Youth – no longer for me.

Jessica M

We hear people all the time talking about their lost youth, how to look and feel younger, and what they wouldn’t give to be young again.  I have to admit, I’ve had some of those same thoughts (I found my first gray hair in my bangs recently).  Youth is wasted on the youth, right?  But if you ever take a moment to reflect on what being a teenager is like now, I think you’ll be surprised – and take a new appreciation for your age.  Here are a few reasons why being young today really isn’t all that desirable.

Social networking.  Puberty was hard enough as it was, but going through puberty on the internet seem unimaginable.  It’s commonplace now for teens to share their every thought and where they’ve been and what they’re doing and pictures of how they look constantly.  Then they’re open to critiques and comments from all over the place (in case you’ve been hiding under a rock, cyber-bulling is a HUGE problem with teens, anonymity bring out  .  They’re all doing it, it’s normal.  I had a hard enough time confiding my thoughts with my closest friends.  And there were a lot of days when I had a hard time even leaving my room.  I am so thankful that social networking was just starting out as I was leaving high school, I can’t imagine the kind of trouble I’d get myself in.  Also, I’m SO glad that my Facebook pictures only go back to the beginning of college.  Facebook info stays on the internet forever, and I don’t want any picture of 9th grade me, a face full of acne and a mouth full of braces floating around anywhere out of my control.

Smartphones.   Read above except include an option for nude selfies.  Again, I was a very trusting person as a teen(until I learned better).  Again, I can’t imagine the kind of trouble I could have gotten myself into.  Sure camera phones were around, but nothing like today.

Prom proposals. Or maybe it’s promposals.  Either way, teenagers are starting to make an extravagant event out of asking each other to prom.  When I was in high school, there were always rumors or dreamy fantasies about leaving school for the day and seeing my dream boat waiting outside with a fancy car and big bouquet of flowers ready to ask me to prom or getting a pizza delivered that had a nice message on it.  But I never actually knew of anything like this really happening.  Now a day, it’s expected of teens to pull out all the stops and make asking their date to the prom an event in its own.  No more awkward phone calls or meeting in the hallway when you’re both nervous and stumbling over your words.  Now, teens are planning elaborate (and sometimes expensive) events and surprises to ask his or her date to the prom.  Talk about pressure, I can’t even get my boyfriend to surprise me with pizza toppings (but I guess being in charge all the time has it’s benefits).

I’ll keep my gray hairs, slowing metabolism, and stiff back.  You youngsters can have all that hassle, good luck and god speed ;)

The proximety of long distance

Jessica M

There once was a time, not so long ago, when we were forced to go out and meet new people and make new friends.  A time when being in a big enough city (or, if not, making a minor relocation) was enough to get away from a bad breakup.  I can barely remember this time, but I know it used to exist.

Social networking makes it so easy to stay in touch with those far away, which is a good thing.  I have friends all over the US, from Buffalo New York, to Honolulu Hawaii (I know, lucky jerk).  I’m thankful that thanks to technology I can keep in touch with them all.  When I was a kid, I don’t remember my mom every talking about her friends from out of town, or taking weekend trips to “meet up with the girls.”  But she wasn’t a homebody.  To this day, she still meets weekly with her girlfriends for drinks, or cards, or movies, etc.  How does she do it?  Without my ever doting boyfriend, my nights would be lonelier than I like to think.  Thanks to Facebook, text messaging, Instagram, email, Gchat, and Facetime I’m able to keep in touch with all my college friends, like we’re still sharing a six bedroom house in our tiny college town. I don’t feel the need to go out and meet new people.  The women I work with are all nice enough, but I have no desire to go out to happy hour or to the Christmas party.  I have a solid group of friends, why would I need more?  Juggling relationships can be hard.  It all sounds so cynical, is this the way we live now?

Just a few days ago, I recieved a text message from a former fling.  We haven’t spoken in over a year, and we didn’t exactly end on good terms (what can I say, I get bored easily – it’s not a bad thing, it’s a sign of intelligence).  Regardless, he asked me to meet up for drinks sometime thinking I lived in his town.  I actually live two hours away, so it was easy to avoid the “well I’m in a serious relationship now, idiot” speech, but I couldn’t help but be flabbergasted.  Are we getting just as lazy with forming romantic relationships asnwe are with friendships?  It’s easier to scroll through a cell phone list of contacts and reach out to an ex (despite how it ended) than it is to get out there and meet someone new.  Facebook makes it even easier now that we can check and see if someone is in a relationship or not before sending that text (my gentleman caller conveniently doesn’t have a Facebook account).  Even Instagram has recently introduced an option for direct messaging.

