Archive for June, 2013

This week’s forecast: Pants in summer

The weather says it’s gonna be 90. Or 86. Or even 77.

You decide to wear pants.

“My sandblasted jeans won’t attract too much sun,” you think. Or “yoga pants would be comfy today.” Or “It’s just not a shorts day.”

Guess what?

You, pants-in-summer-wearer, have just officially reached adulthood.

Being forced to wear pants in the summer as a kid is always a bummer. “It’s too freakin hot for pants” is all kids can think, maybe minus the “freakin” if they’re young enough.

And having to wear pants during summer as a teen usually symbolizes responsibility – too much of it. Work at Olive Garden or the movie theater or your dad’s business. Or maybe some activity that used to be fun but now you’re stuck with: marching band, church youth group, baseball camp.

Even while spending college summers interning, having to wear pants is a drag. It feels too adult and reminds you that while you’re trying to make your bar-hopping and going-out clothes look professional, and busting your butt at a low- or no-pay internship, your less responsible friends are at the beach, or better yet, in the lazy river at the water park that sells alcohol.

Plus, there’s still the heat factor.

When you’re doing the obligatory running from place to place or attending outdoor events that all internships seem to require, it’s hard not to turn into a little kid again and think “it’s too damn hot for pants!” over and over again, in the tone of that YouTube phenom famous for saying “the rent is too damn high!”

So when the strange moment comes, when closet-hunting on summer days off leads you straight to your pants section and you choose to wear pants independent of any outside influences – you know you’ve officially reached adulthood.

You’ve realized summer doesn’t always equal bare calves. You’ve become an adult by admitting your day is going to be tame enough, lacking the random play of kids with beach balls, lawn sprinklers and Slip ‘n’ Slide’s, that you won’t need shorts to make it through.

So happy summer, you official adult, you, and happy pants days.

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Adulthood and the office sweater

I brought something to work the other day that made me feel old.

I didn’t want to become the person who keeps a sweater at her desk against the chill of a poorly temperature-controlled office. It somehow seemed like such a middle-aged thing to do. It was never something I put much thought into; I just assumed the need for an office sweater didn’t apply to me, and wouldn’t for quite some time … if at all.

I’ve never been one to get all goosebumpy too easily, so why would I need an extra garment slung permanently over my desk chair to guard against phantom bouts of unexplainable cold?

I didn’t … for a good two and a half years of my career world existence. And then something happened. Something that resulted in more than a week straight of shivering through every second I spent tapping away at my office keyboard or chatting away on my work phone.

I can’t say exactly what that something was, although my gut tells me it was a malfunction of some sort in the building’s heating and/or air conditioning system. What else could make me (and my small cadre of coworkers) all to begin to notice how darn cold the office felt, and all at the same time?

There is one thing, and it’s the real reason I’m admitting to feeling slightly middle-aged here. Part of me fears the “something” that happened to make me feel constantly cold was not a secret budget-cutting measure dropping the thermostat down a few degrees or an ill-timed switch to air conditioning instead of heat, but something internal with my body, with me. While it seems unlikely to notice a change so quickly, I fear my metabolism has changed, slowed, and I really have begun becoming old.

After more than a week of wallowing in worry as well as in cold, I gave in. I chose comfort over pride. I brought in an office sweater.

For those twenty-somethings who always have been the easily cold type, this would be nothing new, not at all the scary sign of aging I’m trying not to let it become.

Clearly, it’s only a sweater. And I’m just trying to be comfortable at work, where the painfully-employed among us spend the majority of our waking hours at least five days a week.

There is one consolation to this latest realization that I must officially have reached adulthood because I need an office sweater. My “sweater” of choice is actually my favorite old track jacket from high school, a teal green zip-up from Hollister of all places reading “Bayside Beach soccer.”

It’s bright and silly – young. Which is a sign of exactly what twenty-somethings are good for: bringing a bit of youth to the most adult aspects of everyday life.

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To Dads with love: An open letter

Dear Dads,

We know you’ll be getting Father’s Day cards and gifts to this effect in a few days, but we wanted to take this time to more thoroughly explain our love for you.

