Tuesday, May 08, 2012

It's just a number, ladies. How about yours?

Today, I am 32. Whoop de doo.

It’s kind of cool, actually. I’m not as subconsciously depressed about it as I was at 30 and 31, even though it’s true that the splintered door of death is ever closer. I guess being on movie sets and playing college students sort of eases the sting.

I never thought I’d be where I am right now, which is (nearly) the same place I was at this time last year. This coiled, steaming dungheap of retroactively useless and possibly harmful advice insists that you have to get all your stuff together in your 20s so that you aren’t homeless and/or dried up for the rest of your life. By the end of my 20s, I had a steady corporate job, my own apartment, a new car and little to no debt. Granted, I didn’t pump out a unit for its own sake, so I failed as the perfect American adult drone. That’s probably why now I’m a part-time movie extra playing characters who still have a few years to not fail in life. Must be my eyes.

I’ve learned that advice is mostly grains of salt, because life is always changing. And sometimes, even as it’s scary, change isn’t all that bad. As someone who always found the idea of settling in too early pretty frightening, I welcome that. I don’t always do the right or the most prudent thing. But when I do, I drink Dos Equis. Actually, I don’t drink much. And that would be a lame commercial.

But if anyone wants to shoot it, I’m available. I’ve got stories.

Stay thirsty. For life.

Now get off my lawn.


Nick Istre said...

Bah, in the "American tradition" of assigning blame, I'm blaming you for linking that article resulting in making me want to barf at work this early in the morning at the office... ;)

How the hell can anybody afford to live like that advice? I mean, when the average worker must earn $18.25/hr to afford rent and utilities on a modest two-bedroom rental unit, yet the average renter earns $14.15/hr, how the average twenty-somethings, who faced an unemployment rate of 12.3% last year (combined 20 to 24 and 25 to 29 for total population), afford to not have to move in with someone or still live with parents or relatives? And trying to add pumping out a child (if one wants to actually raise a family) on top of that?

Heck, I'll be turning 33 in exactly a month, and I'm still living in my dad's house. Yes, I'm renting from him. And I still split it with another housemate (in addition to my fiancee, but with her trying to go to school while working nearly full time, I end up picking up much of her part of the utilities and rent so we're not completely overwhelmed by school loans when we finally marry).

As a side effect, at the end of my 20s, I was just getting out of a period of unemployment, making 1/3 less than I was making straight out of college, and lost all medical and retirement benefits. And was probably getting out of a major depression, too. Let me tell you, networking and finding a job that I wouldn't want to blow my head off at the end of the day in such a mental state wasn't all that fun.

I really need to get to work instead of wasting time looking up and calculating numbers for this rant.

And er, happy birthday! And it looks like you're having a good time the movie extra bit. Might as well have some fun with your youth! ;)

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick, it has been a real treat reading the comments on that article. Sorry it made you barf. You're not alone. I think mops are moving briskly today.

The danger with writing an article like this is that you and I are going to read it as, "Ten ways you screwed up your life 2-3 years ago." And the thing is, I for one don't tend to want to be like the people who act as if they have it all together. I wouldn't trade places with them for any reason. It seems so connect-the-dots and boring.

I'm working right now on my own advice column for new graduates. One of my main points springs from this, that well-meaning people 30 years out of school don't understand what new graduates face today. You can't judge us by the norms of 1980. Most of my peers have tremendous work ethics, but on paper many of them look like slackers. It's not as easy as finding a job suited for your talents and education and going after it. Has it ever been that simple?

Nick Istre said...

"Has it ever been that simple?"

Apparently, it seems it was at some point. Or maybe only for certain people. But those are the only people that count, right?

Damn, sorry, let my snark out again...

Nick Istre said...

You know what? Sod that advice. It's terrible, and frankly, too situational. Instead, let's look at the top five regrets of the dying and turn those into advice:

1 - Live a life true to yourself, not the life others expected of you.
2 - Don't work so hard.
3 - Have the courage to express your feelings.
4 - Stay in touch with your friends.
5 - Let yourself be happy.

You know what? I like that set much better...

Ian McGibboney said...

Yes, that's good stuff for sure.