I appear to have somehow ended up with what is commonly referred to as a “real job.” The kind that requires you to wake up at 6am and put on a pencil skirt.
In the past month, I have battled with my alarm clock repeatedly, stocked up on pencil skirts, and moved in to my little corner of the office (now complete with dinosaur).
Here are a few things I have learned while being a so-called adult:
- Snacks are a newly hugely important part of my life. They not only fill the hungry void in my stomach caused by my inability to eat a filling breakfast a) right after I wake up, especially if that’s at 6:30 in the morning, and b) quickly enough that I have time to both do the dishes and catch the Metro.
- It is very hard to find remotely healthy snacks that you can keep in a desk that won’t go bad. Right now I’m operating primarily with dried apricots and wasabi peas. Loooots of wasabi peas.
- School pictures are back! I guess they’re not called school pictures anymore, but the concept is the same: take a few minutes out of your day to line up and smile before heading back to the daily routine. I’m just waiting for the company yearbook.
- American ideas about air conditioning don’t make any sense. For the past few weeks it has been pushing 100 degrees (sometimes from above) outside, but being inside for an extended period of time requires a sweater. Or a parka. At least a snuggie.
- Oh yeah, my work gave all the employees company logo-embroidered blue snuggies during the company-bonding week that happened right after I started. The snuggies themselves are awesome, but the ability to wear a snuggie a) in public and b) in a business meeting in front of your boss’s boss is even more awesome.
- I have begun to say, “Have a Great Day!” compulsively, even when I’m not at work, which is a horribly insincere habit (once the line between polite and automatic has been crossed).
I have also learned what it means to do the same thing all day, every day (well, if we’re really being specific, for eight hours a day five days a week…but after a while it starts to feel like all day every day). I am claiming no credit to an original discovery here, as I’m sure nearly every working adult has felt similarly. It’s not called the daily grind for nothing! But wearing it certainly is. I miss the constant and varied stimulation inherent to college life, and, more broadly, I miss constantly using and stretching my brain. Here, there is always a niggling fear that if I’m not careful, the creative and analytical capabilities of my brain will atrophy, even as my typing fingers and wrists gain new strength. I am secretly a little bit afraid of becoming some sort of squishy automaton who forgets to take vacations if I stay at a desk job for an extended period of time.
I slightly more afraid of leaving the (only moderately!) reckless fun and late hours of my college years behind and becoming A Responsible Adult.
I find that I need to continually remind myself that while it may be more difficult for me to go out at night now, I have much more time to read books of my choosing and cook more elaborate meals (I’ve even seen a few movies!). I’m trying to read books in Italian and German and bike as much as possible to keep my brain and my body in shape. After all, it’s not so much that I have less time than I did in college (let’s be real—when I was in school I was always complaining about having too much to do) as it is that I am being slowly nudged towards patterning my life differently. While I may not be able to go out all night anymore, I can now afford to go out for dinner more frequently. So really, all that remains for me to do is take the time to find a sense of balance in my current routine, while still remembering not to settle in completely and forget about where I want to go next.
Have a Great Day!