home-Again Me thinks is totally acceptable, such as throwing a temper tantrum when the PostCollegiate Parentals do not provide warm fresh kolaches at my first breakfast back.

Being back home is always this weird, schizophrenic mix of feeling unconditionally loved and accepted for the special little snowflake that I am while also feeling like the world’s biggest disappointment for my lack of career achievement/advanced degrees/impressive salary/numbers of lives changed through my actions.  I vacillate between basking in superiority to Baby Sister for eschewing the option of ever moving back home and seething in jealousy when I realize what a smart decision it was.  I love watching the PCPs discover the wonderful world of the Internet through their iPads, especially as PCD realizes that he can stream the Rachel Maddow show “just like on a real television” or PCM finally gets through the first three levels of Angry Birds.  But then I worry if those little “senior moments” are just that or indicators of something more or if that nagging cough is a harbinger of another bout of medical disasters and it’s hard to enjoy the funny moments.

On top of my own parental-related crisis, this trip home was intensified by the inclusion of attending a conference for an organization that I’ve been involved with my whole life.  The conference was fun – I love seeing little dudes dressed in tiny suits and catching up with old friends – but I hate, hate, hate having to do the “life recap” every five minutes.  It goes something like this:

Yes, it’s hard to believe I’m almost 28.
Yes, I hope I always look this young – not that 28 is young but you know what I mean…*awkward laugh*
Yes, I’m still living in DC.
No, I’m not working for the museum anymore.
No, I wasn’t fired.  It’s sort of complic–never mind.
Yes, I have a new job.  It’s sort of complicated.  I like my boss but I’m a little bored but I’m applying to grad school but it’s a tough economy but I have no idea why I keep rambling about this job.
No, I’m not married.
No, I’m not close to being married.
No, I’m not too worried about not being close to being married.
No, I’m not defensive about the idea of marriage.  It’s kind of ridiculous when you think about it.  Oh, you just got married?  That’s great.  For you.  I mean, I think it’s a human right that should be afforded to everyone regardle-  why are you walking away?

This is not an exaggeration.  I’m truly this awkward in real life.  And whenever I am forced to interact with people whose life choices are so different from my own (married at 24, brood of kids by 27, stay at home mom/supporting their family via etsy crafts), I find myself completely unable to articulate why I’m generally happy with my child-less, husband-less, craft-less lifestyle and why it’s actually pretty good to be me, despite all the confusion and worry and feelings of inadequacy.

After a weekend of giving of feeling like that, it was actually very therapeutic to spend my last night in town curled up on the couch with my fam, watching old episodes of Combat!on an actual old-fashioned television.


Anything Broken?

My love for the dearly-departed Party Down is well-documented – last year, on the eve of its cancellation, I wrote a post about I thought it was one of the most honest television shows about the disconnect between expectations and reality in your 20s.  Beyond that, its a show that consistently and repeatedly makes me laugh out loud, even when watching episodes I’ve seen a dozen times.

Which is how I happened upon one of my favorite scenes, pictured below.  I’m in a very different place than I was at this time last year – I’m in a new city with a full-time job and a very different life – and yet, I still find myself relating to Henry’s cynicism and self-defensive misanthropy.  I may not be popping pain-killers on the job, but much like Henry, I find solace in a stiff drink when I start to look too closely at all the ways life seems a little incomplete.  It’s not that anything is broken, but sometimes I feel the cracks in the foundation.

Are we having fun yet?

NY Times Backlash

As you may recall, the New York Times recently explored the trials and tribulations of 20-somethings and it caused a bit of backlash in the comments section.

Psychology Today has a great response to the article here.  The author takes the stance that a lot of the criticism from the article was unfair and that the young people who defended their generation had every right too.

Talking amongst my friends about the article, we all basically agreed that it was a little too generic and a little too condescending to make an impact on our lives but thought some of the research cited was interesting.

