Inspiration does exist but it must find you working.
All of us experience humbling moments in life when quickly and suddenly, life shows you who is fucking whom from the back with little to no lube. The day after I got my life together and made those adult plans called doctor’s appointments, my brakes went out. They went out while I was driving. They went out while I was driving down a hill in morning rush hour traffic. No brake pressure and having to ride up a long winding hill without knowing how you’re getting back down again just sucks.
By all accounts, I handled the incident far too calmly as the story is inevitably met with shock that it didn’t end in an accident or my death. This problem also means two things:
- A tow truck and a couple hundred dollars in repairs or a new car.
- Since I didn’t exactly have the money or the time to have it fixed in time, SEPTA would be my means of transportation for the time being.
I’ve been driving since high school so this feeling of being carless is foreign and uncomfortable. At least there is a decent transit system where I live even if it is SEPTA who still thinks tokens and extra money to cross zones are necessary. An extra $10.00 a week plus the $25.00 for a weekly pass for a two hour commute in the morning via public though? And the evening commute is even longer! At least it’s a viable option.
A funny thing happened though. Despite being physically tired and emotionally weary with such a commute, I’m calmer? People still give me anxiety, but it’s not nearly as pronounced as it used to be. Plus, I’m a bit more comfortable with public transit. I should consider myself lucky that I don’t have to do this every day and remember my car privilege. Sure my anxiety has lessened, but for a non-morning person who is freshly carless, 5 AM is nothing less than barbaric. Goddammit, I miss my car.
*Pedestrian Swag is not mine and refers to a tumblr account managed by this human I know.
…your credit card reminds you that you’re on a budget.
In an uncharacteristic moment of disorganization (likely precipitated by lots of alcohol), I lost my credit card. On New Years. In Manhattan. Let the judgement commence. All done? And back to the story. So i lost my credit card, but since I’ve been making fairly intense financial resolutions and made the oh so grown up move of making a new and aggressive budget for 2015, I made another decision.
I would allow my new credit card to be sent, but not open or activate it for two weeks. That way, I could curb my spending long enough to both get my credit card balance to zero and enjoy said balance. How quickly one forgets just how many important places have one’s credit card information saved. It slipped my mind that this would prevent access to consumerist wonderlands like Etsy, Amazon and iTunes.
Barring access to iTunes was a mistake I knew would bite me in the ass. I had intended to investigate Little Dragon long ago, but hadn’t gotten around to it. Low and behold, last night, I found them on YouTube and ended up listening to the album thrice back to back. Two replays is usually the indicator light for my “I should buy this” alert, so this clearly needed to be obtained.
There’s nothing like a well placed, “Your credit card was declined,” from iTunes to sober you up from the high of buying and supporting art and into the reality which you willingly condemned yourself. Embarrassment, shame, confusion and resignation inevitably follow declined cards. Even from behind a screen, at home, with no one watching, you will end up butthurt. What could possibly be wrong? My money is good here!!! Then, the sobering reminder that I had, in fact, lost my credit card and the replacement was currently in another state, crept back into mind. It was by my own design that instant gratification had been snatched from my grasp. Sure, it was good for bank account but I needed that album!
I’ve been playing the album on YouTube ever since. Due to this…inconvenience, I’ll have to take a stroll over to the record shop soon instead. I recall this anecdote to say, I am now becoming aware of both my small “innocuous” purchases and my utter lack of self control. First step to recovery and all that.
There’s a word repeated to students and college grads everywhere: Networking. Rule number 13: Network all the time and everywhere. To get ahead in today’s world, networking is the key. So, when friends invite you along to meet famous people to network, you go. That’s how I met Ryan Nickulas from the show, “The A-List” which I have seen on occasion. But of course by occasion means, they showed a marathon and I was compelled to watch for hours. And on top of that, he and his staff were all incredibly nice! So, if you ever come into a couple hundred dollars to drop on a fly hair do, go to the Ryan Darius Salon. No seriously, they have tea there.
