It's true! You know it's true.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
It's true! You know it's true.
I decided I needed to start my own blog after reading a bit of Jenny Blake's blog "Life After College." The industrious blogger and Google-employee now has a book deal, and was seeking reader responses via twitter on a few topics that hit close to home. (Considering I'm a few years out of college, that's not suprising.) So this is me, sort of pillaging her work but definitely giving her credit and even a big THANK YOU, since going through her topics helped to get my own brain juices rolling and figure out a few things about myself.
(I have the sneaking suspicion that I'm violating some sort of golden rule of blog ettiquette right now, despite the best of intentions, but let's roll with it and I'll make changes if necessary in the future.)
Life – Finish this sentence: When I graduated from college I wish I had known…
... that much of life in college is quite “spoon-fed” as compared to the “real world.” In college I was [comparatively] poor, overworked, perpetually exhausted, frequently drunk, dependant on coffee and suffering from malnutrition after 4 years of vending machine dinners and Sodexo breakfasts… but I was also being provided a wealth of intellectual stimulus, the chance to create and produce, and was inundated by opportunities to socialize with peers. The “real world” was different. People weren’t nearly as eager to make new friends (what?!!?). Lives were already established, routines were set and making a place for myself in a new city that didn’t really care whether I was there or not was far more difficult than expected. I always appreciated the generally open-minded attitudes of fellow students, but it wasn’t until after graduation that I realized what a unique community I’d been a part of. Grieving followed; I spent a lot of gas on pointless drives around the city and a lot of money on shirts I didn’t need from Urban Outfitters.
Money – What’s your philosophy when it comes to saving and/or spending money? Best tip?
… I’m one of the last people that can help you. However despite my irrational need for tank tops in EVERY color of the rainbow, I do pretty well by focusing on big goals and keeping them in mind when making smaller purchases. For example, I want a house/duplex/condo, and a sectional couch, and a plane ticket to Chile. This non-fat vanilla latte from Starbucks looks pretty good, but is it hurting my good friend House-With-Sectional-Couch? I couldn’t hurt them, I love them too much. Saving for retirement is farther away for me and harder to prioritize… but good luck to all of you!
Work – What is the best career advice anyone ever gave you?
… “Find something you’re passionate about, and you’ll always be okay,” my late Grandfather said to me on one of our last visits before he passed away. It seems pretty simple and easy to overlook, but it was his parting message to me and I took it seriously. It made me think about his own life, some of the unexpected messiness and bumps along the way, but also his persistent love of and energy for the work he did. I think it got him through his hard times, and some of his losses. My career is of a very different nature than his, but the excitement around it is the same thus far. I owe you, G-Pa.
Home – How can someone make the most of their living space? Any tips for living with roommates?
… Be creative about making open space in small apartments. I’m a big fan of the Apartment Therapy blog for ideas. Respect the subtle impact a pleasant living space has on your general psyche. A dreary, cramped apartment never ruined my day, but it sure as hell brought me down in the long run. The next year I lived in a cute little house with natural light, a bed that I could sprawl in and a delightful lack of noise pollution from my next-door neighbors. I’ll take children laughing over couples arguing any day. Whatever “pleasant” means to you, make it happen. Even if you’ll only be there for a few months- nest just a little bit. Buy a candle, get a plant and wash the grime off the walls of your criminally cheap (but aesthetically lacking) downtown apartment. Mommy isn’t going to do your interior decorating anymore, and we’re getting a bit old for dorm room chic. (Unless you really prefer cavernous rooms dotted with dusty thrift store couches and curling posters of bands you actually don’t listen to very often. Sober up; it was the beer and the newfound freedom we liked, not the décor.)
Organization – What’s one technique you use to stay organized and/or manage your time effectively?
… Use the day planner (even when you don’t feel like it or are sure you’ll remember) and do some banking once a week. It will make you feel dowdy, but the alternative is feeling like your getting an ulcer every time you overdraft your account and forget that doctor’s appointment you scheduled 8 months ago. (If that’s a habit of yours, no worries, I speak from experience.)
Friends & Family – How do you keep in touch and make time for friends and family after college? Strategies for meeting new people?
… We have facebook now, this shouldn’t be too hard, but going out of your way to catch up with people in person is important too. If you’re like me, graduation corresponded with the explosion of your friends across the globe. Someday you won’t have 14 friends living in Europe that can lend you a couch and you might as well visit them while you’re young and energetic. Be open to new friendships, but make opportunities to meet new people as well. Chances are that that office job wont fulfill all of your social needs, so join a dance class, read your Sunday paper in a coffee shop and essentially start doing for yourself what you never realized your students union was doing for you all along.
Dating & Relationships – What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from past (or present) relationships?
… You’ll probably make the same mistake twice. It’s ok. Get over it. At least some of it must have been a good time!
Health – What diet, exercise or health habits have helped you stay healthy after college?
… I haven’t. I would however advise others and myself to commit to the gym, find ways to make fitness social, and learn how to do things you never did as a kid. How the hell does a person hang glide? No idea? Go find out. (Be spontaneous. It’s totally sexy.)
Fun & Relaxation – How do you make time for fun & relaxation after college? Any tips for doing both on budget?
… If anything, staying busy after college was my challenge. I went from 500 km/hr to a few clicks a day. Make goals outside of your job. You can be a lot more than your occupational title.
Personal Growth – What has been your biggest blessing-in-disguise life experience since graduating from college?
… Getting my ass kicked by life in general. New jobs are hard, boyfriends are hard, losing friends is hard, letting go of childhood is hard and watching people move away is hard. I had to find ways to adapt more quickly and embrace a much larger geographical area than ever before. ‘Town’ or ‘City’ isn’t going to be my world anymore, ‘North America’ is. (Hopefully with frequent guest appearances from New Zealand, Chile… etc.) I feel more capable of building a life all on my own now. If the world ever requires me to hurl myself into the great unknown again, I have a better idea of what I need to make it work and how I can make that a positive experience right away. It sucked at first- big time. For a long time. Then it was palatable. Then it was fun sometimes. Eventually, it was my other home. I know myself better, and I’m more capable now. Challenge yourself- the hard things are usually the ones worth doing.
Extra Question: What general advice do you have for recent college graduates?
… Planning doesn’t really work. Just do the best you can with today. (This in no way lets you off the hook academically though- get your degree.)
Extra Question: Finish this sentence: Life after college is… a much bigger clusterfuck than I was told, and more of a disappointment than I’d ever expected… but a few years later it’s started to fit, and it’s started to be really great. It’s a slow build guys.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
(Okay, that's a bit of stretch since I actually generated about 30 odd names and when they all seemed as ridiculous I just picked the first one and went with it.)
It was actually pretty fun, you might want to try it.
So why the fake name? An entirely fabricated stage name chosen without respect to meaning or connection to my own life? Why start a blog with a lie?
After a sizable chunk of my time has been spent reading the blogs of others, a good 20 or so of them, for the last few months I started to think "me too! me too!"
However, online exhibitionism, even in the form of cute-quirky 20 something blogging communities, is problematic for me.
a.) I have a job that demands a level of personal privacy. (If you interpret this to mean that I am a highly trained spy, I'll enjoy that, but what it really means is that I don't make fancy coffees or flip burgers for money anymore.)
b.) I just actually have trouble with the thought of people I already know reading whatever I might write on here. Strangers are fine. I'm not sure why. I can psycho-analyze that later.
So what can I tell you about me, to get the ball rolling so that I can start indulgently publishing blog posts about all of the things I'm not supposed to talk about ?
- I'm from Narnia! (I'm North American.)
- I'm humanitarian.
- I need anonymity to be able to speak freely about certain things on a blog.
- I haven't quite decided what those things will be yet.... we'll see.
- I once swore that I would never be addicted to coffee because it was too cliche, but it happened anyway.
- I'm pretty sure my QLC (quarter life crisis) is over, and it was a Bitch, so that's good news.
- I pop by at least 10 different fashion blogs a day. I like clothes.
- Contrastingly, accumulating "stuff" makes me feel gross and over-consumer-ey these days.
- This causes me great stress when deliberating at the shopping mall. The inner compulsive shopper wins out about 30% of the time.
- I like lots of creative, trippy indie music, but I also enjoy dancing to pop music in my basement all alone. Really, really embarrassing pop music.
- I'm over educated and under-employed. (Can't be a hipster any other way!)
- I keep trying to read Rushdie but so much happens in a page that I get distracted, feel like I need to re-read everything three times and thus have failed to ever finish a book since I go through it so slowly.
I could go on... but I mean I could go on forever, so let's just wrap it up and keep it tidy. I don't really know what I'm doing here... but I'm pretty sure that's how many blogs start.