Whether you’re the long-talks-about-life type, the lead-by-example type or something in between, we’ve learned a lot from you.

Maybe it’s your philosophy on important purchases: Do your research. Think it through. And buy neither the cheapest nor the most expensive option; pick something of good quality in between.

Maybe it’s your amazing recall of song lyrics to fit any mood or your generosity and selflessness and untiring work ethic.

Maybe you taught us how to make the best breakfast potatoes we’ve ever eaten; how to save a few drops of gas by easing off the accelerator earlier before red lights; how to water ski; how not to jump too quickly into relationships and how to be a good judge of character.

We’ve gained a lot from your influence, but there are certainly plenty of lessons we haven’t yet learned. The ones you’ve been trying to teach us for years – ALWAYS drive slower than you think you need to in the snow; reapply sunscreen more often than the bottle says, and wear a hat while you’re at it; arriving five minutes early is on time, and being on time is late.

There are surely more life lessons to come – the ones we can’t predict, but we’ll encounter as our lives progress.

Dads, you’ve been there for us at our park district soccer games, our middle school band concerts, our high school senior award ceremonies and our college graduations. You’ve been there when we’ve called home stressed out about some monster midterm, some funny noise our car is making, or even some stupid guy or girl.

We haven’t always thanked you, or said we love you, but we should have. Because we are thankful, and we do love you. We are listening to your advice, and more often than not, we are learning.

If not for you, we wouldn’t be here – literally and figuratively. If not for you, we wouldn’t understand the defensive three-second rule in basketball, the best way to impress our bosses or the history of Disco Demolition day at Comiskey Park. If not for you, we’d be lost – and that’s not just because we inherited your inert sense of direction.

We’d be lost without you, Dads, but with you, we’re centered, confident and right on track. We might wander, bruise our elbows in adult league softball so badly they can’t bend, fall down the rabbit hole of 401k confusion or forget how to recreate the magic of your breakfast potatoes.

But in all those moments, too, we know you’ll be there for us – in person, a phone call away, or even in spirit. You’re our fathers – you can’t help yourselves but love us, unconditionally, and we feel it.

So you see, that’s what we mean when we give you Father’s Day cards or ties or iTunes money or baseball tickets. You’re our Dads, and even if you wear elastic-waisted jean shorts in public, you rock and you always will.

Happy Father’s Day!

Love always,

Twenty-something Times

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C is for getting Carded

In our twenties, we have mixed feelings about getting carded, and that’s understandable. The experience can be welcome, completely routine, embarrassing, flattering or annoying depending on where you’re required to produce some ID. If it’s …

… to see an R rated movie: Seriously, 16-year-old theater employee, do you have to card everyone who looks under 50? You’re holding up the line.

… to buy an R rated DVD: Strange. Looking young is nice, but I can’t seriously look like I might still be in high school, can I?

… to get into Dave and Buster’s: If you were carding me at the bar, I’d understand. But at the door? I feel so much older than 18 I’m surprised you can’t see it on my face.

… when you’re 21: *Produces drivers license with pride, even swagger* Damn right I’m legal. Now what’s the cheapest beer you’ve got?

… when you’re 25: Routine. Weirder when it doesn’t happen … except at the corner pub where you’ve started to kinda know everyone. You never get carded there.

… with your parents: Get ready for the uncomfortable jokes about how you’re all grown up.

… at a concert: Just gimme the wristband already – I need to get as close to the stage as I can, and fast! Sheesh.

… at a wine bar: I guess I don’t look sophisticated enough to be here? Probably accurate. But age sure isn’t stopping me!

… at a summer festival: Wait, I have to pay for the wristband now, and for my drinks later? And what charity is this benefitting??

… when you’re 29: Can’t claim to know just yet, but I’d have to imagine it’d be something like this – rare, and not necessarily unwelcome or specifically welcome. Glad to look possibly college-aged, yet glad not to be drinking in a college bar.

What’s the strangest place you’ve ever been carded? How do you feel about the experience at this point in your twenties? Are your feelings as mixed as mine?

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