I’ve now been out of school for 5 years. It took me 6 to graduate college, meaning that I am a class of 2001 (high school) grad. This summer marks 11 years since I have essentially hit the “Real World” and 5 years since I’ve been in the “Really real, slap you in the face world.” Getting married straight out of college also meant that Real World and all of its trappings came that much sooner. Five years goes by fast, so I thought I’d give a recap of what I’ve learned over this past lustrum.
1. Getting older sucks
This one is kind of a given. Yea, there’s the sore knees and back (my problem) that come along with hitting 30, but there’s also thinning hair, loss of vision and ‘low T’. Since I’m not really experiencing any of the latter, I’m deathly afraid of what to come in the my 3rd decade on this earth. But what really sucks about getting older? All of the cool people who you admire and who shaped you are also getting older. Which means a lot of them are starting to leave this world. There’s not much that can be said for the void that is left by the passing of an elder, especially one that has made a huge impact on you. My 20 years prior to 2007 I was fortunate enough to not experience a lot of loss, but the past 5 years have been pretty tough. With my last 2 great-aunts in OKC passing within a month of each other (2007), to my Papa passing in 2009, the end of the last decade was rough. So yea, getting older is a part of this life, but it sucks.
2. Working a 9-5 (read as 6-6) sucks
This should come to no surprise, but work stinks. Working for someone else, who in turn works for someone else stinks. How people can justify their job by discrediting you is beyond me. If it weren’t for my silly affinity for hot water, video games and chicken, I would so live off of the grid.
3. College is a rip-off
Yea I said it! As I said, it took me 6 years to matriculate through school. I graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology (which makes 94% of people with Engineering degrees look down upon me), and immediately began to work for an environmental testing company. While there, I was paid a base salary, no matter how many hours I worked per day. I also worked with other who held the same position as I did, but were paid hourly. I rarely worked a day in the field that was shorter than 12 hours. In one instance, we were literally on the clock for over 30 hours. So guess who got the shaft? Yep, you got it right if you said the guys w/the degrees (and the student loan debt). So guess who really didn’t trip too much about working 14 hour days in the hot summer sun? Yep, those guys bringing in the extra $$. It only took me 2 months, but I quickly realized that my degree wasn’t all that it had been made out to be. Along with the knowledge I now have of welders, carpenters and maintenance mechanics, and I’m telling you that I may not be too upset if someone tells me they are skipping past the University to take a labor job.
4. The things I enjoyed 5 years ago are still with me…
…but I find that I don’t have time to enjoy them. 5 years ago I enjoyed my PS2, cars (although I didn’t own an import that I could work on, it was something I wanted to do), and working out. Fast forward to the summer of 2012, and I only have about 45 minutes per day to hit the gym. This is usually done at 4am. I can’t usually do it at night, b/c my wife works nights, and I’m with my daughter. I have owned an import that I actually put a fair amount of time into. But I sold it because I literally went 4 months without so much as putting a wrench to her (that was a sad day in the Craig home). Playstation? These days it plays more Disney and Veggie-Tales movies than RPGs. I miss the old days of just having hours to burn.
5. Taxes suck
Paying tax on a pair of shoes is something completely different than having to pay a personal property tax. I don’t think I appreciated just how much it stings to just have to write the county a check because you so happen to own a few things. Makes me want to go off the grid…
So these are just a few of my thoughts on what I’ve learned over the past 5 years. Some things I enjoyed learning, others were painful lessons. What have you learned in this lustrum, which I just learned is Latin for “half of a decade”. Go ahead, add that to your list…