Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Songs and lyrics and the words in music

Musical tastes vary greatly from person to person. I have disagreed many times on musical preferences with friends and acquaintances. So the song I will tell you about today might not be everyone's cup of tea, but the lyrics are just so fitting, I felt I had to share them.

The song is "Twentysomething" by British singer/songwriter Jamie Cullum. I, personally, am a fan of his style of music, and would love to someday see him perform live.

This song is one that I have resonated with for several years now. Here are the lyrics to Jamie Cullum's "Twentysomething.

After years of expensive education
A car full of books and anticipation
I'm an expert on Shakespeare and that's a helluva lot
But the world don't need scholars as much as I thought

Maybe I'll go traveling for a year
Finding myself or start a career
I could work for the poor though I'm hungry for fame
We all seem so different but we're just the same

Maybe I'll go to the gym so I don't get fat
Aren't things more easy with a tight six pack?
Who knows the answers? Who do you trust?
I can't even separate love from lust

Maybe I'll move back home and pay off my loans
Working 9-5 answering phones
Don't make me live for my Friday nights
Drinking 8 pints and getting in fights

I'm a twentysomething
Leave me alone

I don't want to get up just let me lie in
Leave me alone I'm a twentysomething

Maybe I'll just fall in love
That could solve it all
Philosophers say that that's enough
There surely must be more

Love ain't the answer, nor is work
The truth eludes me so much it hurts
But I'm still having fun and I guess that's the key
I'm a twentysomething and I'll keep being me

Let's see if I can post the YouTube video here. He's performing to 10,000 people...none of whom appear to be twentysomethings. Hmmm...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Internships and getting your feet wet

Two more sidenotes. The first is that I apologize for the ugly-looking blog. I spent hours this holiday weekend trying to load a fun template, but couldn't seem to do it right. If anyone has any tips or wants to help me out, I'd appreciate it.

The second note is about celebrity quarterlife crises. More and more are admitting to it. Zach Braff, Mandy Moore, and now even J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, admits that she was suicidal when she was in her twenties. At least we know we're not alone, I guess.


And now on to internships. For most of us, it's probably too late to consider being an intern. Most interns are unpaid, and money is necessary for bill-paying. But, if you're still in school, going back to school, or have enough saved to be able to afford to be an intern, it's a definite must.

I interned in "Hollywood" during my time in Los Angeles for a film production company. Since this company was located on the Warner Bros. lot, it was pretty much awesome. I walked past the set of "ER" every day, saw actors and actresses milling around their trailers, and saw parking spots with names like "F. Prinze Jr." labelled on them. I got to read absolutely awful (and some decent!) scripts, sat in on a meeting with a writer for a sci-fi/action movie, got to drive a producer's car around the crazy Los Angeles freeway system, and apparently had Will Smith say hello to me (but I never looked up from my magazine!).

Circumstances and life in general got in the way of me getting a job from this internship, but it was an amazing opportunity none the less. Friends of mine have interned for publishers, weather departments of news shows, and city architects. Interning is a wonderful opportunity to "try out" a career field, to get some experience, and to enhance your resume.

If you're like me and it's too late for you to apply for an unpaid internship, try the next best thing: volunteering. If you're interested in carpentry, architecture, or landscape design, find your local Habitat for Humanity. If you're interested in media, PBS always needs volunteers for their telethons. If you enjoy writing, send in an article to a small publication or nonprofit organization. For all of these activities, you'll get the same benefits as an internship, plus the added benefit of knowing that you helped a community, organization, or individual out using your particular skills.

What are some other volunteer activities that could act as your "grown-up internship"?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Location, location, location...and the place where you live

Sidenotes: I have two great blog posts/articles for you quarterlifers to check out. The first is at GenPink, where the guest blogger writes about actually surviving a quarterlife crisis. My blog may be named Quarterlife Survivor, but I'm not quite there yet!

