There’s no hiding behind academia, no letting the “path” we’re on be a place of cover, because at some point now we’re starting to reach “destinations.” Marriage, kids, employment, moving… Life has begun to happen to us, and some are left feeling unprepared and maybe others haven’t hit their crisis yet, but it’s coming.
Like leaving high school, it’s a space in between one phase of life and another.
So there’s a distinction between the two camps.
Some friends are still feeling like it’s a whirlwind. They haven’t landed just yet. Yeah, they’re checking off the milestones, but do they feel ready for the full responsibility?
Then there’s those who took it a bit slower, who’ve gone through major changes internally; they don’t even feel like they’re the same person they were 4 years ago, and so it’s harder to relate to their peers.
Who thought that you could change more out of school that during your tenure?
Turns out life is a harsher force for change than peer groups. In college, it’s about conforming, but after… you’re on your own. And so you’re forged more through experience based in reality, which is not the sorority or group project.
But others thrive here. Finally, they live sans doctrine. Finally not playing by someone else’s rules. Sure, you play the game at work, but then you get a check and you make your own choices, like where to live, who to be with and how to spend your free time.
Maybe you even escape family or friends who knew you like someone else, identifying more with the new than the old.
And the spectrum is wide. Some spending money on BMW’s and others still crushed in student debt with an arts degree wondering just how they ended up here. It started out as a clear path but now it’s feeling blurry every which way.
So it’s likely that 28 is less talking about babies and more talking about therapy, buying a house, getting into yoga, or what’s next for your career.
It’s a little more serious.
In fact, that’s the way you tell who’s slowly being beaten down and who’s enjoying life more than ever. Not that they’re immature, but they’re still light-hearted. There are those who haven’t lost the spark. Whereas others, in swimming upstream to pay down rents or figure out what to do with their life is kept too much in their minds to loosen their grip.
They’ll let loose on weekends, but that’s a release, not a part of life’s engagement.
Is this why politics dominate our attention?
The only other thing you keep your eye on is the system that believe got you here, and where it’s heading. You feel if you’re just informed, that you’ll have some perspective and context for where you fit. But the truth is it’s so complex that all of the experts are getting it wrong constantly…
And is this why comedians are the new rockstars?
That everyone is too serious on their own that they need others to provide some comic relief for them?
You don’t get calls anymore, aside from Robo-calls for donations or as scams.
You leave high school or college and you say you’ll stay in touch…
If you’re in a relationship, you do some travel or even just exploring around locally, getting involved in some events and post the photos online.
Your problem is one more of expected monotony; isn’t there more here?
That is if you haven’t decided that it’s the next life-step, house, marriage or kids.
And If you’re single, a bigger divide between the time at work and time spent socializing, even if it’s making the rounds on dating apps wondering just if you’re serious about this or not and if anyone else feels like you do.
That problem is more, “where is this all leading to?”
Is this why we’ve got podcasts? Instagram stories?
Halfway between full-on social interaction and but still just enough removed to not take on any perceived risk of physical presence? We’re scared to commit, so instead, we dip our toes..
And there are those that are posting that they’ve “Finally figured out how to be comfortable alone” – but miss the irony that in posting the missive to the open web hoping they are for some type of feedback or response…
So at 28, you keep in touch by “likes” or emails or views.
Maybe you’re still in the hometown and so not too much has changed, except for the upgrades to the local strip mall or bars, some new restaurants. You’re just a bit older, a bit more settled.
You double tap photos to remind others that you’re still alive and still a part of your life in some way.
You coordinate a bachelor party in a thread with people you’ve barely kept in touch with.
You share a few laughs about the past but you’re unsure what else to talk about.
And for a few who are highly engaged, they’re firing on all cylinders taking on new demands and equally new freedoms.
People are getting married, but some are already splitting up.
It’s another point of change.
This isn’t the first, and I know it won’t be the last