Reflections On The Time My Friend’s Child Dipped His Head In The Toilet

My friend Christie’s child, Desmond, dipped his head in the toilet yesterday. She asked him to get his hair wet so she could comb it before school, so he put his hair in the toilet. Why? Not really sure. Maybe he thought it would be faster? Props to Desmond for creativity, but kids are kind of strange.

This got me thinking. A friend of mine has a 7 year old that I love. The only problem is, she’s kind of awful. She has the attitude of a stereotypical high school cheerleader. It’s not pretty. She used to be sweet. She used to be a joy to spend time with. And then she turned 7. Her mother says that they warn you about the Terribly Twos, but forget to mention the Sassy Sevens. I can agree. That’s the things about kids –for every good age you get you a difficult one.

As far as I can figure, this is how it goes.

Fetus to birth. Yay, you find out you’re pregnant. How excited are you! Then you start barfing. Ew. Then you get fat, but all the while you just keep reminding yourself its worth it. In the end, you’ll have a tiny human to love and nurture, right? And then your water breaks. Now I haven’t experience childbirth, but my best friend, Catie, just had a baby. She’s completely in love with her baby girl, with good reason, she’s adorable. But upon talking to Catie a few hours after giving birth to her bundle of joy she informed me that July 29, was basically the worst day of her life. I mean the best too, but definitely the worst, and that she didn’t plan on doing that again for a very long time.

0-1. Babies are so cute at this point you can’t help but love them. In fact, when I see a little baby I usually think to myself “awww I want one.” But then I recall nannying for a little one 3 days a week for 4 months. At the end of the 5 hour day, all I wanted to do was pass out. There was a lot of crying, pooping, and chewing on weird things. I never realized you actually had to ‘redirect’ a 9 month old. Creating a decent human being is hard work from day one. Work that I’d rather leave to someone else for now.

2. The Terrible Twos. Need I say more?

3-6. Not gonna lie, kids are pretty great at this age. They’re sponges for information and still super cute. Maybe even cuter now that they can form complete sentences. …

7. I’ve already told you about the sassy 7 year old in my life. I also was not the world’s greatest human at 7. Everything was a huge deal. Like so huge I thought I was going to die if things didn’t go my way. One day in the third grade I had to pull my green card to reveal the yellow card underneath it, due to the conversation I decided to have with a fellow student during quiet time. Perfectionist that I was, I bawled for hours. Hours. At school. And then I pouted for the rest of the week.

8 -18. Once kids hit 8 or 9 all those hormones kick in and from there are out you can pretty much lump them all together. Their lives are ruled by boys liking girls. Girls flirting with boys. Everything they do revolves around attracting their preferred sex or showing down the competition. It’s not pretty. Luckily, they will eventually grow out of this and, for the most part, realize that there is more to life than sex. Until then I’d rather leave them to other people to parent.

Don’t get me wrong, I love other people’s children. To a point. It’s just once I reach that point all I want to do it give them back. I’m sure someday I’ll be enamored by my own child, but I don’t think I’ll be emotionally equip to deal with the hurricane of parenthood until I’m like 52. Well maybe 30. But we’ll see.

In the meantime, props to all those parents out there. And Desmond, you stay creative.

Trek Back to Childhood aka That One Time I Moved Home

Due to a bout of unforeseen circumstances mostly associated with a certain un-named Ju Jit Su studio that recently ruined the peace and quiet of my studio apartment, I find myself back home with Mom and Dad. I rather abruptly gave my landlord my months notice after the camel’s back was finally broken by a straw’s worth of sweaty kids hitting each other and screaming to the background noise of “Don’t Stop Believing”. There is a reason I live alone. A loud fighting studio directly underneath my apartment was basically a match made in hell. So off I go to the parents’ house. It was either that or be homeless since my rage blinded me from finding a place to live before I told off my landlord. Woops.

I’m somewhat consoled by the knowledge that I’m not alone in my trek back to childhood. According to The Pew Research Center, in 2012, 37% of 18-24 year old college grads were either back at home or never left. I know I’m 25 now, so I find my self just outside of this category, but putting myself into the 25-31 year old category is a big step I’m just not ready to own up to yet.

Moving on.

After some research into the blogospheres, I heard arguments on how all of us prodigal children all must be lazy, video gaming slobs who don’t work and mooch off our parents. While I certainly don’t advocate living at home unemployed and living off mom and dad for any extended period of time, I do understand the plight of the recent or semi-recent grad who wants to save some funds on rent. Here’s why.

#1. Chances are that if you put the effort forth needed to get a Bachelors in almost anything you do more than play video games all day.

#2. College is really expensive. Even the less expensive ones are still expensive. It’s very difficult, if not nearly impossible, to get though school these days without loans if you don’t have some sort of external funding, whether that be the government aid, a college fund, or a really killer scholarship, even if you work yourself to death in the process. And 6 months after you graduate you have to start paying those, sometimes very large loans, back. Just take that possibly already small paycheck and shrink it by a couple hundred dollars.

#3. 1 out of 4 college grads are under employed. That sucks. I know because I’m one of those under employed grads. Partially by choice because I make more and am more fulfilled tending bar and writing for free than I would being stuck in an entry level job being paid $12 an hour to do something that, while requiring a bachelors degree is, likely completely unrelated to my field. Ah the woes of a humanities degree.