For this self-proclaimed misanthrope, networking and talking to people is never an easy thing to do. For the best friend to the misanthrope, it’s simple. So never mind that Ryan has celebrity status because my best friend A is magical and has the most awesome networking skills known to man. She should probably teach a class. Obviously she had a leg up because she had already developed a rapport with them already. But as soon as we set foot in Ryan’s beautiful three chair salon with its beautiful decor, luxurious smells of potpourri permeating through the air, an awesome playlist going and women with Chanel purses were seated in the chairs, a feeling crept into my gut. A distinct feeling that I was nowhere near fabulous enough to be in the room. This woman was wearing Chanel, Prada, God knows what else and dropping several hundred dollars to get her hair done on a Wednesday afternoon while I was wearing shoes from Target and a three dollar tee-shirt. How exactly am I supposed to start a conversation. Obviously mentioning that I got this neon yellow tee-shirt for an amazing three dollars is out of the question. Help?
A, however, doesn’t miss a beat and begins introductions and conversations as though she’d been there every week getting her hair done with products that, combined, cost half as much as my education. Still, she threw me a huge opportunity by inviting me to come with her and these lovely glamorous people who even invited me back. I have no clue if I’ll have money for that but still, the offer was lovely. A worked the room and inadvertently made new contacts that day with another customer. According to this networking guru, the trick is to act like you know what you’re talking about and keep the conversations going. If you get the chance to meet people, famous, connected or even just some one random, meet them. Engage them in conversation and try your damnedest to make an impression (and preferably a good impression). Even if you feel out of place, keep a firm spot in the conversations and ask questions. But most importantly, have friends with great networking skills so that you can watch them and hopefully it will rub off on you. That’s what I’m hoping for.
*I don’t own the photos. No suing.
There’s a period of time where you will literally feel like you’re in purgatory. Life after college Limbo is that rare beast that generations before us yearned to extend and you will be struggling to shorten. Trust me. I was just there. Think of the following four rules as guidelines to seeing if you are in fact residing in Post-Collegiate-Purgatory.
9. You are or will soon be unemployed. I mean, everyone that had previously graduated (mind you in decades past) that you talked to right before graduating joked about it and said, “Don’t worry. It won’t be for very long. You’ll find a job.” They were lying bastards. When they graduated, the price of water was also higher than the price of gas and even then we’re talking about numbers less than $1.50. In these awful economic crap-storms, unemployment becomes your post-college career. Get used to it. LinkedIn and the classifieds will sit at the top of your most visited websites list just after Facebook where you will fuss about how broke you are and how much you hate every last classmate that’s currently employed. Oh yeah, it’s gonna be loads o’ fun.
10. More time will be spent staring at the walls and philosophizing about why we’re all here than should ever be admitted out loud. So you know how people are always saying that not having a job will give you time to think and reflect upon your life and the decisions you’ve made. These people would be correct. The tricky part of this is exactly how much time you spend thinking. Albeit, this will undoubtedly be the first moment in a while where one’s school career can be looked back on and laughed at. You will laugh at how seriously you/or your classmates took trivial things like the SATs and for some the PSATs in high school. Or, at how when you got to college and spent your first night there in a dorm room away from home, you kind of missed your mom, her cooking and that stuffed animal you forgot to bring and cried yourself to sleep as a result. Or, you’ll laugh at how you thought all-nighters were a myth, until you lived through one. Reflect upon one of many nights spent either high, drunk, a combination of the two or bug eyed off of energy drinks. And don’t forget about that hilarious prank when somebody threw a steak at somebody’s dorm room door and everybody played it off while the owner of said door pitched a fit. Fun times. As you sit back and recall these events, your purpose in life will come under scrutiny. The question of what you’ll do with your life now that the greatest times are over will enter your mind over and over like an unwelcome guest who continually raids your fridge and eats all the good stuff. You’ll begin to pen your manifesto and from there, you may begin to resemble the Unibomber never leaving your room, muttering to yourself about the meaning of it all and scribbling things in your manifesto growling at anyone who touches it. Cue insanity. Cue number 11.
