First you grow up being told, with bitterness and resentment, "wait until you get to the real world!" Adults would speak these words as if they were sinking into metaphorical barcaloungers in baggy sweat pants, with a long bucket list of things that never got done while they should have been 'living it up' in the fantasy world of adolescence.
And then the Emo movement had everyone believing "there's no such thing as the real world," (thank you John Mayer,) and suddenly we were free to self-reflect on this new aspect of life called, well, "life." The real world wasn't real; it was an evil, corporate, greed-filled world of ladder climbers and soccer moms fooled into thinking they were the "normal" ones. Yes, the pop-punk Emo cultural wave produced some dark days for happiness and stability, (but who would actually want that anyway?)
So what is this time in my life, real or not real?
This past summer I made some very "grown-up" decisions as I moved across two states with a very large couch and a stack of cookbooks to a house with a yard, which I have to mow, for a 9-5 job with a Dell computer. Now tell me this isn't the ever-aniticipated, socially constructed "real world." And you know what I think?
I love it! I get eight hours of sleep, I look forward to my coffee every morning, I'm on a "normal" schedule for the first time, and I get to plan out my weekends with other real world victims. Personally, I work well on a schedule so some may call me a boring cog in the American fantasy story, but whatever - bring it on - I'm having a blast!
This "real world," or whatever it is, requires a schedule in order to pay the bills and pack in the fun, and somewhere inside of me it has triggered a little obsessive compulsive behavior when it comes to setting my personal standards very high. Suddenly this la-la "whatever happens" girl, (me,) is finding competition quite appealing, particularly in the field of running. I started running leisurely in order to get my daily exercise into my schedule with the rest of society, but somewhere it turned into running up mountains, trying to beat personal bests on each new jaunt, and signing up for races in preparation for bigger and longer marathons. Where did this come from?! Ten years ago I had a high metabolism, hated working out, snuck out of gym class in high school, and ate french fries and milk shakes for midnight snacks. Now? I eat quinoa almost everyday, drink coconut water, and have set a new goal of running an Ultra: a 100 mile trail run. That is an obsession, I mean discussion, for a different day.
Sure I'm probably over-educated for this job and not making enough for investments, (not like I actually know what a stock is anyway,) but I look forward to Mondays, I get to talk to amazing children everyday, I laugh more with my co-workers than anyone, and I have the assurance that what I do is truly making a difference. I'll gladly trade a few stocks for someone telling me, "thank you so much for everything you do."
Regardless of what you call it, whether I've succumbed to the drone of society or not, I have a jam-packed schedule of amazing life-changing events every single day and I am soaking it up. Yes, I do love this 9-5 "real world" life, even with the bumps. Watch out, I may even be caught whistling a tune while I throw laundry in the washer at the end of a hard day.