At the risk of being deemed a stereotypical millennial…
Who actually feels prepared for all of life’s offerings? According to my 24-year-old self, society does not do a great job at preparing you for various life experiences. To be perfectly honest, entering adulthood felt like a giant slap in the face. I remember starting my first adult job after graduating college. I was so pumped to be making $34,000 a year only to realize that I would still need to share an apartment with a couple of other people if I did not want to get shot while taking my dog out at night. I worked in an office where people could care less about my training or career. In the beginning, I felt so clueless and alone. Adulthood has a way of doing that to a person. I know I am not alone so why do we not talk about this stuff more?
Why do we not openly discuss smart financial planning? Why do we not talk about how hard it is to cook every night of the week? Why do people not tell you how frustrating it can be to raise a high-energy puppy? Why are we not real about marriage, in-laws and sex? I realize that some of this stuff requires real time experience in order to truly understand. But I do think we could be more raw, honest and real with one another. Maybe then more people would have better luck figuring their shit out. Interestingly enough, I recently attended a training for therapists about couples counseling. The trainer said something that really struck me. He said, “the idealistic expectations of young people in relationships are crushing them.” Is idealism just part of the human condition?
Here is an example. I met, dated and married a kind, smart and “mostly wonderful” man. Funny story… I frequently read an amazing blog, Blind Motherhood, where the author refers to her husband as “mostly wonderful.” As an unmarried person, I just did not understand why she called her partner that. I remember thinking, “shouldn’t you always think your partner is amazing and wonderful?” Bahahahaha…. Wow, I was so naïve. Needless to say, I now understand why the author calls her husband “mostly wonderful.” Ten months of marriage has taught me that marriage is hard. You are going to fight. You are going to disagree. You are going to dislike one another and say terrible things. Also, really difficult and challenging things just happen. Not everything can be completely wonderful and amazing all the time. Yeah, sometimes there are many joyful, blissful and seemingly perfect moments. But in the end, you are just 2 mostly wonderful people that come together to make a mostly wonderful life. Sorry guys… I’m kind of a pessimist. When it comes down to it though, I love my husband to the moon and back times infinity.
College was a place that made perfect sense to me. I took the classes and learned the things. My professors seemed to care about my success and helped me excel. Friends were fairly easy to come by and accommodations were within mostly easily accessible reach. I am not saying I did not have trials in college but I am saying that it was nothing like the real world. I remember seeing glimpses of the real world but I could just go have a girl’s night at the dollar theatre with my roomies and those ugly images would all just go away.
Maybe I am glamourizing my college life… Nostalgia often clouds the memory. But truthfully, I know for a fact that I did not feel prepared for the outside. I am not sure what really could prepare you for all the things that life brings. Maybe a go with the flow and figure it out kind of attitude? That is what is getting me through so far, despite not always being the best at it.
I look back on my younger days and remember being so idealistic. I know I am still young but my 24 years on this earth have taught me a few things. Life is hard and gray and messy and joyful and hilarious and sad. Some people care about you but most people do not; however, most people are doing their best to not be complete ass holes. So you know what? Give people the benefit of the doubt. Try not to be an ass hole. And above all… Go with the flow and figure it out! If you have any advice for this 20 something, please feel free to leave it in the comments.