Posts Tagged roommates

Twenty-something questions on yoga, wine and dogs

Why does wine after yoga always lead to overly drunken evenings? If downdog is so easy for dogs, then why don’t dogs just teach yoga? Or brew beer? Why don’t all coffee shops already sell beer and wine – or at least Irish coffees?

Why is the laundry machine always taken? Why do some of the best desserts have cereal in them? Will we ever get too old for Reese’s Puffs or Cocoa Crispies? How sad will we be if we do? Where does the word “housework” come from? As a kid, we all do “homework” but when we’re adults we have to do “housework” – what’s the difference, anyway? Will the floors ever stay clean for more than a day? Do you still believe in the 10-second rule?

Why does everyone who’s writing a college paper double space to start a sentence? Were we all just trying to make our papers seem longer? And is that what Taylor Swift’s song “Blank Spaces” is really about? Why is Taylor Swift a guilty pleasure for so many of us? When will we decide our favorite decade of music?

Why can we all get away with blaming the weatherman? Who else was traumatized by the movie, “Twister?” Or “Titanic?” Why don’t we appreciate our parents enough until people our age start becoming parents? Whose parents don’t love wine?

If you can be engaged to your significant other and you can be engaged at work, what does the word engage really mean? When will we truly take the freedom to define things for ourselves?


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The good, bad, beautiful: Unlimited reasons to run

It’s been said that people become more health-conscious in their late twenties or early thirties. So it seems appropriate at this point to say R is for Running. And there are lots of reasons why.

Sometimes I have such pleasant thoughts while running: “The world is beautiful.” “This is real life and this is great.”

Other times I’m not so lucky: “Ugh, my hamstring hurts.” “I … can’t … breathe …” “Am I not even at Mile 1 yet?”

Sometimes I make minor discoveries while jogging away: “That coffee shop looks relaxing.” “This street smells like bread – aha! there’s the Gonnella factory!” “I didn’t know there was a Kuma’s here. Time for a burger date this weekend.” “And here’s where I went out with my roommate last Halloween!”

Other times I’m bored by familiar landmarks: “That junker SUV hasn’t moved in months.” “I never get this stoplight green.” “Hello mini splash park, goodbye Mile 3.”

During some runs, I’m a philosopher: “It’s not about having time. It’s about making time.” “Why do I seem to worry the most about things that are completely out of my control? I need to work on that.”

Other times, my mind is pleasantly empty: “                     .”

Sometimes the world seems to smile at me: “Sprinkler! Score!” “Aww, that cute kid just waved at me.” “Free donuts beginning at 8 a.m.? Just enough time to finish this run, shower and grab one before work!” “What’s this on the ground? It looks like … it is … it’s $80 bucks!”

And other times, I’m the fly hitting the windshield: “Eek! OMG! OK, you’re OK, that was just a barking dog. Breathe.” “That was kinda squishy … that’s because it was goose poo. Lovely.” “How many oblivious couples with strollers can there be on one street at one time?!? Seriously.”

Running brings the good times and the bad, but all of these times are why there will be a next time. All of these are reasons why I run. Not just to stay in shape, to burn calories so I can eat more food, to enjoy the camaraderie of races or to be outside. (Although those are all great side effects.)

I run to experience the variety of life through one continuous lens – that of a runner – an actively moving, striving, progressing, growing human being. And I run because that perspective makes me a better person.

So give it a try. Go for a run. Even if your knee hurts or you can’t breathe after two blocks or you’re bored out of your mind, maybe, somewhere in that adversity, you’ll find your own reason to run.

