Saturday, July 15, 2006


My first two years in college, I worked at a bank inside a grocery store in the evenings and on Saturdays. After staying up until unholy hours of the night on Fridays, I would stumble out of bed on Saturday morning around 6:00, iron my clothes, shower, shave, get dressed, and make my way to bank by 7:30. Because Saturdays were never very busy at the bank, I would stand there and watch people, particularly couples that seemed to be a few years older than me, and think to myself, "Man... it must be nice to be graduated, married, and working a real job that doesn't require Saturday hours." While I was busy trying to figure out how to make that month's tuition payment, finish all my assignments, and still manage to have a decent social life, here were these people leisurely strolling through Wal-Mart on a Saturday morning who had no homework to worry about, no tuition payments, and a social life that was pretty much already established. I wondered if I would ever get to go to the grocery store with my wife on a Saturday morning and enjoy the freedoms of a life unhindered by college responsibilities.

I believe that time has arrived for me. This morning I slept in until 9:00, and then I went and bought a bag of peaches from a guy at a road side stand. I came home and ate a peach for breakfast, mowed the grass (there's something almost enjoyable about moving your yard on a nice Saturday morning), and then laid on my raft in the pool for about an hour. When DW came home, we folded laundry together, showered, got dressed, and we went and had lunch together at her favorite restaraunt. The waitress brought us cake afterwards, and not wanting to be rude, we enjoyed it. We came home after that, hung out for a little while, did some things around the house, took a nap together, and now she's doing something in the kitchen and I'm blogging.

We didn't actually go to the grocery store (we usually do that on Sunday's), but the point is that (even though DW is a grad student) we are in a totally different stage of life than we were in just a few years ago as undergraduate students. Being in college was fun and adult life certainly has its fair share of not-so-fun realities and responsibilities, but the more I think about what my life is like today compared to what it was like my first couple years of college (and I really enjoyed my college experience), the more I appreciate the stage of life I'm at right now. It's not perfect and there are certainly things I miss about being in college, but being an adult unfettered by the chains of academic deadlines, social pressures, and part-time weekend jobs is pretty cool.

Typically I tend to be someone who is never really satisfied with my current situation. I'm always usually looking forward to something in the future. Whether it's an upcoming vacation, college football season, christmas, the day I get my first promotion at work, the day I buy a new car, having kids, or something else that I haven't already experienced or don't already have, I always seem to have a difficult time being satisfied with where I'm currently at in life.

Well... at least for a little while, I'm going to try to make a more concerted effort to enjoy the stage of life I'm at and not wish it away on, "I can't wait until when's."

My name is DH, I'm a young adult with adult responsibilities, and life is good.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The World Has Gone Bananas

So this friend of mine has this friend whose dad owns a construction company. The construction company, as construction companies often do, employs a lot of immigrants (both legal and illegal I presume).

Recently the company's payroll system went bazerk and they lost all of the information on all the employees including the number of hours they'd worked in the most recent work week.

No problem right? You just get with each one of the people on the crew, have them re-submit their hours, re-run the payroll, and pay them a few days late... at least that's what any normal, reasonable, sane, warm blooded, abstract thinking, rational human being would think.

Well... the guy who owns the construction company sits down with each one of his employees, goes over all their hours, re-inputs their information into the system, and everything's fine. Then, he gets to the last guy (He probably wasn't the last guy, but it adds flare to the story to say he was the last guy).

So he gets to the last guy (or whatever order of guy he was) and goes through all the information with him, explains to him what's happened, takes down the number of hours from the guy, and then asks him if it's OK if he cuts him a check on Monday (this was on a Friday).

The construction worker (who - by the way - was a citizen of Mexico... not that that's relevant to the story but it helps you get a better mental picture) looks at the construction company owner and with a straight face says, "Actually, if it's OK, can you just pay me in bananas this week?"

A little puzzled, the owner asks Pedro (probably not really his name, but by now you're getting used to my creative liberties) if he's serious and Pedro assures him that he is in fact 100% serious.

Pedro goes on to tell him again that he would indeed like to be paid in bananas and if it'd be alright, could they go together after work that day to the supermarket and purchase them.

While I don't know exactly how many bananas were purchased, I do know that they had to go to multiple supermarkets that afternoon to buy them all.

I think the next time I'm up for a raise at work, I'm just going to ask my boss if he could just keep paying me the same salary I've been making, but for my raise, would it be possible to have that in bananas?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Talkin Bout My Generation

I heard about this on someone else's blog recently, but apparently there are bunch of people my age out there that appear to be having what experts call a "Quarter Life Crisis."

Said quarter life crisis is characterized by the following attributes or feelings:
  • confusion of identity
  • insecurity regarding the near future
  • insecurity regarding present accomplishments
  • re-evaluation of close interpersonal relationships
  • disappointment with one's job
  • nostalgia for college life
  • tendency to hold stronger opinions
  • boredom with social interactions
  • financially-rooted stress
  • loneliness
The entry then goes to say:

After the initial excitement of adult life and its responsibilities wears off, some individuals find themselves in a world of career stagnation and extreme insecurity.