This all leads me to another question, is it appropriate to keep these failed relationships (both romantic and friendships) available through technology?  Thinking about it, a text message is quite personal.  It’s a private conversation between two people.  It’s sent directly, and it gives senders time to formulate thoughts before sending.  It eliminates the risk of immediate embarassment and opens up an opportunity for more bold conversation.  Should we be blocking exfriends and exlovers from contacting us this way?  Like I mentioned earler, things like this never used to be an issue.  Without these new forms of instant and direct conversation, a two hour gap in between people would be enough to keep an ex at bay.

It’s hard to say if these forms of e-communication are a blessing or a curse.  I’ll take the ability to keep in touch with my lady soulmates (it feels like just yesterday we were still living under the same roof) if it means having to endure awkward conversation with old flames at the same time.  As I type this, I’m sitting in an airport terminal surrounded by people ending their holiday travel.  It looks like even with all these new ways of getting together without actually getting together aren’t a total deterrant for loved ones getting together in person and it’s heartwarming – even for my cold, electronic chatting, heart.

BFFs, Best Friends (to) Forget

kari

Not what you thought, huh?

I talk about “people filtering” a lot. This is partially because I have done this and because I know that it happens naturally. We have all done it. There are friends that you don’t talk to that you were friends with in high school. Now, there are friends that you don’t talk that you were friends with in college. Heck, there might be friends that you don’t talk to anymore that there were there for the biggest moments of your life. Now, how do you deal?

It’s not typical during a friendship to put a time limit on it but it is not typical in a friendship to toxic for one another. A friendship is another full-time relationship. It takes time, effort, trust, love, and truth for it to work. When a friendship becomes dishonest, deceitful, and toxic, it’s time to call it quits.

Stop. Don’t make excuses like “well, if this wouldn’t have happened they wouldn’t have done this” or “well, everyone has a bad day. they might just be having a bad month.” There is nothing okay with someone walking all over your and just using you for their own personal gain. That is not a friendship. That is someone being a horrible, terrible, selfish person.

Cutting ties is hard. There are photos that still pop up on Facebook or TimeHop of you and said friend and you think “that’s when it was fun” but then your conscience reminds you of what happened and how long it was happening for and you see that this is all fake. It can also make you sick to your stomach to think of it that way. But, facts are facts.

It gets easier. Each day that goes by you are occupying your time with things that are important and good for you. You can be working on relationships with the good people in your life or finding yourself picking up a new hobby or working out more. And, without even knowing it, you’re fine. You are sleeping each night and waking up each morning without the anxiety of what argument are you going to have with said friend today or what lie are you going to uncover this week. That’s no way to live.

So take all the trash out of your life. Things will clear up and look up. Promise.

When does compromising become compromising?

Jessica M

This week started the national Banned Books Week (a librarian’s favorite holiday) for 2013. In lieu of that, I’ve been thinking a lot about censorship – both in the broad all-encompassing sense of the word and also how it relates to my personal life. We’re expected to make compromises in life, which include the occasional self-censorship. I very well wouldn’t talk to my boyfriend’s mother the same way I talk to my boyfriend. I have a strict separation of clothes in my closet between my “librarian” clothes and everything else. Sure I’m censoring myself, but it’s expected, common practice, and acceptable. I don’t feel any less like myself in the end.

But when does compromising become compromising?

My last post touched on this idea.  Should we accept a job that we’re beyond qualified for, just because it’s in our field?  The response was generally, yes.  But now I’m concerned about something else.  Working on a college campus, I get to talk with a lot of girls in the 18-24 range.  They’re not much younger than we are physically, but attending college can drastically change a person. I enjoy listening in on their conversations (and reminiscing about the silliness that went on when I was in college) with my “new adult” perspective.

ryanreynolds

If you haven’t been able to guess yet, this is a post about boys.

In our fast-track technology driven society we as a society are advancing by leaps and bounds.  I can store and read 328 books on this tiny device?  We can explore the streets of ParisHong Kong, and even Hogwarts from the comfort of our homes.  We can meet people and form relationships without ever actually having to see them in person.

You mean people used to eat meals without their cell phones on and resting on the dinner table?

You mean people used to eat meals without their cell phones on and resting on the dinner table?

I LOVE technology – but this last one concerns me. I support online dating, 100%. But this is just a stepping stone meant to lead to something tangible. So many of us are forming (and ending, yes I have been broken up with over Facebook) relationships through Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging. Where’s the human contact? We’re compromising just for the ease of it. We are accepting Facebook pokes over flowers, e-mails instead of love poems, and text message emoticons instead of public hand holding- all the while planning the most romantic and perfect wedding in the history of time on our Pinterest boards. Then when the time comes to actually spend time with another person, we’re glued to our phones, laptops, and tablets.

Buffy Summers wouldn't have put up with that crap.

Buffy Summers wouldn’t have put up with that crap.

Just because we love being modern and independent, doesn’t mean we need to give up on romance. It’s an old saying but is chivalry finally, truly, dead? We ladies have come so far, and become so jaded, that even if a date does everything right, romance at 110%, we automatically question if he’s being genuine.

So this is where we’re at.  Just when does compromising become compromising?  Is it okay to accept the text message over the phone call, but still expect to be courted?  It’s an issue of self-respect.  You don’t have to live in a Nicholas Sparks novel, but a little romance is nice.

rascalsI’ll tell you lovely twenty something readers the same thing I told the girls – if you’re fine with an electronic courtship then get it girl, full speed ahead.  But if you’re old school like me, and still want to see the effort, don’t setting for anything less.  Most guys don’t change as they get older, but you do.  Now get your fabulous butt out there and demand the world, you deserve it :)

Another useless piece of paper, for an already flammable apartment

Jessica M

It was suggested for my first “Real Life Twenty Something” blog entry, I write-up an extension of my previous background post to better explain myself and where I am today.

So where am I today? Today, I am at what should be my dream job, doing dream work, and making a different in college student’s lives. What am I really doing? Staring a computer screen, slowly wearing a groove in my desk from where my elbow sits while I rest my head in my chin, paying my gas bill.

Lets backtrack. I received a BA in English – literature in 2009. I had high hopes of doing…. anything. Really there was no life plan for me graduating out of college, I just liked to read. So like many other people my age, I spent the summer looking for work and settled with the first full-time job I could find, being a cashier in a grocery store. I might not have had a plan, but I definitely knew this is not where I wanted my life going. After about a year I was getting really restless and that’s when I started a MS program. Might as well work towards another degree, a master’s degree is like the golden ticket out of retail, right? Meanwhile, I managed to score a promotion and a raise in under a year so while the work was physically exhausting and the customers mentally draining, the perks and my fellow employees (one of the BEST groups of people I’ve ever worked with) balanced it out.

I finished getting my MS in library and information science August 2012.  I warned my employers that I was going to start looking for a job now that I had a more dedicated field to look in.  This was supposed to be easy, right?  One month, maybe two and I’d have interviews lined up, I have a MASTERS degree after all!  Not to mention almost three years of management experience at this point.  Well one month turned into two, turned into four, and then six.  The consistent rejections (or even worse, complete disregard) from potential employers was wearing me thin.  I decide to say F it, and approached my boss and his boss that I was interested in store management training.  If I was going to be stuck in a grocery store for the rest of my life, I might as well go for the big bucks and run my own store.

Enter month number 10.  After almost an entire year of job searching (and forming a collection of rejection letters from every library in Hawaii) I found something.  An academic library from a private university received the application and resume I sent, and called me in for an interview.  Things moved really quickly after that.  Within two weeks I was signing resignation papers at the store and new hire papers at the library.  The job is behind the front desk (bottom of the library totem pole, technically my job title isn’t “librarian,” even though I’m a degree-ed librarian), required taking a pay cut, and leaving a place and people I dedicated the last four years of my life too.  But it’s in my field.  This is the right move, right?

I’ve found myself questioning this decision a lot lately.  Is it really that important to find a job in your field?  My last job paid better, I had paid vacation time, sick days and personal days, great benefits, a great staff, and room to move up within the company.  And I was good at it.  On my list of things that feel awesome, knowing that you’re great at your job is high up there.  So now I’m working in my field, which is everything I could have wanted.  Or is it?  I spend most of my days, supervising student workers and student patrons, fixing paper jams, collecting fine money, and listening to my boss drone on and on about problems with the building.  It’s not all bad, I still get to talk to and meet lots of different people and I get to spend my days reading , catching up on internet news, and blogging :) .

For example, "Cleaning up blood out of the men's bathroom, with my master’s degree"

For example, “Cleaning up blood out of the men’s bathroom, with my master’s degree”

I still have pictures of my best displays, and biggest messes, from the grocery store saved on my phone.  And my cashiers will always have a special place in my heart, none of my new coworkers come close to replacing them.  In some sort of masochistic way, I miss being able to make snide Facebook statuses about my degree.

In the end, I’m thankful to be working in my field.  I definitely don’t miss the demeaning feeling I’d get when ringing up groceries for someone who dropped out of my high school.  The pay cut (and loss of vacation time) is at least worth the experience and option for me to finally be able to put “library” down on my future resumes.

Or, "Running the Greenville store this week. Shoveling up their Amish's horses' shit with my master’s degree."

Or, “Running the Greenville store this week. Shoveling up their Amish’s horses’ shit with my master’s degree.”

I guess the moral of my story is; the grass really is always greener on the other side, but you should take a good look before you jump because it might turn out to just be AstroTurf.

Did I mention the university offers free tuition after a year of employment to all employees?  I’ll be taking advantage of that as soon as I can.  Having multiple degrees will make me more marketable for that dream job, right, Right??