#4. Even grads who aren’t under employed often don’t make enough to pay their bills, feed themselves, and pay what, in LA at least anyway, is often extremely high rent, while creating any sort of nest egg. My sister is has a B.A. in Social Work and just got her acceptance letter for UCLA’s Master of Social Work program this last week. She is currently working as a social worker. She’s changing the world. Unfortunately, changing lives doesn’t really pay very well and, realistically, it’s not going to pay all that much better after she gets her next degree.

I find myself lucky enough to be in the group of young adults who does really need to live at home, but since my parents don’t mind having me for a bit, a few months of boosting my savings accounts certainly isn’t going to hurt me.

So sure, you could say that maybe if the young people of the world take the time to go to college and take out those lovely student loans we’ll be paying off for the next 10+ years we should invest in degrees with a little more guaranteed return. Maybe. We could certainly work on our expectations of reality post graduation because a lot of work, a great many student loan payments, and a detour to the parents house certainly seems to be an unexpected reality for a great many of us. But eventually we will be the teachers, writers, artist, psychologists, lawyers, you name it, of the world, so if we have parents who are willing to see us through the transitional phase of our 20′s, I think that’s pretty cool. Not all adult children are mooches and not all parents are enabling, some just know how much easier it is to figure life out when you don’t have to stress out over rent.

The Pew Research Center “A Rising Share of Young Adults Live In Their Parents Home”

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The Kug. Book Of Memories

Now that I’m officially 25, I realizing that a quarter century isn’t really the meaningless void of death I anticipated. I don’t really feel any different than I did at 24, which good I guess. I’m still slightly concerned that my current trajectory (aka the unknown and undecided) is meaningless however, so I’ve begun a project to memorialize each day. I have a terrible memory and I’m usually hiding somewhere in a mess of ideas. So while I have bits and pieces of memory all twisted together inside my mind, putting these together into a series of events is a bit of a challenge. But I don’t want to forget things. Especially now that I’m getting a bit older. I want to remember when my best friend gets married or when I went snowboarding for the first time. So starting a few weeks ago, I began writing a blurb regarding the events and feelings of each day. A shortened daily journal, I suppose. Its all digital and categorized by month and day so I can just add new entries each year and see what happened on that same day in the years before.

I got the idea from a old friend’s mother. She used to keep a diary of just one or two things that happened each day with her children from the time they were little until they grew up. She would pull out the book on visits once in a while like it was a treasure chest of memories just waiting to be revisited. It’s hard to imagine how many of those memories would be forever forgotten without that book. I love that idea. So I’m taking the idea and running with it, though modified a bit. I’m looking forward to the otherwise forgotten memories I’ll be finding in the years to come, a good reminder that even the seemingly mundane were pointing me in some direction.

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10 Things I Learned In My Early Twenties

1. Give people the benefit of the doubt 99% of the time. Just know you might get stepped on sometimes.

2. When you meet those people who step on you, don’t let them keep doing it. Find your friends in the people who value your positivity, instead of taking advantage of it.

3. At some point you have make decisions based on what’s best for you, not
what makes everyone else happy.

4. Your body is only as healthy as what you put in it. If somethings seems broken, go to the doctor.

5. Sometimes it’s easier to cry with our friends when something bad happens than to be happy for them when something good happens. But empathy goes both ways. You can’t be happy if your jealous that they graduated college first, got their dream job, or got engaged. You have to be able to rejoice with your friends and cry with them. Comparison stifles empathy.

6. Your dream job doesn’t have to be the job that pays your bills. Just as long as your both pay your bills and do your dream job (even if that means doing
it in the form of an internship, blog or startup).

7. Like your body, your mind is only as healthy and thoughtful as what you put in it. Read books. Think on ideas. See new things. Go places. Google everything. Your brain can’t create content. It works with what it has. Give it something to work with.

8. Listen to people. Absorb. They have interesting things to say. New faces bring new perspectives. The best version of you is that one that has considered their possibilities.

9. It’s okay to have an opinion. You don’t have to retain every detail of every childhood belief just because you’ve been told to for 20 years. Just because no one else you know agrees with you doesn’t mean you don’t have a valid point.

10. Those people that truly matter in your life aren’t going anywhere, at least not really. Sure, you and your best friends are probably going to end up in different states, maybe even on different continents. It’s okay. The modern age has given us cell phones, airplanes, and skype. And even if it hadn’t, the relationships that matter are the one’s where you can pick up after 6 month of separate busy lives like no time has passed at all.

The Beginning Of This QuarterLife

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I turned 25 a few weeks ago. I’ve spent most of my 24th year in anticipation of this fact. Preparing myself; finding new adventures and new opportunities so that, by the time I turn 25, I have something to show for myself. By 25, you’re supposed to be a grown up doing grown up things.

Recently, I realized that this is probably not the most productive way to look at things. Mostly, I’ve realized that I have no idea what it means to be a grown up and at best “grown up things” are flexible. When I was 16, I used to think the grown up me would have an apartment in a big city, a pencil skirt, and a writing job at Time Magazine. And maybe a boyfriend. I was confident that by the time I reached 25, the grown up me would be in full swing.

Instead, I find my almost 25 year old self more like a really awkward version of the New Girl in the episode where Jess loses her job. I work at a bar. I have two semi-useless degrees in English and Philosophy and collection of herb plants I struggle to keep alive. And instead of a live in boyfriend, my only roommate is a mouse named Jorge who poops on my stove.

So I’m changing my perspective. Being a grown up isn’t the most importantly thing in the world. I’d rather my epitaph say how I was contagiously happy and made a meaningful impact on the world and people around me rather than how I accomplished a, b, and c goal just because I thought I was supposed to. So join me as I attempt to figure out this thing we call life. Maybe we’ll teach each other something along the way.