August 22, 2008

reflections on the quarterlife

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 5:15 pm by marinagrey

Today marks the anniversary of the birth of a very good friend of mine who we’ll refer to as “Pouf”. Pouf and I went to high school together and have managed to continue our friendship through college and grad school and into the working world (for her- I worked for one year and now it’s my turn for grad school!).

It is days like birthdays that get me to thinking…and reflecting…on this phenomenon that thanks in large part to John Mayer we refer to as the “quarterlife”  Here we all are, well-educated, well-travelled, and well-groomed, making our way into the world.  For the past 20+ years we’ve been taken care of, challenged, and, frankly, coddled.  And now, its our turn to take action.  Will we succeed? Well, doesn’t that depend on our definition of success?

Therein, I believe, lies the problem.  We may have been taught to define success as closely tied with money or power or fame.  This causes real existential angst when we are also challenged to “make a difference”.  How can we reconcile our need to pay the (hefty) student loan bills with our need to find something fulfilling and worthwhile?

Did we really go through 20+ years of schooling, cello practice, and Cotillion dance lessons just to sit behind a desk all day?

After 25-some years of seeking proper training and molding, I propose that we spend the next 25 years seeking meaning.  Lets try and make the world better- not necessarily by giving away all our worldly possessions or foregoing career for family or vice-versa.  Let’s take stock of what we own and realize that another cashmere cardigan won’t make us a better person.  Let’s value all the friendships we built over evenings of Physics homework and sorority chapter meetings, and let’s make sure we continue to support each other through job changes, failed relationships, and childbirth (or puppy adoption :) ). At the end, we’ll be happier because of it.  We’ll be 50ish, and content.  Maybe not rich or retired, but content.

And that will make all those student loans well worth it.

August 11, 2008

numbers

Posted in observations/musings tagged , at 2:03 am by marinagrey

How do you feel about numbers?

I was in the car the other day with Fabulous Roomie and two other friends, and for some reason we got to discussing our favorite (and least favorite) numbers.

For Example:

The Number Seven

The Number Seven

I very much enjoy the number 7. I think it is the prettiest number. It is a lucky number. It is part of my birthday (December 7th), and to me it is a strong number. I even love the way it is spelled.

I hate the number 6. I don’t know why- I like even numbers generally but something about the number 6 ticks me off. Also 5 always struck me as an annoying number- perhaps a bully?

Is it normal to attribute personalities to numerals? meh…

FR’s favorite number is nine. she also likes 2s- she usually sets her alarm clock to something ending in a 2. She thinks it may be because “I’m the kind of person who follows something sweet with something salty”- AKA she likes balance in her life. Not sure where the nine comes in though- its an odd number and it takes an odd number of odd numbers (3 3s) to make it. She does have two 9s in her birthday… September 9th. Hmmm…

Friend AJB likes the number 5. He’s the kind of person who likes order, and always sets his alarm to an even or rounded interval (no 9:02 am for him!). He says, “Its so important. It is the foundation of our number system. It can be both an odd and is involved in forming multiples of ten. And it was my baseball number as a kid”. Maybe that’s the best explanation- a bit of logic combined with a bit of nostalgia.

Tell me about your favorite number or those that you couldn’t stand!

August 10, 2008

in praise of les femmes

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 11:20 pm by marinagrey

note: this post was written in June of 2008, one month before my move to Chicago and in the midst of the release of Sex and the City and the end (and aftermath) of Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency. -MG

For whatever reason- maybe because I’m moving into womanhood, or maybe because I’m just moving, again, I’ve become acutely aware of the women in my life. Its not that I was ever without a strong female presence, just that for the past few months I’ve really noticed how vital female companionship and love is. One theory is that with the strong presence of women in the media these past few weeks, I cannot help but think of those present in my own life. Indeed, between Carrie Bradshaw and Hillary Clinton, how could I help but reflect?

I am twenty-three. I am recently out of a long-term relationship. I am leaving my first “real” job and returning to school. I am moving to a big city with a girlfriend, and it seems like lately, everyone is either getting engaged, getting pregnant, or getting a life of their very own. So there are many reasons why I’ve noticed the women in my life; the important part is what, exactly, I have noticed.

It began with the breakup. After the end, I called two girlfriends and talked with a third, my housemate. The girls were available immediately, telling me just what I needed to hear and making plans to keep me occupied for the next few days. They sent cards, took me out to dinner, offered a glass of wine. They knew, instinctively, what I needed. I didn’t have to ask; I simply informed them of what had happened and they were there.

That female bonding came into play at a bridal shower I attended (actually, I helped throw it) this past weekend. My family is close with the groom and his parents, not the bride. Yet my mother and the other (female) neighbors spent an entire Saturday ensuring that this young woman had a proper shower. She had food, and family, and beautiful decorations. She even had cake and a goofy tiara to wear. Why? Why did a group of women decide to do this?

That’s the thing about women. We don’t decide to do the things we do. We simply act. Men and women both joke about how much thought females put into things, but the truth is that when it comes to acting on instinct, we can make snap decisions alongside the most primal of men. Women are nurturers. We do not think about consoling a friend through the end of a relationship; it simply must be done. We do not ponder whether we know a fiancée well enough to buy her kitchen appliances; we simply check out the registry.

Perhaps that’s why, as my move-in date draws near, I am increasingly grateful for the women in my life. I know, deep down, that Chicago is not the last city I will live in. After 5 moves in as many years, this is something I sense and know to be true. And I believe also that I will take many missteps and learn some tough lessons in the future, as I have in the past. Most importantly, I know that the women who lived with me, taught me, listened to me, and helped to cushion my falls are also the women who will support me, laugh with me, and be by my side, through our quarterlife and well beyond.

Many thanks, and cheers, to the gals!