Whether I like it or not, I am now officially an adult. My parents sold my childhood home, I begrudgingly graduated from college in May, I no longer drink wine out of a solo cup, and I now say things like “who is making that ruckus?!”
I previously thought that I had reached adulthood at 13 when I was forced to memorize hebrew prayers on my iPod color and invite 200 of my closest friends and relatives to a Nikki @ Nite themed party. My rabbi presented me with my new status as a Jewish adult and my very own Manischewitz glass. My braces glistened in the neon lights of the dance hall as we all danced the horah. I still have store credit at Tiffany’s.
I thought again that I had reached adulthood at 15, when my mother presented me with ‘The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls, Revised Edition,’ and told me to consult the book when I noticed “changes.” Unfortunately, the book lacked a Frequently Asked Questions section, and I still to this day have many unanswered questions. When did that get there? What’s a pap smear!? That goes where!?
And again, at 17 when I got my license, at 18 when I could vote, and at 21 when I had my first legal drink…
But it seems that now, at 22, I have finally, actually, really, reached adulthood. I pay the rent, cable and a Poland Spring water dispenser bill. I have a job, a car, and a 401k. My dad borrows my HBOgo password. And while hoards of college kids celebrate the return of another semester, I’m still in the midst of just another work week.
I just celebrated my three-month workiversary alone at my cubicle, and it made me sad. (Mostly because nobody brought me a gluten-free dairy-free cake.) Adulthood and young professional life is lonely. My daily social interactions consist of brief conversations with my colleagues and shaking my head at the men who catcall me on Mass. Ave.
The great diaspora of graduation leaves recent grads, for the first time in our lives, without a central meeting place. I can no longer set up shop in a Tufts dining hall for hours at a time to gossip with each influx of friends as they come to lunch. Gone are the Tuesday pub nights at the local “townie” bar, where, if you could rally a crew to go, promised cheap pitchers and questionable decisions. My friends have dispersed across the country and world, linked by group texts, Instagram tags and snapchats. We are left only with the memories of the hours spent lounging on our porch and stuffing our faces with greasy late-night pizza.
Communities are the crux of human civilization. The Greeks threw dartys in agoras the original frat basements,) the pilgrims pregamed in Plymouth, and the cavemen and women hotboxed their caves. A central meeting place offers congruity, community, and cake. I am currently lacking one.
Friends and How I Met Your Mother lied to me! Contrary to popular television, I don’t spend my workdays sitting in a coffee shop with my friends, or drinking beer every night (and not gaining weight) at the neighborhood bar. Work and workout schedules never seem to line up, and I’m lucky if my roommates and I are home at the same time, let alone willing to drink with me on a work night. Taylor Swift promised a balance of miserable and magical, oh yeah. But, honey, I’m still searching for the magic.
First the first time in my life I am not a member of a team, a sorority, or a daily participant in my family’s traditions. I miss walking out of my house on College Ave., where everybody knows my name. I miss the convenience of a frat party, promising a congregation of familiar characters. I miss my 15% student discount at JCrew.
The college bubble has been popped, and I am aimlessly drifting like that plastic bag Katy Perry sings about in that catchy tune that plays on the radio. I’m caught somewhere between Hannah Horvath and Liz Lemon- not quite ready to work on my night cheese but also not quite ready to expose my nipples to Brooklyn. I feel underprepared and underwhelmed about what’s in store. Also, I’ve been spending a lot of money in stores.
It’s silly to me that I spent hours learning how to fairly divide a rhubarb pie between dinner guests, yet I don’t possess the skills to bake said pie. It’s bizarre that I can describe for you the postmodern hyperspace of ‘The Matrix’ and how it relates to Jameson’s ‘Postmodernism and The City,’ but I cannot describe for you how to navigate the city in which I live. Do people acquire these skills in their twenties? Are there classes I should know about? Will Morpheus be visiting soon?
I now understand why people go to graduate school. I want structure, I want establishment, I want routine, I want a puppy. But since I can’t yet afford vet bills, I’d settle for a neighborhood bar- a watering hole to call my own, that promises familiar faces, a new community, and some sort of deals on beer.
I’m optimistic that with the right network of mutual friends and a persistent bar hopping schedule, a local pub and a sense of belong will be found. And as people move in and out of cities, jobs and relationships, new friendships will form. No amount of trivia nights or paint bars will replace the social experience of college, but hey, that’s what homecoming is for!
Anyone wanna grab drinks this week?