11. Throughout the course of your unemployment, you’ll experiment far more than you did in college if that was possible. To combat these symptoms of insanity and resemblance to the Unibomber, you’ll experiment with things you’d never touched in college. Mind you, this is a pretty short list by now, but you attack it with gusto for one of three reasons:
a. simply because it’s a time waster,
b. you need something to do to feel useful or alive,
c. honestly you’ve got nothing else better to do which leads me to my final pearl…
12. For the first six months, unemployment after college will feel like an extended vacation in which you can sleep late, watch T.V. and eat all you can lay your hands on. You can go out every night if you want and come home when you please because there are clearly no classes to worry about being hungover for. But, after that six month grace period is up, you’ll really be ready for life to start.
If more than 3 of these apply to you in any way, shape or form, then I’ll let you guess where you are.
We’ve already discussed that there are inevitably lessons that one will learn after college. And here’s something you’ll learn courtesy of our old pal, Facebook.
See, all those “friends’ you’ve been accumulating on Facebook since college will gradually show up on your newsfeed. And every time they do, it won’t be to announce that they’re having a party or got extremely drunk the night before or even that they’re graduating from Grad school. No. It will be to announce one of three major milestones that the child in you cringes to hear.
5. Friends will begin to get engaged at an alarming rate.
6. Friends will begin getting married at an alarming rate.
7. Friends will start having babies at an alarming rate.
The problem with hearing these proclamations of joy and receiving invitations to events in which you will be required to purchase gifts and attend sometimes awkward gatherings to celebrate them is yet another fact: this means you are in fact growing up. Boo. Hiss. Take back this declaration of encroaching adulthood. Yeah. Take it back now.
This is not an attack on anyone personally, nor am I suggesting that anyone actually lied to me. All I’m saying is, there’s some stuff about life after college that ya’ll forgot to mention. In fact, I’ve compiled a little list. There should have been a class of a book or something. Or, maybe these lessons seem much harsher since as a member of the “Boomerang Generation,” I and my contemporaries are pioneers in this brave new world of the 21st century American post-graduation lifestyle. And with no pomp and circumstance, bells, whistles or warning lights were these lessons forced upon me. Nah, they hit me like a bus and not all at once. But behold. Presenting…
Things they forgot to mention: the “Boomerang Generation’s” post college experience
2. You would gladly sell your kidney and half a liver any day of the week not to live with your parents again. Yes, the no rent situation can be pretty sweet plus free cable and, occasionally, groceries. Once in a while, they’ll even cook for you. But there’s still that little nagging issue: you once again live with your fucking parents. You may not have to get quarters for laundry but mommy breathing down your neck 24/7 is as certain as my Rottweiler being guilty of
murdering disappearing away rabbits that wander into the yard. I mean, in college, bootycalls could eat breakfast with your roommates and be out of the way before class…I mean if you’re into that. But now, there is mom. And siblings. And pets. And stepparents. Do you really want to explain to your mother why this strange man was sleeping in your room and why he may or may not be the same guy from last week? Nope, me neither.
3. Unemployment is not the exception. It’s the rule. Apparently everyone warned me that I might have trouble finding a job before I graduated. I must’ve tuned them out every time someone brought it up because I sure didn’t think they mean I would be chronically unemployed.
4. A quarter-life crisis is sure to be upon you within 6 months of graduation. The walls will start to close in and you’ll realize that the list you’ve so fastidiously constructed over the years will be ripped apart by fate, the universe, karma, the government and student loans. The first job you get that although everyone around you swears is only temporary, feels far to permanent for you to feel comfortable with it. A breakdown will be imminent. Go ahead. Break down, boo. You’ve earned it.
Now, this is just the first three. There’s a ton of information that someone should have told me. ANYONE could have told me. Experience may be the most ruthless teacher I may ever have and the only one I’d ever never question but all I’m asking for was a little bit of warning. Just a little! And fret, the rest of the list will be revealed incrementally.