Real Life, Week 1

January 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Here comes the real learning process.

Graduating is fantastic. There’s something wonderful about knowing that you won’t be stuck in school forever. After a while, college starts to feel like one endless period of limbo that has no definite ending. That’s the fear, at least. The doom of earning the title of Perpetual Student.

Well, that period is over, and I’ve patted myself on the back for two and a half weeks while enjoying a relatively responsibility-free stint in San Francisco. But now the Honeymoon period is over as well, and I have to face the stark facts of What Is In My Bank Account and What Payments Need To Be Made.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining and I wouldn’t trade my current situation for another semester or two of school–no way. (By the way, is there no way to type in an M-dash on an iPad?) Yes, I am quite a bit stressed, but I know what I need to learn.

One of the difficult things, I think, is trying to find enough time for everything that is important. Going to work to earn some wages: definitely important. Spending time to cook most meals at home to reduce spending: also important. Taking time to clean the apartment in order to concentrate better, be more organized and efficient, and avoid living like a pig: important. Setting aside time for running because it keeps me healthy, makes me crave less junk (thereby saving money), gives me more confidence and self-esteem and helps me avoid sinking into depression: incredibly important. Allotting time for friends: important. Making time for cultural enrichment, like going to museums and galleries, keeping up on design blogs, reading, seeing films (because am I designer or what?): also important. Keeping up with current events, so I can have some clue about what is going on in the world when it’s time for me to exercise my precious right to vote: extremely important. Time for sleep: duh.

Wait, how many hours in each day again?

One of my especial challenges is learning how to be assertive enough and value my own time, and think of my own basic needs. It should be common sense to realize that a college education should earn you more than $10/hour, which is now less than minimum wage in San Francisco… and it probably IS common sense, but I guess I was too blinded with my own insecurities for that to properly register. Well, I had better learn before the time comes when rent and health insurance payments are due and I don’t have enough to cover it. I know I would advise my friends to not sell themselves short or undervalue their time. It’s time to thicken my skin and think more like an alpha male. Those guys have figured out how to turn their worlds into their own personal oysters. I need to at least appear more confident, if nothing else.

And while full-time jobs continue to evade me, I guess it’s also time to embrace the big, scary beast that is freelancing. You can’t freelance and feed yourself if you can’t figure out how to assert yourself and ask for reasonable compensation for your time or money.

My current hypothesis: act like you know what you’re doing, and don’t for a second let on how clueless you really feel, and people may respect you more. (Not to be confused with arrogance or willfull ignorance.)

Signing out now, and hopefully finally enjoying a wee bit of slumber. Key phrases for this week are “balls to the wall” and “cheese whiz.” (If I forget to link those to their explanations later when I’m at an actual computer, someone please remind me.)

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