Definitely check the link for a great perspective on the quarterlife debate.  Also, great reference to St. Elmo’s Fire.

Friday Frivolity

Am I having a Quarterlife Crisis?
Take the quiz and find out!

1. You make an impulse purchase. It’s
a) gum.
b) a Marc Jacobs dress that you can’t afford.
c) your fifth beer on a Monday night.

2. You stop dead in the street and can’t breathe. Panic attack. You deal by
a) going home and taking a bath.
b) sending an angsty Tweet from your iPhone.
c) registering for a dating website and marrying the first person you meet.

3. You wake up in the morning and dread going to work. You
a) start scouring Monster.com for a better job.
b) call in sick for the second day in a row and watch back-to-back episodes of Saved By The Bell.
c) quit your job and apply online to seven different graduate programs.

4. You take up a new hobby. It’s
a) fostering cats.
b) Second Life.
c) unprotected sex with strangers, because having a baby might give your life some structure and purpose.

5. You step on something odd as you come in your front door. It’s
a) water, because you just cleaned the floors.
b) a dust bunny, because you don’t vacuum.
c) a cockroach, a pile of unopened bills, and a $300 vintage comic book you ordered on eBay when you were drunk last week.

6. You’re hanging out with friends. Everyone is worried about
a) the calories in beer and nachos.
b) their tangled dating lives.
c) turning 30 and moving back into their parents’ basement.

7. You rent a movie. It’s
a) Helvetica, a documentary about a font.
b) The Last Kiss, where Zach Braff gets engaged and then fucks it up.
c) A triple bill of Fight Club, Withnail & I and Betty Blue.

8. You wake up to a furious beeping sound. It’s
a) 8am.
b) 9am, and you’re late for work because you keep hitting snooze.
c) 3pm, and it’s your smoke alarm.

9. The two words that best describe how you see the future are
a) “limitless possibility.”
b) “option paralysis.”
c) “total desperation.”

RESULTS:
Mostly a): Nothing is wrong with you. Except that being this well-adjusted is slightly abnormal.
Mostly b): You’re not in crisis, yet, but you’re starting to show some signs. Time to think about a five-year plan.
Mostly c): You’re in full-blown Quarterlife Crisis–mode. Immediately get to a shrink, and hang tight: the storm will eventually pass.

Thanks to EyeWeekly for the quiz!  I scored mostly B’s – how did you do?

 

I Don’t Think That Means What You Think It Does

Can I call for the official banishment of the phrase quarter-life crisis?

There’s something about it that just rubs me the wrong way.  Maybe it’s hard for me to image that 25% of my life may very well be behind me.  Maybe it’s the fact that it seems to be a word people in the media use to create crappy filler segments in a 24 hour news cycle.  But mostly, I think it’s a misuse, or at the very least, overstatement of the word crisis.

Things that I believe legitimately constitute a crisis

  • The oil spill in the Gulf [and elsewhere]
  • The loss of a loved one
  • The national deficit
  • Hate, discrimination, and violence

Things which I believe are categorically not crisises

  • A bad hair day
  • World Cup matches
  • Someone drinking the last beer in the fridge and not replacing it
  • Feeling a sense of frustration, disenchantment, and/or being lost in your 20s

I think the second list is an example of things that happen in life that you have to deal with. Most of us have bad hair days; some of us have bad hair.  Sometimes a referee makes a bad call on a good goal.  On an occasion, I finish the house beer and wait awhile to get more.  And of course, most of us who are in the post-graduation haze live in shades of gray – it can be frustrating and disheartening but it can also be exhilarating and fulfilling.

Suggested changes to the term “quarter-life crisis”

  • Post-collegiate Party
  • Spontaneous Adulthood
  • Double Decade Disco
  • Being in your 20s and dealing with life

Truly, if you want to laugh at the ridiculousness that is attempting to jazz up dull age-related angst with fancy names, check out a great edition of The Hater at AV Club.