The Real World - Ain't It Fun?

Call it coincidence, call it fate.  However, I call it...reality.  On the way home from work after a long day, a song popped on the radio and boy did it really get it.  The song was Paramore's latest, Ain't It Fun.

Most of you are smart, so I don't want to spend an hour deciphering the lyrics of a song that pretty much describes itself.  However, for those of you who tend to turn off your thinkers on the weekends like me, here we go.  The song basically talks about how growing up isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Specifically, there is a great part of the song that yells, "Don't go crying, to your Momma, cause you're on your own in the real world."

I literally started laughing because boy oh boy is that the case.  It's not so much that I feel alone - far from that!  It's just that, this "adulthood" thing that I've been trying to figure out for approximately 6 years is something my mother has done for 39 years and my dad, 48.  In fact, my dad has been with the same company for 46 of those years.  So...I guess what I'm trying to say is don't expect a pity party.

It made me think of the interactions I have with high school and college kids on a daily basis.  My company employs many college kids as interns to gain experience in the field,  I advise the chapter of the sorority that I was a member of, and I have many friends and family members eager to emerge into this guise of freedom that is surely what everyone expects with adulthood.

And honestly, when someone from those groups comes up to me and tells me about how ready they are to move on all I want do is play a scene from one of my all time favorites, Billy Madison, and remind those kids how overrated growing up is.

It's not all bad, but let me just throw some caution to the wind.  Life is not cheap. 

My first job out of college was with a very large pharmaceutical company headquartered in Indianapolis.  When I saw how much I was making, I had basically already planned my first Nordstrom shopping spree in my head.  I had decided to live at home to "save money" and couldn't wait to get to spending.  However, about 6 months in my excitement started to falter.  

For one thing, while 8 hours a day is an expectation at most job, 10 hours is recommended and 12 hours is best.  This was no problem when you were interning right?  That's because you were being paid hourly.  In the real world, you make the same flat fee.  Now that really comes in handy when you're feeling ill and still get paid...but when you've got approximately 40 hours in by Wednesday, it gets less fun.  

After realizing that life as an intern was a complete 180 from life as a full timer, I had to come to come to terms with those two words that every college grad dreads: student loans.  Realizing that nearly a 1/4 of my salary would be immediately turned over to pay off of my undergraduate loans was depressing at best.  I soon saw my dreams of owning a Range Rover in 5 years dwindling away.  

Don't get me wrong, I made a few good decisions along the way, but I definitely still tried to live like a baller.  I ended up getting an apartment on Indy's north side for an "affordable" $1200/month, paid a car loan of $500/month and started to see why my parents were constantly complaining about wireless bills, cable bills, and all of the luxuries we Milennials have grown accustomed to.  

Now, I see that I was trying to live the life my parents were living immediately out of college.  Granted, as an engineer I was emerging college at a much better salary than many...but I still couldn't believe how much of my check was already spent before I got it.  And trust me, it doesn't get better.  I practically need a degree in Finance to understand how insurance companies determine your out of pocket expense and credit cards...don't get me started.  

And when I start to get down, I think back to when I was a mere undergraduate.  Driving my 1999 Pontiac Grand Am, my only concern being what my costume would be for the fraternity party of the week, and how many calories were in a 6 inch Subway sub.  

So...for those of you in the final countdown to adulthood - SLOW YOUR ROLL.  Try to live like a college kid for as long as you can.  There's no reason to try and grow up overnight.  Work hard so you can play hard...and at the end of the day, give yourself time to complain.  But fair warning...we're all in the same spot.  

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