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The many milestones of twenty-something life

This month is shaping up to be full of big days for me and a bunch of my friends. And it’s all just an illustration that this phase of life can be full of milestones, even though we’re past the phase of first kisses and high school graduations. I offer a few examples:

  • One of my college roommates is beginning her three-year medical residency to become a pediatrician. The process of getting “matched” with a residency is one more that’s even more subjective, unpredictable and crazy than rushing the most selective of sororities, so it’s amazing that she got placed at such a well-regarded hospital (Advocate Lutheran General in Park Ridge) and that she’s finally made it to the last step of toward becoming a real-life doctor.
  • One of my close friends from college is being deployed. He’s headed to Japan and/or Korea after more than three years in the Navy. And he still has about two years left of his commitment to service. He’s been training as a medic and learning the combat techniques of the Marines, and now it’s go time. I’d be scared.
  • Another friend is moving into a townhouse she and her fiancee just bought in Des Plaines. I’m not someone who has lot of friends who’ve bought houses, so this is a big deal. And it’s a bigger deal for this friend and her fiancee, who have been dating for more than five years.
  • Another couple I know who’s had a house for a while – a starter house of a duplex, actually – is moving soon into a brand-new home they just. It’s kind of on the far edge of suburbia, if you can even call it that. But it’s making them happy and that’s what matters.

Sadly, though, I don’t know which milestones are being reached by everyone who’s mattered so far in my life. I’ve lost touch with some of my formerly close friends from college and high school. With one college roommate in particular, this breaks my heart. But it’s a sign. The moment you don’t know what’s going on in the lives of some of the people with whom you used to share everything, you know adulthood is here.

It’s the big leagues now. These milestones will keep piling up. They’ll matter to us, but less deeply than milestones did when we were 10 or 16. But these moments will tell us we can’t hide from it anymore: We’re adults and we’ve already been adults and we’ve already been acting like it – for a while. This comes with self-determination and freedom, chores and duties and responsibilities.

But we’re ready. We wouldn’t be moving in with our fiancées, beginning the last step toward becoming doctors, getting deployed overseas, buying houses, building new houses or otherwise chasing our dreams and taking names if we weren’t.

So enjoy your milestone, whatever it is, and make sure to share it with those you want to keep in your life. Because they deserve to enjoy it, too.

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Loneliness lives, but it doesn’t have to win

I’ve been thinking about loneliness lately. It’s not usually seen as a symptom of twenty-something life, luckily, but it can creep in sometimes.

There’s the “leaving a family gathering” sad feeling that tends to crop up when you’re headed back home to an apartment empty of friends, roommates or companions, when you’ve just spent a day filled with siblings, parents, other relatives and that generally awesome thing called love. It’s as if you can feel the warmth of family staying where you were and the coldness of reality, work, chores and adulthood seeping back in to where you’re going. And all you can do is drive into it and face it. Be an adult. Get back to the “real world.”

Then there’s the “quiet day at the office” isolated feeling that can happen if you work for a small company or everyone else is at a convention or your desk is off in some weird corner where the heat and AC don’t seem to reach. It’s as though life is all about work and work is the only important thing in life. It makes time pass soooo sloooowly and lunch, or your shift’s equivalent of the glorious stroke of 5 p.m., seem an eternity away. But all you can do is type away, click away, call away, write, design, compute, calculate, plan, organize and otherwise work the time away and be an adult. Get your work done or else. That’s life.

Some of us might get lonely for our college roommates or our high school besties or the bunk bed we shared with our brother. Others might get lonely for a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner who’s deployed overseas or a sister who’s working a job seven states away.

Lonenliness isn’t inherent to twenty-something life, but it’s an unavoidable, occasional emotion for people of every age. So lately, I’ve been doing my best to guard against it.

The easiest ways are through texts, gchats, Facebook messages, emails or phone calls. But the best ways are through real, in-person get-togethers.

I know you’re reading this online and half of our lives are online and kind words sent electronically can help to ease the “I’m all alone” blues. But they’re not the same as laughter heard face-to-face or high-fives shared over hockey shootout victories or even tears shed over the loss of a person, a place or a phase.

So loneliness. It’s going to strike. And by now, we probably know when, and we probably know why. But let’s do our best not to let loneliness win.