The second is an article that my friend in Illinois told me about. A columnist named Matt Brandenburg from the Northwest Herald tries your job for a day. He recently worked for a day at an animal shelter. Read and watch about his experiences here.


Today where I live got blasted by yet another snowstorm. I specifically remember during my semester in Los Angeles (singing Christmas carols as I drove past the beach) promising myself I would not have to live through another snowy winter. Hundreds of snow-filled days later, I wonder why I didn't move immediately.

The answers/excuses come pretty easily. I couldn't afford it. All of my close friends are here. My family is here. My job is here. Except for scraping ice off my windshield most mornings and getting snow down my shoes, I'm pretty comfortable here.

That hasn't kept me from trying to move. I've applied to countless places located all over the country. I went to a website where I took a lengthy quiz to determine my optimal place to live. It wasn't here. I dream of flip-flops filled days while I dress in layers.

Job opportunities are also relevant to where you live. There is a booming industry here, but not one that I'm interested in. To pursue my more creative urges, I'd probably have to move elsewhere.

What about you? Is there a place you've always wanted to live? A place you relocated to? Are you stuck somewhere you really wish you weren't? Tell all in the comments. :o)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

One really isn't so lonely...

By the time I had graduated college, I had been a bridesmaid four times, a maid of honor two of those times, and had a running tally of all the people I knew who were engaged. At one point, the list exceeded 25 couples. I had some very busy, wedding-filled summers. Some couples got crossed off, some names changed, some families formed, and some hearts were broken. It all went on this list.

It's just another part of the twentysomething's life that relationships are formed and broken. Some of those relationships head towards marriage. So singleness or coupledom is a part of the process.

In my situation, I am an incredibly happy single. I have enough drama in my life in the moment, and this is one part of life in which I am currently content. Perhaps it's because I'm surrounded by friends (girls and guys) who so desperately want to love and be loved that they get a little desperate, or perhaps it's because I'm fiercely independent and don't want to be defined by anyone else, but whatever the reason, I'm a happy single.

I just learned a new term for this. It's "quirkyalone," by the book and website of the same name. According to this New York Times article, a quirkyalone is someone who “generally prefers to be alone rather than date for the sake of being in a couple.” I've spent years trying to explain my contented state to friends and relatives, so it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who feels this way. If I meet someone, great. If not, I'm not going to worry too much about it.

I also learned that if you want to embrace your consumerism and your singleness at the same time, you can buy a single ring, or "Singelringen" from a company in Sweden. (On their website they say, "Singles of the world - Unite!" Isn't that kind of contradictory?)

What are your thoughts? Are you a quirkyalone? A blissful newleywed? Just starting a new relationship? Or wishing you were? How do you think this all affects a quarterlife crisis?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gimme a Break

Remember how you felt during your last finals of college? You knew that soon, very soon, all the stress would be over. No more tests, no more papers, all you had left was to walk down an aisle in an silly outfit, and then you would start life. Get a job, maybe settle down, la de da.

Now we know better. Stress doesn't end when your schooling does. Believe it or not, trying to figure out what to do with your life can be pretty stressful.

So in between finding a steady income, paying off student loans, figuring out what insurance plan to get and wondering if you'll ever be able to move out of your parents' house (or lose that annoying roommate), life can get overwhelming. Sometimes you just need a break.

In England and other countries, many students take a "gap year" in between high school and college, or immediately after college. This trend is becoming increasingly more popular as more and more people realize that they just need a break for awhile.

The New York Times has an article about how Princeton is encouraging their incoming students to volunteer in a different country for a year before starting college.

Recently I met a woman in her late twenties who took a year between her bachelor's and master's degrees to move to and live in Colorado. Just for a change of pace.

If I had the money, the resources, and the guts, I so would have done that, too. And I know that I'm not the only one that feels that way. So I improvised. I took a cross-country road trip. I used up all of my vacation time (and then some), planned like crazy, took advantage of my AAA membership by getting books and camping site ratings and maps, and headed out for two weeks last July. My parents and friends thought I was insane for going by myself, but I found it liberating, freeing, and just plain fun.

