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PRETTY YOUNG FAIL

surviving a millennial world

Month

July 2015

The Post-grad Paradox

I have been out of college for 2 months, one week, and four days, and I’m pretty much done. I have retired to my childhood home in the suburbs of Minnesota (there’s a euphemism for “living with the parents” you’ve never heard) and every time someone, a hairdresser, an aunt, a sorely misguided friend, shouts: “Congratulations on graduating!” I am hard-pressed not to slap them across their well-meaning face. I can handle graduation cards, but only if they have enough ten-dollar bills wedged between the pages for me to abandon them, unread, in a nearby recycling bin without cringing. The other night I found one in the mail from my uncle that I accidentally scanned in my search for money, and found the halfhearted words: “Your 20s are the best years of your life.”

This gave me pause, but only because I was sure I’d heard it before. I was sprawled dramatically across the living room couch, resembling a sad satire of Rose asking Jack to paint her like one of his French girls in The Titanic, even more so because I was still clad in my towel, and I studied the oversized letters again. Your 20s are the best years of your life. How?

I was seized by the sudden desire to call my poor, unsuspecting uncle, and go off on him. “Hey, Uncle Jim. Just so you know, I’ve had 11 ‘informational interviews.’ 11. I hate my parents for telling me that I should ‘follow my heart’ and I hate my 6th grade teacher for telling me that I was ‘gifted’ because no one wants a creative writing major. Zero people. I could call up J.K. Rowling herself and apply to be her assistant’s assistant’s assistant, and she would laugh aloud, and say: ‘Shouldn’t you have a marketing degree?’ All of my friends live in different states. The closest one is New York. New Fucking York. Today I made Kraft mac and cheese when I woke up at 1pm, and it turned out soggy. I couldn’t even make it. I’ve started watching Cupcake Wars on Netflix and I don’t even like it, I don’t even like cupcakes, I think they’re just overrated mini-cakes with the wrong proportion of cake-to-frosting that are slightly too big to comfortably fit in your mouth, but I have nothing better to do with my time. I went to the urgent care the other day for my bronchitis and the nurse offered to get me a job application to be a scribe.”

I could go on, but fortunately for both of us, I never made this phone call. Instead, I poured myself a glass of cheap white wine, watched breathing technique videos online to calm myself, and went back to my job search.

This blog goes out to floundering liberal arts grads everywhere who are torn between resigning themselves to a full-time job as a Starbucks barista in their home town and going to grad school to become an accountant. You’re not alone. You are young and resilient and passionate and creative, and you know what? We’re going to make it. We were strong enough to shotgun that beer because our roommate was racing us, even though we really didn’t want to. We were strong enough to stay up watching the sunrise so we could finish (read: write) that 18-page paper on magical realism, and to somehow finagle an A on it. We were strong enough to make it that week when the only groceries in our apartment were bread, apple sauce, and Nature Valley bars because the grocery was seriously miles away and we didn’t have a car.

We are sure as hell strong enough for this.

On the Taylor/Nicki feminist feud

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How to behave when you’re in your 20s and home for the holidays

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-Sleep until noon or 1 every single day and ignore your mom’s sarcasm when she brightly says “Good morning!” as you stumble into the kitchen

-Avoid any social obligations with anyone, ever, because you are a busy girl and you need to relax

-Complain LOUDLY when there is no more skim milk because what the hell is this establishment? What are you supposed to use on your cereal, 2 percent? What, is this prison?

-Drink with your siblings every night

-Ask your mom to please get you a glass of water because you don’t plan on moving from the couch anytime soon

-Watch 10-20 hours of Netflix a day because you obviously don’t usually have time for such things

-Prepare mentally for questions from relatives like “So what do you see yourself doing in five years?” or “How’s your love life?” or “What have you been reading lately?”

-invent an imaginary guy you’ve been seeing–his name is Logan. He’s 25, he’s in med school, and he’s going to be preposterously rich. He supports all of your decisions, and HE doesn’t think you should go back to school to make more money.

-Consider working out but then decide that would get in the way of your relaxing time, and besides, you have a cold

-Play up your cold to momentous levels—you have the Black Death. You cannot stand on your own. You cannot load the dishwasher. You cannot move.

-Consider doing work at home but decide you definitely have time later

-Eat everything your mom makes you, and take third helpings. Make sure you save some to take home to “Logan.”

-Take naps when “Scandal” gets to be emotionally draining and you need a release

-Practice stand-up comedy around your family

-Decide you definitely should pursue it, you just have the wrong audience

-Argue with your brother about Taylor Swift vs. Bruno Mars and tearfully defend her because she is just so misunderstood. And also if there is a hell, it will be filled with identical fedora-clad Bruno Marses playing Uptown Funk. On loop.

-Go to the liquor store by yourself to stock up on wine

-Tell your mom that no, you promise you don’t have a drinking problem

-Go to movies with your siblings and argue about the plot and what you would review it and how you would improve it if you were to make your own movie company and produce the same movie

-Eat everything in the fridge and avoid scales at all costs

-Decide to watch every single Harry Potter movie in a row and feel accomplished—no, proud—when you do it

-Wear clothes that your mom hates so that she will feel compelled to take you shopping

ex: Mom: God, I hate that sweater. And those jeans don’t fit you.

You: Mom, it’s really all I have.

-Scour cute baby pictures of yourself for future Instagrams

-Call one of your high school friends to talk about that weird girl whose Facebook says she is pregnant already and what the hell?

-Lie in your childhood bed, and remember doing so countless other times in your life. Where has the time gone? Why did you pick this color scheme? Pink looks absolutely absurd with brown. Nothing is pink and brown. Except perhaps a questionable dip-dye job.

-Consider your own mortality, study your participation ribbons for Level 3 swimming lessons, and allow tears of inexplicable nostalgia to fill your eyes.

-Sabotage every family picture, because God knows you don’t want this to be your Christmas card

-Struggle to convince your parents that you are a grown, responsible adult while simultaneously asking if they can please make you a snack; you’re a tad hungry.

Stars- they’re just like us

…except that when they have 4th of July parties they’re clad with famous supermodels, one of whom probably bought all of these designer flag towels.

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Wait, such a serious question: who takes these pictures? Was Taylor like, hey, housekeeper, can you try to take pictures of us all jumping from like 12 yards away until you get one where we are all mid-air, looking like a flawless ad for High School Musical: young & loaded edition?

when you decide to start a notebook tracking your job search #progress #passion #power

Hey gorgeous!

Because let’s face it, successful you are not. I mean, me either. I’m not trying to come at your life here.

Are your broke but unable to save your money because what are you supposed to do, NOT buy clothes?

Do you make plans with your friends but then cancel on them because you’d rather watch Netflix with your mom?

Are you a recent grad who misses college so much that on graduation day your mom told you you looked like an “over-dramatic girl leaving summer camp”?

Sit down, join me. Wait, but only if you brought wine.

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