Then we got to college where we discovered the same exact people we went to high school with, only this time the drinking was openly encouraged and you didn't have to sit next to them in study hall. Working with First Year Students, I hear this story 50 times a year and it's always the same. "I thought it was going to be different." I always smile, laugh and tell them how different it really is.
Life doesn't change. Whether you're 18, 22, or 29, life is pretty much always the same. For those who finished college and said to themselves, "Finally, all the bullshit is over! No more drama, no more cliques, no more rules." Then they started their first job or in some cases were forced to move back in with their folks. Either way, if you keep telling yourself it's the same and things never change, it will be and they won't.
What really changes, because it's not the bitchy women, douchy bro's, pretentious snobs, and creepy dudes, but rather how we deal with it. Especially in our twenties. We have the choice of living a shitty miserable life and blaming the world for never changing, and getting off our ass and doing something about it.
Things that suck, but are awesome:
For the most part, all of your friends are in the same boat as you. Everyone is sick of stupid shit and the drama queen or prickish dude who always annoyed everyone has worked their way out of your group of friends and into another group of friends who hangs out at Prepps... a lot.
- Everyone is career oriented, but not making enough money.
- Everyone still wants to hang out, but has a job.
- Everyone wants to get into shape, and only those two people do... you know who they are.
- Everyone wants to relive the great times they had five years ago, but physically can't do it anymore.
1 - I love my job, I make a good living and I'm extremely happy, but how cool would it be if I had an extra 30K every year. Now, I'm not complaining about being the 99%. I didn't go to business school, I didn't want to go to business school, and I don't want to live in a loft in NYC, grow a beard and fly to Switzerland every other month like some a-holes in the world (that was mostly a joke, because I love the person I'm directly referring to very much.) I don't want to put myself in a occupational position to make 30 extra grand a year, because I wouldn't be happy. I just want the money and the freedom and security that it brings.
I want a benefactor... I want to help Robert DeNiro hide from the cops after he escapes from prison to have him secretly bestow wealth and luxury on me later on and life while I deal with Gwyneth Paltrow and her crazy aunt. (If you didn't get it, I'm Ethan Hawk and this is a 1997 Great Expectations reference... even though it wasn't very good). But I'm happy and healthy and life is good.
2,3,4 - Hanging out every night sounds awesome. Sometimes we even come close. Family dinner night, kickball, happy hour, show's on a Saturday night, Football Sunday. A good week of friends is relaxing, joyous, and fun, but it is also inherently exhausting, expensive, and drunk.
I have been fortunate enough throughout my life to have amazing friends. My friends from high school and I are still ridiculously close and love it when we're together. One of the reasons is probably because we only see each other every so often. There's a lot to be said for missing someone. If I acted and drank every night of the week how I do when I am with my old friends, I would lose my job and or be dead and or have diabetes and or all of the above within a month. All those things sound shitty, I don't want that, I just want to see Moser every three months like a normal person.
Rochester has embraced the Chew's and we have tried to give back in turn. Some old friends combined with new friends and a general sense of community in love prevails over any of the little issues that still come up. (It's life, life comes with issues). We spend time together, support each other, and genuinely enjoy each others time. Our ages range through the twenties into the early thirties, but we find commonalities in personalities, respect, and love.
...But we can't do it like we used to. Sunday's, these days, are all about football, friends, food and a couple drinks. We tail gate. We cry. We shoot fake lasers through our fingertips and we typically do so while grilling, cheesing, Genny'ing, and dipping like whoa. My friends have become family and serve as my biggest source of support and greatest instigator and negative influence ever.
Oh my god, Jim is in the best shape ever. I can totally do that! Tomorrow... I'll totally do that tomorrow. Two hours in the gym, really, that sounds hard. Is there more Mac N Cheese?
Things aren't as easy as they used to be. I threw my back out earlier this year playing kickball. There was a series of great plays and Kick James was victoriously walking off the field. I was not a part of any of those plays. I watched them happily from third base, and while I was walking back to the bench to congratulate my team on an inning well done, something popped or moved and slipped and I was on my back for a week. Seriously, it was as pathetic as it sounds.
I'm getting older and I can't do what I used to be able to do and that sucks. But I am gainfully employed and I have insurance like a mofo. Dr. Matt and his Dr. wife twisted me and bent me and stretched me and made me fall in love with chiropracting. Yes, Mr. Blask, I recognize your profession as a real job, but I will never call you Dr. no matter what your white coat says!
For the last week, since I created this blog and a little before, I have been actively trying to cut back on some things and add a little more activity into my life. It's been going well. Moving around more at work and poorly playing basketball at lunch. Only having one heaping serving of delicious for dinner instead of three. Not splitting an entire bag of cheddar popcorn with Jenna in two days. These things are working, but now it's Friday. Dun dun dun!!!! Friends in town. Show tomorrow night. It's cold out and gravy makes me warm. These are all great things and life is awesome. But I'm going to think about it and I'm going to worry about it and I'm going to question what I eat and drink and do, and that's going to suck.
Thus is the dichotomy of life. Natalie and 80's Clooney said it best, "You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have, the facts of life."
My facts of life tell me that I'm a happy guy. I am lucky and blessed (when I say blessed it's much more of a comparative term than a spiritual implication) to have friends and family who love me and want to spend time with me. I have a beautiful wife who challenges me and impresses me every day. I have a beer gut and slowly greying hair. One I'm addressing, the other I'm working to embrace. I try to be good to people. I try to let happiness and the positive aspects of any given circumstance stand at the foreground. Anger, bitterness, denial, and complaining are there and sometimes they reveal themselves, but I work really hard to get beyond them and go back to the smiles and hugs.
I've learned, and if you're honest with yourself I think you have too, that you can't appreciate your life until you've gone through some shit. Accepted the fact that you're not perfect. Taken account for your fuck ups and learned the lessons that came with them. We're still growing. We're still learning. We're still figuring out how to be 25, 29, 31, a good friend, a good husband, a good person, and good in general.
Your 20's are going to suck. But they're also going to be fucking awesome.
My 30's will be the same way, I just hope I'm a little bit better and focusing on the good and the happy, and a little better at ignoring the shit.