I have a car that makes sleeping in it quite easy, so I saved money by alternating between hotels and campsites. I bought a National Parks pass, and visited (I think) 7 National Parks, including Yellowstone, where I had never been before. I took thousands of pictures, listened to audio books, and explored B&Bs and backroads. I took a helicopter ride in South Dakota just to face another fear, and have months worth of stories (and fun background pictures for my cell phone).

I didn't figure out life on the trip, or have any major revelations. But it was nice to take a step back, to have time to process and evaluate and THINK. By myself. Surrounded by nature.

If you have the time, money, and the inclination, I recommend taking a break. Even if it's just for a weekend or a day. Even if you just take some time for yourself. Go to a coffee shop and read a book for fun. Take a long drive in the country. Take a small break from this crazy life.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dreams and those stories that happen while you're sleeping

I've been bombarded with a lot of dreams lately. Some are of the "while asleep" variety, where I've gone back to high school, went on a not-very-exciting road trip, and traveled to Europe.

Sometimes it stinks to wake up, sometimes I'm very glad that what I was dreaming about wasn't actually real.

The other dreams I've been associating with lately are the awake kind. The kind where your mind wanders into "what if" territory. I guess the future is so vast and changeable that we need to imagine different scenarios for our futures. Sometimes I get excited about these dreams. I imagine such great possibilities that life seems to be full of chances and opportunities. Other times I am overwhelmed. How could I possibly turn my dreams into reality?

Appropriately, I found this blog today, by the author of the book "Getting From College to Career." Her guest blogger tackles this very subject today. Check it out.

Oh, and I also found the "Twenty Something Bloggers" group today, and joined! I'm very excited to check out all the new (to me) blogs there!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Jobs and what to do with the rest of one's life

Jobs. I feel like that is the root of all quarterlifer's issues. Jobs and money. Which is basically the same thing. In order to figure out what I should be doing with the rest of my life, I've looked back at what I said I was going to be "when I grow up."

6 years old - after a relaxing visit to the dentist's office, I held my new cheap plastic toy from the dentist and declared that I was going to become a dentist, "so that I could buy lots of toys."
Lesson learned: I wanted to be successful. And make sure people could smile.

10 years old - the nice car salesperson bought me a soda and kept me entertained while my parents were purchasing a new van. Though I cried over losing our old van, I told my parents I was going to be a car salesperson when I grew up. They seemed to be the nicest people in the world. My parents laughed and told me that was the worst possible job I could get.
Lesson learned: I wanted to be nice and helpful and I didn't know the difference between nice and fake.

Fourth grade - I wrote a story that moved my teacher. This teacher told my parents. My parents told me I was going to be a famous author when I grew up. I was okay with that. I decided to become a famous author.
Lesson learned: I can write, but not necessarily better than a 4th grader.

Sixth grade - I carried my little purple plastic camera with me everywhere, and documented my middle school experiences. Unfortunately, I don't have many of those pictures left, because everyone always wanted a copy.
Lesson learned: I take a lot of pictures, I enjoy taking pictures, and I don't know how to make money taking pictures.

High school - I was more concerned with what college to go to than what career to pursue. Though I liked photography, writing, and movies.

College - I was more concerned with what major to get than what career to pursue. Freshman year I switched from English to Media Studies, because I really liked photography, writing, and movies.

Lesson learned: I really like photography, writing, and movies. I have a college degree and way too much debt, and I'm still not entirely sure what to do with my life. I probably won't become a dentist or a salesperson, though.

I think about career and jobs way too much. I talk with friends about it, dream about it, plan one thing and then another. I ask everyone I meet what they do and how they like it. I'm thrilled when I hear someone say they are doing what they love. I can relate when someone tells me they're not where they want to be. I wonder if I'm still not "grown up" because I still don't know what I want to do with this life of mine.

What did you want to be when you "grew up"?