23 is apparently a pretty good year to be alive. Over the past twelve months, 23 year-olds have won Grammies, been nominated for Oscars, and collected Olympic gold medals. They were drafted to professional sports teams, they parlayed sophomoric Youtube videos into movie deals, and they watched their social networking site continue it’s steady march to inter-planetary domination. If this last year is any indication, it appears the 23 year-olds – not the meek – have inherited the earth.
As some of you have already ascertained, none of these glorious things happened to me. But, rather than focus on the considerable gap between me and the growing list of 85ers who have arrived, I would like to talk about a few of my own not-insignificant acheivements last year. Namely, I managed to keep myself alive for almost a full year without the support of an academic institution or my parents.
If this sounds like an insignificant feat to you, consider that our last president and many of my professors could not say the same thing. Somehow, in a display of resolve and ingenuity nothing short of a Darwinian miracle, I have found ways to clean, clothe, and feed myself for going on ten months. A few near-fatal missteps notwithstanding, this world has not gotten the best of me yet, and the future is looking bright as I have food stuffs to last for at least another fortnight. As one might expect, my epic struggle for survival has brought with it a rich bounty of tips, cons, tricks, and rackets essential to surviving the Desert of the Third Decade. As an educator and friend of humanity, I would be remiss if I did not pass along the hard-fought wisdom I have acquired in the trenches of the post-collegiate, pre-apocalyptic moonscape we call “The Real World.”
So, without further ado, allow me to present the first of an infinite part series known as “The Beginning of the End: Life After College,” wherein I share tips for surviving the three arenas of the modern gladiator: professional, social, and domestic. Observe. Enjoy. Imitate.
- The agregate value of HBO’s Original Programming far surpasses the accompanying cost of living in a house that is 10 degrees colder in the winter and 10 degrees hotter in the summer than it otherwise would be.
- No one, and I mean NO ONE (not a jilted-lover, not an overbearing boss, not a heroine dealer, not an accidental baby, not a 37 year-old cougar, not ANYONE) can ruin your life as thoroughly or as quickly as a negligent land-lord can.
- Dish soap is over-priced and overrated. If you need to wash a dish, follow these steps: 1) Turn on faucet. 2) Heat water to lukewarm. 3) Place “dirty” dish under faucet. 4) Hold there until all visible bits of food, carpet, dirt, and hair have been rinsed off. 5) Dry the dish on your shirt.
- Coffee tables are terrible, terrible ideas. Coffee tables are garbage cans with legs. Anything put on a coffee table – be it a burger wrapper, a half-eaten taco, a banana peel, or an old issue of Vibe – will remain there until the occupants of the house move out. If you must have a foot rest, drag a trash can into the living room and set it in front of the couch. This is both more efficient and more honest.
- The “Drink Until it Gets Better” maxim is not an advisable method for addressing physical or emotional pain. While significantly cheaper than psychiatric care, it is easily abused and often results in further physical and emotional pain. Due to its volatility, this method of self-medication should be saved for The Holidays or forced interactions with married friends.