A few reasons why college was not, in fact, necessarily easier than the real world.

 

Happy birthday, Dad.

(I’ll get you something nice

to make up for this post!)

 

For years, every single time I bemoaned struggles with school in front of him, I received some variation of this: “Yes, and the real world is soooo much easier.”

(Because, clearly, one thing isn’t allowed to be hard if another is harder. Really, Dad, it was just awful logic. Also, super mature.)

To be fair, the teasing came most when I was dreaming of when I would finally be out of school; when I talked about how much I just wanted it to be over and done. There was some value to it, even, a reminder that graduation would never be a cure all, and that I should still enjoy what I had.

But mostly it just drove me crazy.

(This includes a few days ago, when after my bemoaning the trickiness of getting a sublet application approved amidst freelance deadlines, he remarks, “Aren’t you glad this is so much easier than college?” Actually Dad, seeing as I only have two deadlines and a move across town instead of five finals and a move back to Florida, it probably is.)

So without further ado, here’s my answer to Dad, in list form.

Why you were wrong:

1. I have these things called evenings now. (And nary an evening class during them!)

2. When I leave my workplace, I leave my work.

Ok, so those first two are essentially the same thing, but both are amazing. Even though I’m constantly aware that there are still dozens of more productive things I could be doing any given evening, the fact that once in awhile I can do absolutely none of it and NOT fail a class? Brilliant.

To be fair, it does ignore my freelance work, but most of the time I can stop working when I leave MP.

3. Hello, income. Yes, there’s bills, and yes, I’m currently only part-time + freelance. But when you made sure you found the cheapest-but-decent apartment you could in Chicago for the first year, it suffices with just a bit of budgeting. Money in college? Not exactly a thing.

Ever.

4. No student life guide! No RAs, no deans, no dress code—just self-accountability and my own common sense. Hallelujah. Does this mean my lifestyle, or even what I wear, has changed much? Not really, no. But that’s really the point—my decisions get to be, gasp, my own!

5. I have my own apartment. No more dorm living! This one hardly needs explaining. But if I had to add one more thing, it’s this: a real kitchen.

6. And since most of time I provoked Dad’s wit (read: sarcasm) I was under a lot of school-stress, here’s the big one: Less stress. Oh, of course there’s still stress. Post-graduation adult life has plenty of stress. I’m tired a lot, I’m learning to freelance in my “free” time, and a whole lot of these responsibilities take up more time just because they’re new—but it never reaches the stress level of a heavy finals week (or even one of the multi-project deadline weeks!).

And even though I’m aware that at any time something could flatten me with a veritable steamroller of stress (even worse than moving?!), that fact was still on the table IN college. But finals? Unless I cave someday and get the grad-school disease, finals are OFF the table.

How do I know this is an true blue example of why you were wrong? Because I recently did a extra-stressful week of work and freelancing and doctors appointments at the same time my boyfriend did his second to last week of college finals.

And comparing the two? He won. Everyday.

 

But since it’s your birthday, here’s why you were still wrong, but admittedly less so:

1. The commute. Ok, this is definitely not one you would have mentioned, so really it’s just lucky. Mind you, I didn’t mind my commute (much) this past year. It was an hour door to door, and I got a lot of reading done, anything from blogs to tweets to actual books.

But every so often I stopped and actually thought about the fact that I spent two hours every day on public transit… and it hurt a little.

(But considering I’m about to move to an new apartment MUCH closer to work [15-minute bus ride close], this one is rather moot.)

2. The pressure to be forming my life. I talked about this a little in this post about the first post-graduation year being hard, and I’m sure I’ll talk about it again: the pressure of your twenties being a supposed “foundation” is terrifying. I can barely make myself cook more than two days in a row, not to mention sleeping like a reasonable person: this had better not actually be the the bedrock of my entire life.

3. Then there’s just the massive amount of different things to figure out, learn, master. I’ve started to say to myself that this feels a lot like a bottleneck: there’s too many things in too small a space. It’s just going to take time to slowly trickle out into a manageable normality.

4. Goodbye, income. Because rent and bills and part-time + freelance. There’s a delicate tension between this and the number three up above, and I affectionately call it Discover.

5. This last number is just here to acknowledge that I understand there is still a vast number of things that can be stressful or hard about adulthood. I haven’t hit them all, but I see some of them up ahead.

Oh, and apartment hunting is the worst.

 

Why it doesn’t really matter:

Being a student was difficult. And by that I mean, I cried a lot. Sometimes I cried, or prayed, or spent all night in the student newspaper office alternating between weeping and praying and throwing things and actually typing whatever awful Greek paper was that night’s bad luck.

I also loved quite a bit of it.

It was wonderful, but exhausting.

And while there were plenty of “adult” stresses that you don’t have to deal with while still in school, half of those are just because you wouldn’t have time or energy for them anyways.

On the flip, graduating is hard. Transitioning to adulthood is hard. Finding apartments is hard, changing jobs will someday be hard, moving and marriage and children and providing and managing and all of those things, those will be hard too.

It’s all going to be hard, because wouldn’t you know it, life is hard.

And if I stop now and look at those I know in school and think, how lucky you are to not have to deal with all this!, then I’m just fooling myself. And if I assume that 20 years down the line everything will be peonies and cinnamon cupcakes, I’m fooling myself again.

So maybe I ought to just focus on the first list: the grand things about this part of life, and not those that are more difficult than college. Will I, really? Probably not, not all the time, but it’s still the better way.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to be completely distracted by the thought of a cinnamon cupcake.

Moving week!

Oh hey, it’s a few minutes after midnight, isn’t this a great time to write a blog?

Yes, yes it is.

Last week I posted a general update detailing (well, briefly) how I was about to move—and didn’t have a place to move into yet.

Well, good news!

That afternoon, the sublet with ridiculous income requirements I had applied to called and told me that, actually, since my co-signer was outside of Cook county (and their lawyers don’t like to go out of Cook county), they had decided to go with another applicant.

Wait, wasn’t this good news? 

HOLD ON.

I responded, “So get new lawyers!” No, no, actually I calmly (at least, outwardly) reminded her of another option I’d provided, and she went off to check on it and call me back.

She calls back: actually, since this was the 3-month sublet (and not a different 6-month one), I was fine. I got the place.

Should I be annoyed that they got my application mixed up with another listing and provided me with a half hour of pessimistic angst while I should have been working on, well, my job?

Nah. You see, these people didn’t even know the original renter was planning to sublease. She posted the apartment, showed it on Sunday, and sent interested applicants on their merry way to the realty groups office without ever telling them.

Which means whoever first looked at my application must have been mighty confused, and they still got back to me in pretty decent time.

The moral of the story: apartment hunting in Chicago is a grand pain in the rear.

The point of the story: I move Tuesday. (And my commute will be 40 minutes shorter both ways thereafter!)

I have officially packed almost nothing, due to some freelance proofreading work, the fact that until a couple of days ago I was still trying to actually get a place, and the fact that I went gallivanting off the to suburbs to waste time hanging out with family. (Family: the most effective time drain since Netflix, and yet we love them.)

Wait, did I just call family a time drain? When they’re about to help me move across the city? NO, NO I DIDN’T. I SWEAR. THEY’RE WONDERFUL.

… I’ll go now.

 

 

A post to keep you posted

Ok, blog update, here it is.

I’m moving across the city next week.

Oh, where to?, you ask.

Well, see, that’s a funny story! Because I actually don’t know yet.

But it’s next week!

Uh huh.

I’d tell you the story, but the story is complicated and has many, many possible rabbit trails that I would make you suffer through. Additionally, I’m very hopeful to get a call this afternoon letting me know if I have the studio I applied for — so it would be awfully silly to take the time when the story might change for the good any moment now.

Or it might change for the worse, and then that will just be sad.

Suffice it to say, I’m moving very, very soon, and in the midst of all of it, I’ve had multiple freelance deadlines.

And you’re going to very kindly pretend with me that my current extra-stressed-month is a perfectly good excuse for a blog lull that has lasted… a little longer than that.

But you were just starting to blog regularly, and a lull already just means you’re a failu–

Sorry, that one wasn’t you, was it? Fairly certain that was one of the more obnoxious voices in my head.

So I’m going to bid you goodbye, get back to work, and call the realty group shortly hoping for some good news.

And that concludes today’s blog update.




 

Short May Book Reviews

I failed. I had this great plan, where I was going to start respecting the concept of short-style reviews (Modern Mrs. Darcy’s “Twitterature”), start actually keeping these brief reviews down to a brief length. I would embrace brevity, and along with embracing brevity, I would pick the few where I had the most to say and make actual book reviews out of them.

But a few things happened. Well, two. One, I waited a little too long to write about any of these, and by the time I got to them I didn’t want to write entire posts of any of them. (Although, there is now a draft about evangelical boyfriends and Christian breakup lines that was born from the first bits I wrote about When We Were On Fire. It may or may not ever see the light of day.) And two, I just really, truly, genuinely suck at brevity.

In conclusion, if I ever write a book, it will either never be finished or it’ll end up 900 pages long. Now the books.

IMG_7070_1
 
Memoir
When We Were on Fire  Addie Zierman
Zierman CoverSee you at the Pole, evangelical break up lines, and church hunting oh my. The first part of this book tapped so many of my own similar memories: the youth events, growing up running around in a church you had memorized, knowing all it’s nooks and crannies, being part of both the junior high and highschool drama ministries, going to conservative Christian college.

And the later portions, where the author deals with the echoes of that upbringing and the depression that came after, had glimpses that resonated with me as well. Zierman describes the book as a whole as, “…the story of my own particular journey from on fire Christianity to the ashes of Depression and back towards something that looks like hope.”

Decompressing what your particular upbringing meant to you, what it all means now, and piece by piece either throwing it away or integrating it into your life now–this is something I’m starting in on. And while at it’s simplest, this concept is probably just part of what our growing up stories are, I particularly loved the familiar, well-told flavor of Zierman’s.


 

Fiction

The Golem and the Jinni Helen Wecker

Wecker CoverI am still in love with this novel weeks later. It was a strange and perfect blend of fantasy and historical fiction, social commentary and myth. Both main characters had wonderfully complex personhood to them, while still being believably “other” to the humans around them (even while blending in with them).

The novel follows the newly “born” golem (who appears to the eyes and senses to be merely a young woman, newly immigrated to New York City) as she finds herself alone and suddenly without a master in not only a new city, but a completely new world.

Simultaneously, the jinni finds himself in the city as well, with no memory of how he came to be imprisoned in an oil flask for the past several hundred years. I’ll stop there, because I’m terribly at synopsis (unless you want this to take much, much longer), so I’ll end by putting it differently: I will give any future writing of this first-time author a shot.

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

sonofneptune coverOh Greek mythology, how fun are ye! I’ve always been hesitant about the zanier edge of these books (Greek gods being awkwardly proficient in slang, for example) but I always enjoy them anyways. This one was tricky as I read the first of this series (set after the original Percy Jackson books with many of the same characters) quite a long time ago, so I had to piecemeal figure out what had already happened. I’m looking forward to reading the third, Mark of Athena, soon, without that issue!


 

Non-fiction

What a Woman is Worth  ed. Tamara Lunardo

What a Woman is Worth Cover“When little girls are neglected or abused, when teen girls are taunted or assaulted, when women are used or discriminated against, they can’t help question their worth.” –from the back cover

This book was terribly hard to get through; it was also one the books from a week where I was in love with everything on my currently reading list. A couple dozens essays from all sorts of women, ranging from stories of church/spiritual abuse to stories of the ways society regards women. Each woman comes in with completely different styles, from plain prose storytelling to poetic memoir, but all have come to the question of what a women is worth.

Word to the wise, try not to read this one on public transportation.

 

What’s Wrong With Homosexuality John Corvino

wwwh cverIn this short book from a non-religious perspective, the answer is “Nothing.” as Corvino focuses on refuting the various augments against the morality of homosexuality. He spends more time on arguments outside the Biblical ones, but gives those a chapter those as well. The discussion of morality questions without religion for context (focusing more on harms claims, both societal and individual, and “natural” arguments, instead) was really interesting.

Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott

helpthankswowcover A slim (I’m assuming this, because I read the kindle version, but I like the descriptor “slim” better than “short” for a book. I think this is because one seems to indicate conciseness, whereas the other seems to say incomplete, not fleshed out enough, too easy or not meriting a feeling of accomplishment for finishing.) …

I’ll start again: a slim title, and my first crack at Lamott’s vast writing, that covers what Lamott considers the three essential prayers. I’m new to Lamott’s poetic, sometimes meandering style, and I got lost sometimes, but overall a insightful/inspiring/thought-provoking/needed-by-me brief into how absolutely simple prayer can be.

Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey

jfeministcoverThe funny thing here was that I actually pre-ordered Bessey’s book, was terribly excited when it came, loved the first few pages I read… and then didn’t really read it till now.

The only real explanation is that this was before my big push into prioritizing non-fiction. Last year, I read 45-something fiction books… and Bossypants. Little bit unbalanced.

Jesus Feminist wasn’t quite what I expected, but it was as good as I expected. Don’t go in expecting the logistics of how one can be a Jesus feminist, but do expect a beautiful trip through what being one looks like for Bessey.