You become a legal adult at the age of 18 in the United States, but you aren’t really. Generally, when you turn 18, you’re still in high school and living at home. After that, there’s college. Drinking all night, sleeping until 11 a.m. and playing Halo all day, every day, hardly constitutes an adult.
Now that I’m done with college, it’s starting to set in that the real world is knocking at my door (or kicking it in without a search warrant). Before, adulthood was something in the distant future. I was working toward a degree; there was a finish line in the distance that I couldn’t yet see. But before I knew it, the race was over.
Now, to the point of this post. Lately, I’ve started to notice signs that I’m entering adulthood. I’m not completely there yet, but the process has started.
The tie. Is there a more universal symbol of the man? A silk noose that chokes away all your hopes and dreams. Okay, maybe that’s a little melodramatic. But I am starting to see ties in my everyday life more often.
When I was younger I had few occasions for ties. Once in a while, there was a dance, a graduation or maybe the odd wedding, but that was about it. I didn’t have the need for a rack full of ties. But now there are more weddings (which I’ll get to later), more graduations, more job interviews, more award banquets and, sadly, more funerals. My collection of about four ties has expanded to 15 or 20.
Gone are the days when I could wear a pair of khakis and a polo to a job interview. Now it’s all business. I find myself buying a tie because it would work well with a certain dress shirt or because I have an interview coming up. Ties are almost a necessity.
Weddings used to be a rarity. Every five or six years I would attend one or hear tell of a friend or relative tying the knot. Now that I’m into my 20’s It seems like I hear about a wedding every other week.
My cousins, my friends from college and my friends from high school are all getting married. “Did you hear ____ is getting married!?” and digital photos of meticulously cut gemstones are becoming constants in my life. I don’t know, maybe it just seems like it because I hear about (and see) every engagement, every wedding and every baby via Facebook.
One thing is for sure, though. I won’t be getting married anytime soon.
I was a stereotypical annoying teenager. I’m not proud of it, but it happened. I was especially bad in middle school and my first year of high school. My friends and I were guilty of emulating Jackass and CKY. We loitered at convenience stores; We talked and threw popcorn during movies; We sneaked out after curfew; We skateboarded where we shouldn’t have; We basically drew the ire of anyone 18 or older.
The tables have turned, though. I’m the older buzzkill. Whether I’m at a department store, restaurant or baseball game, I constantly get irritated by adolescents. I’m the one telling teenagers to, “Shut up!” at the movies. I’m the one shaking my head and mumbling, “Damn kids.” Basically, I’m turning into my Dad. When I was younger I thought he was being a gruff old man. It turns out he was right, and now I realize what an incredible pain in the ass I was.
Calling It A Night
In college, not partying until the crack of dawn was immediate grounds for being called a nancy-boy. My friends and I would go to a party or bar until we were kicked out, go to an afterhours and then go to a greasy spoon diner. Then we would do it AGAIN the next night and maybe the next night. Just typing that, I realize how ridiculous that cycle was.
That type of night rarely happens now. It doesn’t happen for many reasons. One, I’m living in a quiet suburb rather than a college town. Two, I’m living at my parent’s home in quiet suburb. Three, I have interviews to go to and a job search to conduct. Four, I just can’t drink like that anymore.
A Considerably Different Facebook Page
A couple of years ago, my friends, peers and even I would post almost anything on Facebook. Profile picture featuring a beer bong? Check. Status questioning the boss’ or teacher’s manhood? Check. Drinking listed as an “interest”? Check. Besides all that, a lot of people’s profiles were relatively public (by their own choosing). But thanks to law enforcement and potential employers using Facebook and Facebook’s creepy disregard for privacy, many people turned their profile private, removed information from their profile or deleted their profile completely.
As my college graduation loomed, I noticed a trend on Facebook. The vast majority of my friends made all their “tagged” pictures private, edited/purged their personal information and posted a plain, family-friendly profile picture. I even know several people who have two profiles: One for friends with a slightly altered name and one for professional purposes. It’s understandable. The fact is, employers are looking at Facebook and how you represent yourself is how you represent the company. There’s no sense in losing a job because of that picture of you with a bottle of tequila, a stripper and a lack of pants.
Speaking of jobs…
Unemployment Is Embarrassing
My Dad comes from the “We’ll work, your job is to study and go to college” school of thought. Although recently, he’s moved to the “Now you can work so you can get out of my house” camp.
Growing up, I was lucky. I come from a middle-class family. It wasn’t necessary for me to work in high school. The only reason to have a job was for extra spending money, which was usually spent on video games and CDs. Toward the end of high school, I had a seasonal part-time job. I also had part-time jobs during college summers and a part-time job for the entirety of my senior year of college. But when I didn’t have a job it wasn’t a big deal. I was studying to earn a degree and if I had to, I could always hit up my parents for $20 here and there. As long as that was the case, no one asked any questions. But now…
I’m done with school and that means I’m supposed to get a job. I’ve been trying, but opportunities have been few and far between. At parties or other social functions it’s embarrassing when someone (a family friend or family member) asks what I’m doing. Usually my Mom answers before I can, “Well, he’s been looking for a job. He’s had a couple of interviews but nothing so far…” I prefer that to my Dad’s introductions. On several visits to his workplace, he introduced me as “my unemployed son.”
I know the economy still isn’t great and the print media industry is struggling, but I still get the suspicion that when people find out that the I’m unemployed they think, “Really? You couldn’t find a job in all the time since graduation?” Also, living at home has really made me feel like a freeloading loser.
But that might be changing soon. More details on that to come later. In the meantime, enjoy this motivational poster: