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When I was growing up, I always thought adults had their shit together. Compared to me, they always knew everything or knew how to figure it out. As I got older, I realized most people have absolutely no idea what the fuck they are doing and fly by the seat of their pants.
A few of you seemed to be surprised that I wasn’t some mid-30s dad, but I’m still approaching the big 3-0. As a veteran of my 20s, here are a few snippets of wisdom I’ve picked up over the years that I wish I could pass on to 24-year-old me.
Naps are essential.
Remember back in your heyday, you could go to class, stay out all night drinking, hit the gym in the morning and feel fine? The puke-and-rally wasn’t frowned upon, but encouraged. These days, you can’t really show up to the office smelling like Popov without getting a few looks or a call to HR.
On the few days a month I actually go out, I’m lucky to make it to midnight without a nap earlier in the day. Some people I know still use their college tactics, (i.e. Adderall or a little bit of nose candy) to keep the party going. I’d much rather respect the nap. Which brings me to my next point.
People (still) do a lot of drugs.
I lived in a fraternity house for two years. I’ve seen my fair share of jokers, smokers and midnight tokers. From LSD to molly, shrooms to the Devil’s Lettuce, I always thought this kind of thing that people got out of their system; the “boys will be boys” of drugs. Eventually, everyone has to grow up. Boy, was I wrong.
I remember when I was caddying, a group of gentleman that were investment bankers on Wall Street (read: millionaires) would rip bingers as a way to “handicap” their playing on what to me is big money. One guy got so stoned he had to call his wife to pick him up and then sat in a dark room, telling her, “Keep the kids away from me.”
On several occasions, I’ll be out around town and run into well-respected members of the community. Being the outgoing person I am, we strike up a conversation. Fast-talking, frenetic, why is this person so excited? After five-to-ten minutes of bullshitting, the “Hey do you wanna go do some coke in the bathroom?” comes up, of which I, uh, usually decline.
Everyone wants you to hold their kid.
I’m terrified of holding kids. Not because I necessarily hate children/don’t want to get thrown up on/get stuck cleaning a shitty diaper, but because I’m terrified of dropping the little bastard. People love to thrust their children into your face, even to complete strangers.
“Relax, Bernie. Kids are super durable. He hits his head all the time and he’s fine.”
You look like a monster if you don’t want to hold people’s kids. Even though I will carry it around with a ball security level that Terrell Suggs couldn’t dislodge, I don’t want to be the reason little Ayedin still eats crayons as a teenager.
Everyone will ask you when you’re having kids.
I brought Tank into work again today. As all the ladies were fawning over how awesome he is, one exclaimed, “I bet he’d be such a good dog for WHEN you have kids.” This happens so routinely that I don’t even bother explaining to people this probably won’t happen, and usually I just laugh and agree because “you’ll change your mind” is secondary to “when are you having kids.”
It’s amazing that the only pre-requisite to having kids is being able to put a pole in a hole. Simple as that. The problem is, while there are a host of really bad things that can happen, the only real positive about kids is that you hopefully get them through life and have them be somewhat well-adjusted.
Someone advised me to let people asking know I “can’t have kids” as a shut down but I can’t bring myself to do it in a professional setting.
People still act like they’re in high school.
Everyone knows this person. Whether in the workplace or amongst friends, there are more people than I expected who thrive on creating or facilitating drama. Ignorant me thought that most people go to work, do their job, maybe throw in a happy hour every once in a while and go home. This type of person will be the first to let you know they, “hate drama” which is basically a canary in the mines for “do not ever befriend.”
At my first job out of college, we had a staff meeting in which a woman named Patty went on a tirade for a half-hour straight. She went to a level of total war that would have made William Tecumseh Sherman tip his hat. Anything and everyone who has ever wronged her during her lengthy tenure was on the table. My boss had warned me of her when I started so getting the experience live was both entertaining and cringe-worthy. I hadn’t even worked there for 90 days but it really opened my eyes that the work world isn’t much different than anywhere else I’d been.
Swinging is a thing.
I remember sitting in my Deviant Behavior class, ironically, Pat McAfee (this is unrelated) was a fellow student. The professor broached a topic that I was previously unaware was a “thing.” “Swinging” was an activity that bored upper-middle-class white people do. I remember taking notes and laughing about this.
“Who the fuck wants someone else to rail their wife?”
Apparently, enough people that I had to write this. I know of at least a few people that operate in the swinging circle. There’s a chance some of you out there engage in this behavior. I’m not here to judge, it just seems like a strange way to go through life. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone, whatever lights your fire, man. .