As the emotional ups-and-downs of adolesence and college life subside, many in the quarter-life crisis experience a "graying" of emotion. While emotional interactions may be intense in a high school or college environment – where everyone is roughly the same age and hormones are highly active – these interactions become subtler and more private in adult life.

Furthermore, a contributing factor to this crisis may be the difficulty in adapting to a workplace environment. In college, professors' expectations are clearly given and students receive frequent feedback on their performance in their courses. By contrast, in a workplace environment, a person may be, for some time, completely unaware of a boss's displeasure with his performance, or of his colleagues' dislike for his personality. Office politics require interpersonal skills that are largely unnecessary for success in an educational setting. Emerging adults eventually learn these social skills, but this process – sometimes compared to learning another language – is often highly stressful.

A primary cause of the stress associated with the "quarter-life crisis" is financial in nature. Real wages for most people have been dropping since the 1970s, and most professions have become highly competitive. Positions of relative security – such as tenured positions at universities and "partner" status at law firms – have dwindled in number. This, combined with excessive downsizing, means that many people will never experience occupational security in their lives, and this is doubly unlikely in young adulthood. Generation X was the first generation to meet this uncertain "New Economy" en masse.

The era when a professional career meant a life of occupational security – thus allowing an individual to proceed to establish an "inner life" – is coming to a crashing end. Financial professionals are often expected to spend at least 80 hours per week in the office, and people in the legal, medical, educational, and managerial professions may average more than 60. In most cases, these long hours are de facto involuntary, reflecting economic and social insecurity. While these ills plague adults at all ages, their worst victims are ambitious, unestablished young adults.

In The Cheating Culture, David Callahan illustrates that these ills of excessive competition and insecurity do not always end once one becomes established – by being awarded tenure or "partner" status – and therefore the "quarter-life crisis" may actually extend beyond young adulthood. Some measure of financial security – which usually requires occupational security – is necessary for psychological development. Some have theorized that insecurity in the "New Economy" will place many in a state of, effectively, perpetual adolescence, and that the rampant and competitive consumerism of the 1990s and 2000s indicates that this is already taking place.

So why do I post all of this? I'm at the age where I've already experienced or am currently experiencing many of the above mentioned characteristics of a quarter life crisis. Apparently a lot of other people my age are too.

There are two things that I find interesting about all this.

One, until yesterday I believed that the so called "quarter life crisis" that seems to plague so many people my age was just called "life." Growing up, I was always taught that change was a natural part of life and that with change, sometimes came difficult adjustments. Life is full of transitions... do we need to name them all? When a five year old starts kindergarten and is faced with all the emotions and struggles that accompany a new life away from Mommy and Daddy, should we call that a "One Twentieth Life Crisis?" Is it really necessary to attach a name and scientific study to everything? I won't even get into the fact that most people don't live to be 100.

The second thing I find interesting about this phenomenon is that (as much as I dislike the name of it) up until yesterday (having experienced many of these same emotions myself) I thought I was in the minority of people. At work, church, and other activities I'm involved in, I see people my age who always seem to have it all together. Come to think of it, I probably seem to have it all together to most of the people I know. What's interesting to me is that we're all a lot more complicated underneath than we ever let people see. We're all a little bit like a cake that's been taken out of the oven too soon. It looks good and done on the outside, but if you poke it with a toothpick, you end up getting a bunch of gooey cake mess all over the toothpick because the inside's still not done yet. Even more interesting is the fact that the gooey cake-covered toothpick phenonemon is the same with every cake no matter what kind of cake it is and no matter who made it. The same applies to people at any age... not just to those in their mid-twenties.

Anywhooo... if you think you're having a "Quarter Life Crisis" don't sweat it. If the above mentioned characteristics are indicators of a "Quarter Life Crisis" then you, me, and the rest of the people on this planet are probally all suffering from one. I guess what I'm saying is that I don't always think it's necessary to attach a name to something to give it validation. From now on, let's all make a concerted effort to refer to the characteristics above as they were meant to be called - life.

One more thing, let's all try to show a little more of our gooey undone inside a little more often... adult life does not have to be characterized by it's "private nature" and "graying emotions." Just because most of our parents and grandparents did it that way, doesn't mean we have to too. At the same time, let's not turn into a bunch of over emotional way too in touch with our inner-self over-the-top flaming pansies either. That would just be too much to stomach.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

Personally, I'm not sure. However, if you've been wondering where in the blogosphere is the contributor of Our Adventures in Life... he's been very busy taking care of some academic pursuits.

Said academic pursuits should be completed by the end of the month and regular blogging should once again commense.

In the mean time, with only 53 days until football returns to Norman, why not read about my beloved Oklahoma Sooners?