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Sidelines

9 Aug

My best friend is freshly engaged to be opposite married. She and her fiance (!) both hold down jobs (read: have paychecks) and are fully independent.

Because I’ve chosen to prolong my education by three years, and because I’ve chosen to prolong the completion of my education by one year by taking time off between undergrad and law school, I will not be in a similar position for at least four more years.

I don’t mean in a position to be married, exclusively, because that isn’t at the top of my to-do list. But the idea that I could get married if I wanted to, that I would be financially capable of independently running a home and enjoying a comfortable lifestyle, instead of being on the sidelines of life as a perpetual student, is definitely appealing.

Then again, what is opposite marriage or financial independence next to the successful pursuit of knowledge, anyway? Certainly I’m taking the path to a higher existence! Right? Right??

Resolutions: 2010

1 Jan

I like New Year’s resolutions. Two years ago, I decided to stop being fat, lost fifteen pounds, and have never looked back. (Except for the three and a half months that I lived in London. I got a little pudgy then.) Before I launch into my (short) list of ways that I intend to be better in the coming year, I think it would be beneficial to consider the year that just passed.

2009 was, for the U.S. as a nation, perhaps not the greatest. Unemployment soared, Rush Limbaugh was sent to the hospital but unfortunately did not kick it, and The Biggest Loser remained on TV. For me, personally, though, not a bad year. In chronological order, the good things that happened to me:

  • I turned 21. Forget that I spent September-December of 2008 legally marinating in vodka in London before returning to the States and turning 21 in January. The birthday was still a milestone.
  • I went on my first cruise. Very enjoyable, and very, very affordable. Especially if you forgo the twelve-dollar cocktails.
  • I spent two weeks in South Korea. It was awesome, and I want to go back.
  • June 2009 LSAT. Yes, it was a good day.
  • Law school applications were completed, and apparently not laughed at and then burned by admissions committees. I’ve been accepted into every school I’ve heard back from, and money has been thrown around. Not bad.

Yes, 2009 was enjoyable. In the hopes of making 2010 as enjoyable, if not more so, I will concentrate on the following resolutions.*

  • Lose five pounds. Accomplish this by recommitting to five days a week in the gym, a balanced diet, and decreased alcohol consumption. Stop losing weight when your clothes begin getting too big. You went on a shopping spree from August to December of 2009, and that won’t be repeated in the new year.
  • Decrease your damn alcohol consumption, VS. Seriously. No joking around anymore. Limit drunkenness to one night a month and glasses of red and gin-based cocktails to three per week (at most). Learn to have fun at college bars without needing to take shots of tequila. Failing that (I anticipate a fail because college bars are a big LOSE), coerce persuade your friends to join you at that fun grad student bar off the square where you can indulge in one of your three libations of the week.
  • Stop being afraid, particularly of law school. Don’t imagine that you are going to drop out (and that if you don’t, you will be a terrible lawyer). People go to law school everyday, and half of them graduate above median! (Ignore the bottom half, for your own sanity.) At least, don’t worry about it this year, as you are not even going this year. Postpone ulcer-inducing panic until at least Spring 2011.

Most of all–really, really, most of all–I want to stop being afraid and panicking about my abilities as a law student. To that end, I’ve made the other resolutions. I think I will be more confident in my law student abilities if I am more confident in my abilities as a human being.

Also, hearing personal anecdotes about others’ pre-law school insecurities is always comforting.

*I believe in keepable resolutions. Mostly because I have every intention of keeping mine, and making a limited number of reasonable resolutions is key to succeeding.

Altar Rush

7 Nov

I don’t know about you and your real life or virtual circle of  friends and acquaintances, but my circle has been losing people right and left to marriage. No longer are we one circular, kumbaya-esque community. Instead, people are breaking away to pair off and start their own smaller, nuclear circles filled with blenders, bassinets, and mortgages. Every day, Facebook (or the real world grapevine) shouts at me that one or another of the people I graduated from high school with or see semi-regularly at student group meetings is engaged. As mentioned before, even my best friend is teetering on the edge of betrothal. 

I’ve always known that I wouldn’t be married young. In sophomore year French class, the teacher assigned a timeline (written en français, of course) in which each of us would describe how we saw our futures. Mine was filled with educational and professional aspirations, which, at the time, included being a professional violinist and owning a BMW. (The desire for a BMW still stands.) Then I noticed that the other students, even the guys, had included magazine cutouts of brides and grooms on their cut-and-paste timelines. I had forgotten to marry myself off on my timeline. 

I want to be married, eventually. I would prefer to not die alone. I am rather “meh” about children, but I will worry about that later. Now, though, I am so far from anything resembling an extended commitment that seeing other people my age begin to settle down freaks me out and makes me feel très inadequate. Sometimes I even think that I would be OK with scrubbing floors and baking chickens while my husband is out making money.

Then I remember that no one is responsible for my welfare or financial security but me and that I would never respect someone who tried to put me in a kitchen all day (mostly because he would be an idiot for trusting in my culinary skills and would likely die of accidental food poisoning within a year). Then I remember that I haven’t worked so hard at school and at life just to be a happy homemaker whose purpose is to make someone else’s life easier. Then I remember that half of marriages end in divorce and that because I’m just as likely to be divorced as I am to be below median, I should take the same level of precautions (including making my own money) in preparing myself for that possibility as I would in my job search and career planning. 

By the time I’ve thought over the realities of marriage and made comparisons with the life I am trying to make for myself, I don’t feel inadequate. I feel smart for waiting to allow myself, and any future husband, to achieve financial security instead of jumping into matrimony with negative bank balances. Also, I would never, never marry someone before he was able to buy me this: