Getting Whiplash as a Boomerang
College was great. In fact, you kicked its intellectual ass and have the blood-stained diploma to prove it. It didn’t quite live up to the expectations that early 2000s movies set, but who cares? You were free. No parents, endless parties, dishes in the sink, and bongs on the table. Life was easy.
If you worked a part time job, didn’t pay for college, and, I don’t know, tripped over some fabergé eggs lying in a nest of black-tar heroin, maybe you could afford an apartment straight out of college. But the rest of us have to go back to the stale reality we moved away from in the first place. After years of independence and crucial character development, the majority of us are rewarded with slightly altered bedrooms and the risk of running into our gym teacher at the grocery store. Welcome home.
For some unknown reason, I decided around my sophomore year of college that I would cram the remainder of my classes together and finish one year early with two minors and zero job prospects. I thought I could gather my shit together in enough time to rent an apartment and loiter for what would have been my senior year. Instead, I took advantage of the open alcohol policy in Savannah and ignored my fate until it was time for the 1,000 mile drive of shame back to the Chicago suburbs.
Most opportunities require some dirty work before the real deal. Coffee, cold calls, useless paperwork—we’ve all seen The Devil Wears Prada. But once the dues are paid and the piper is pied, you expect to have a job blossoming into a career. That is, you will once you actually get out there and stop hanging in post-graduation limbo.
I’ve been home for three weeks, or maybe it’s been a month. Either way, I’ve left the house five times and gotten out of the car on three of those occasions. Maybe it’s because I’m on season three of Gossip Girl, but it feels like every time I leave the house, someone is going to peek out from behind a TJ Maxx sales rack and take a photo of me buying pants yet another size bigger, or tell my ex that I’m kinda sorta dating his friend now.
If you want to spend the next six months drooling on your untouched copy of King Lear, no one is going to mark you absent, but when Christmas rolls around, and Grandma Ang asks you how it feels to be a working girl, you better have some answers.
The longer you sweep things under the rug, the bigger the mess you have to clean up later. College was one thing, but the endless ether of adulthood is another. At least before, there were assignments and schedules. Now, the only structure you can rely on is your own, and I don’t know about you, but homework was the only thing that got done in school. How do you gain the motivation to start your life when you can’t even start your laundry?
Just like a diet, the solution isn’t a temporary fix, but rather a lifestyle change. Eating vegetables for two months won’t save your hips from that whole cheesecake, but a healthy lifestyle allots a slice or two on the weekends. The time is nigh, so get ahead while you’re young before it’s too late, you’re overweight, and you’re scraping to get by at thirty five. Use whatever motivation you have left from deadlines and do something. Get your yearly checkups in, cut your hair, or grow it out. Reconnect with someone—anyone—and get out of the house. Rekindle your relationship with the kitchen and make a decent meal. Finally lose that freshman 15, or sophomore 30 in my case. Take a tolerance break.
Or maybe just start with the hair. Baby steps.