Thursday, April 11, 2013

Things That Make Me Feel Old


Knitting
To be fair I don’t really have the time to knit too much right now.  Which is really unfortunate, since I also really love knitting.  It’s calming, it creates something productive, and it really helps me learn to focus (which is a life goal!  more on that later).  Right now my project is a mug cozy, then a scarf next.  The mug cozy is a short project, just something to put around my cocoa or herbal tea mugs to keep my hands from getting burned.  The scarf is hopefully going to be something I wear in the winter.  Both are going to be green, my second favorite color, since it’s the only yarn I have with me at school.  
Knitting also makes me feel old because it seems like everyone I know can’t even sew a button on, let alone knit a scarf.  I love that I can take some sticks, yarn, and my hands and actually make something.  When I’m stressed out and feeling totally useless, I take to my needles and knit a few rows.  There’s something about not only the repetition but the fact that this actually produces something that calms me right down.  
Why not pick up a skein of yarn and some needles yourself and give it a try?

Going to Bed “Early”
I don’t go to bed early all that often.  I usually go to bed around midnight to 12:30, sometimes 11, sometimes 1.  But for college students, that’s early.  I know a lot of people who are up until 5 and then sleep till 9 and go get the next day.  And they’re not up partying (okay, some of them are) most of them are up doing homework and writing papers.  Luckily for me I can usually manage to get everything done on time and still sleep at least 6 hours a night.  But going to bed “early” makes me feel old, like I’m not a part of my generation.  It makes me feel like I’m a grandparent.  At the same time, it’s the greatest thing to wake up actually refreshed the next morning.  So, you win some you lose some.

People I Know Having Children
People I know, people my own age, have been having children since I was about 16.  But that didn’t really make me feel old.  Now people I know having children makes me feel so much older than my twenty years.  Why?  Because now the people I know having children are usually having them on purpose.  When I was 16 the people I knew having children were accidentally pregnant, not intentionally.  
Recently one of my fraternity brothers got married and is pregnant.  It makes me feel ancient that someone my own age, someone I’ve known since freshman year, has a husband, a dog, a house, and a baby on the way.  How is that even possible?  

Nostalgia
Our generation is extremely nostalgic.  Just look at tumblr or buzzfeed.  Half the articles are about the “best” things from our shared childhood.  Maybe we’re more nostalgic than previous generations because we’re looking out at a bleak future full of debt and low employment opportunities.  Some older people say we don’t have drive because we’re so nostalgic, but I don’t think that’s true at all.
I think we’re nostalgic because our future is uncertain, more so than previous generations’ futures were.  I think we’re nostalgic because ours is the generation of student loans and living with your parents after graduation.  I think we’re nostalgic because our childhood was rooted in a stable economy.  
I also think that because we’re so nostalgic we’re going to be the generation that works to bring back the stable economy for our children.  We are going to be the ones who create more job opportunities for ourselves.  We are going to do great things, because we’re so nostalgic.  

Looking at Grad Schools
Of course looking at grad schools makes me feel old.  It’s the first step to the next chapter of my life. I’ve been getting packets a lot more frequently now than I did last year, some of them requested, some of them outreach from the schools themselves.  I’m being school-wooed from as far away as York, England, and as close to home as St. Louis, Missouri.  It’s a great feeling to know that they think enough of me to want to send me packets, but at the same time it makes me recognize that I’m not a kid anymore, that I have to make decisions about grad school soon.  It’s scary because it’s uncertain.  
Grad School itself is also scary because of how much work a master’s degree is.  And it’s scary because I will have to decide on career paths afterward.  Do I go for the interdisciplinary Medieval and Renaissance Culture program at Loyola?  The interdisciplinary Medieval Studies program at York?  The Public History program at Purdue?  An entirely different and separate program in Library Science to become a librarian?  Each one creates a more solid career path, but it also makes other career paths harder to achieve.  It cuts off, or at least creates obstacles to, my other options.  
I’m scared because I’m a realist and I can see those closing options clearly.  But I’m also optimistic.
I am optimistic that whatever I decide will be what’s right for me.  I’m optimistic that wherever I go will be a great school and a school that gives me a better future.  I’m optimistic that I’ll find a place in this world for myself, and if I don’t that I’ll create one.  
I’m optimistic because I’m an incurable, unrepentant optimist.

These are far from the only reasons I feel old, but they’re a few of the big ones.  What things make you feel old, my fellow twenty-somethings?

Stay Tuned.

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