I haven’t gone out in a few weeks. Not because I don’t want to; by the time Friday rolls around, I have no desire to be around people. The rationale that “the money spent out could be spent on vacations or paying off student loans” also runs riot in my head. Mostly, I don’t feel like getting dressed.
Growing up, it was always off to some form of camp, volunteering or sporting event. The thing is, when you make time for things you want to do when the rest of your day is already full, something’s gotta give. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to see why I didn’t do as well as I could have. Beating up your past self over what you know now is a waste of time but it still doesn’t make you think. I’m sure like me, many of you got the “my house my rules” spiel and did things your parents wanted you to do like play baseball or be in the choir or whatever.
My plate was always full, I was constantly tired, and as a result, my grades were shit. I took all the AP courses but while C’s and B’s get degrees, it doesn’t get you college scholarships. I was too burnt out to do any homework that couldn’t be done during lunch or study hall. Now I feel like Jacob Marley telling all my younger cousins to “do your fucking homework”, much like everyone else told me. In the end, they will likely go through the same process I did.
Going to college was one of the best times of my life. I learned a lot about myself. I made friends that I speak to often and consider like family. However, the largest lesson learned was that I need time to decompress. This isn’t specific to me, but maybe you’re lucky and don’t. Living and dying by the nap is no way to make it through life, and I graduated with honors and two degrees in four years after I was able to make my own schedule.
At 30, no one cares your college major or GPA. No one cared at 24 either. As someone on the other end of postgrad life, it’s nice to know that academic achievement doesn’t define a person. I’d venture to say the $650 pound of flesh I pay every month is the price paid to learn that lesson because I. The only definitive thing I can say is that achieving a college degree gets you your first job and everything else is up to you.
Getting older is about understanding yourself. While some people may be able to burn themselves at both ends of the candle, I learned that I cannot. It’s an expensive lesson but one that I needed to learn. Striking a balance between having fun, getting your shit done, and having time for yourself takes practice. My first few years of post-grad life were still pretty much living for the weekend to binge drink and nurse a hangover watching college football. Now I allow myself once a week to get turnt. I don’t have any idea how I used to be drunk 3-4 times a week as my hangovers now last at least a full day, sometimes bleeding over for two.
I try to remind myself that it’s not a bad thing to want to hang out and do your own thing. Sometimes I feel like we’re in that Black Mirror episode, the one where the guy was bombarded by advertisements and he had to pay to get rid of them. I was looking at pillows the other day and surprise, every fucking add is now GOD DAMN PILLOWS I ALREADY HAVE A PERFECTLY GOOD PILLOW. The point is, this stuff wears me out, along with sitting in an office all day, meetings about nothing and pleasant topical banter wears you out. Do that five times a week and by Friday, that date with the couch and some pajamas looks increasingly appetizing.
Do your thing people and enjoy life. No one ever said on their death bed, “I wish I didn’t hang loose more often.”