Talk about how college was so long ago over brunch and how you ran into someone you used to be friends with and they looked EXACTLY THE SAME. Nevermind that you’re wearing the same leggings and T-shirt get up that you did every Saturday in college. Know that you’ve evolved because you have a different pair of glasses now. Feel sophisticated because you’re not eating at an all you can drink place, and order the French Toast that costs more than you paid for your shirt.
Complain about how busy you are to everyone. When you’re working late, tweet about it so everyone knows. Don’t respond to text messages for a few days to really drive this point home. Look down on friends when they invite you to dinner before 8:00, believing that anyone who can plan a dinner that early probably doesn’t have a real job. If you do make it out to dinner, make sure to talk about how you can’t remember the last time you were even out on a weeknight. Lament the days when you would go out to 2 for 1 margarita happy hours, and stay awake past midnight, even though this was just a few months ago. Hypothesize conspiracy theories about how the ingredients of Patron are specially engineered to disable smart women from making good decisions. Order only one glass of red wine at dinner and talk about that time you had a few too many glasses, overslept for work and needed two triple espressos before noon just to function. Think this constitutes a worthwhile (and funny!) story, and while you’re telling it, make sure to check your Blackberry incessantly, reminding your dinner date that you just never know what can come up at work. They’ll tell you “that’s so crazy! When you leave work you should really be off!” Sigh dramatically and declare “those were the days.”
Date someone who is perfect on paper. And of course you’ll talk about him this way to your friends — how he checks all of your boxes, how sane your relationship is, how many Opentable points he has because of all of the nice dinner dates he takes you on. When your friend declares she’s in love with someone she’s been sleeping with for a week, belittle her by telling her “I miss having crushes.” Start to wonder if it’s true, if your mature and sane relationship has actually become a tacitly lustless agreement between two people who just want a reason to stay in on Friday nights. Rule this out immediately when you totally laugh at all the same jokes on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and wonder if maybe you could grow old together.
Learn how to use your oven. Use Google to find your nearest grocery store and realize you’ve walked past it everyday for the past year without knowing it existed. Write a shopping list with everything and call your mother for suggestions if you really have to. When you get to the grocery store, inspect the produce longer than the person next to you. Look for obscure ingredients like Burdock root and ask “is this locally grown?” Host a dinner party and make an elaborate dinner with at least one French dish that no one will know how to pronounce but you. Get off a little each time you get to correct someone. Impress your friends by confidently explaining the art of a good confit – a few sentences you memorized from the Epicurious recipe. When a friend who’s genuinely surprised that you didn’t fuck up the dinner suggests “you should start a food blog!” start thinking immediately about what you are going to call it. Eliminate any ideas that don’t involve obvious food puns.
Read novels. Well actually, just read one, and tell people how obsessed you are with the author. Compare them to the authors you took in that one English class in college, and situate their work in completely different literary movements like post-modernism and magical realism. Talk about how you spend so much time in front of a screen at work that you just can’t stand to watch TV when you get home. When your friend asks you if you saw that episode of Real Housewives last night, ask nonchalantly “oh, was that on last night?” Pretend you haven’t been thinking all day about it waiting for you on your DVR.
Open a savings account. Don’t worry about if there’s actually any money in it, just being able to casually bring it up in conversation will be intensely gratifying.
Have a mid-life crisis. It is imperative that you use those words verbatim. Dramatizing the two years since college becomes useful again here. Use a disproportionate amount of your free time feeling unsatisfied with how far you’ve come since you graduated. Feel like a capitalist sell-out if you work in the corporate world, or an indulgent artist if you work anywhere outside of it. Pursue random hobbies like record collecting and sculpting, convincing yourself they are the gateway to the promised land of “finding yourself.” Try to write out a 5-year life plan and when you don’t get past next year, have an anxiety attack, call your parents, and let them convince you to go to grad school for a degree you neither want or need. Repeat every month.