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Twenty-something questions for an early spring day

Will social media be a part of the entire rest of our lives? How will we make sure we’re not the generation who forgot how to interact in person?

What are they going to call 90s and 2000s music when it’s the equivalent of “oldies”? Wouldn’t work be better if we could all listen to our own music? Are the remnants of instrumental skills from elementary school still helping us be smarter? Will the whole stand-up desk fad really catch on at the office? Or will we all be sitting on medicine balls someday soon?

Why does where to live involve so many other decisions? Who to live with? House or townhouse or condo or apartment? In which town?

I wonder: which sport has the most fair-weather fans? And which team? Is football better in the rain … or snow?

Why is a “free” beer with a haircut one of the most exciting things ever?

Why does my next vacation seem so far away? Can there ever be any better vacation destination than Hawaii? Where’s the best place you’ve ever been on vacation? The worst?

Why does cleaning have to be a never-ending battle? What if you were offered a trip to Never-Never Land? What would the world have gotten excited about if there was no “Harry Potter”? Or “Star Wars”?

Does it get harder to learn history as time goes on? Anyone else have a high school history teacher who introduced himself by saying he was “high on life?”

Doesn’t thinking about “retirement” in your twenties feel like thinking about dinner at breakfast?

What surprises will life throw at us next? And what will we do to be ready?

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Twenty-something questions on roommates, vacations and dessert

Why is hogging practically the entire fridge the best part of your roommate being on vacation? Why is not having to close the bathroom door while peeing the other best part? When will be my next vacation? Where will I go?

Will I ever be able to get enough sleep? Or adventure? Or ice cream? Will the gelato trend die out soon? Why don’t more Dairy Queens stay open year-round?

Where was your first job? Where might be your next?

Why do bug bites itch? Why does the same spider seem to show up in my room every time I least expect it?

Why would anyone ever record a box fan for nine hours and post it to YouTube? What might I find if I impulse clicked videos on YouTube? Why have I never felt the need to try that?

Does my smartphone think I’m dumb? What would Siri do? Or what would Jesus do? What would your mom do? When did you last see your mom? Your grandparents? Your siblings? Your feet? (just kidding)

What would you change if life gave you one do-over? Why is saying “I’d change nothing” taking the easy way out? And why does the easy way often seem like the best way?

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A clean(ish) bathroom: One sure sign of adulthood

Today I will be cleaning my bathroom. Because tomorrow, I might be having company. Before you think my life is totally dull, let me assure you – it is. My life is so dull, and I’m such an old fogey, that I actually clean up my place before people come over. Woe is me, 26-going-on-56-year-old me.

Seriously, though, the realization that I actually want to tidy up my apartment a bit before friends or family drop by sure did make me feel old. It represented a change in my thought process on cleaning, and that change only could have come with age.

I used to think it was silly to clean up before anyone came over. Why fake a spotless place when you’re actually human and like to leave not-quite-dirty shirts on the floor, a pile of bills and coupons on the counter and assorted junk on the kitchen table? Why fake cleanliness and perfection when your friends and family know who you really are and how organized you are (or aren’t)?

I still agree with the don’t-bother-faking-it philosophy, which could make my urge to clean before company even more mysterious. But a new thought popped up, and it’s one of practicality and efficiency: If you have to clean sometime (and a few years in the career world living on your own teaches you, you do have to clean occasionally), then why not clean right before people come over? If your place is going to be extra-clean for a day or two, why not have others witness and enjoy it? That way, you’ve got proof that you actually clean, which maybe can bring a little more enjoyment out of the process.

I’m not saying I clean my bathroom or sweep my kitchen floors or vacuum my living room carpet every day … or every time my boyfriend comes over … or even every week. I’m just saying I finally understand why adults like to clean before they host friends or family.

It’s a simple time-saver, and in a way, that’s what adult life is all about – saving time on the boring stuff to carve out as much time as possible for the things that matter: Finding our life’s work, doing it, and enjoying ourselves in the process … with a clean bathroom.

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