So much changes after you graduate college. You’re thrust into the “real world” and left to figure shit out. It’s really sink or swim and unfortunately, college degrees don’t come with a free how-to guide on adulting. At least mine didn’t.
Since finishing my master’s degree in August 2014, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been drowning. It’s hard out here. Much harder than I anticipated it would be. I came back home to live with my mom and was unemployed for a year. I’ve got a job now, but because I’m so grossly underpaid, I’m still living at home with my mom. To make ends meet and ensure that my paycheck covers monthly bills and miscellaneous expenses, I’m forced to put in tons of hours at my job. Remind me: what does a 40-hour workweek look like again?
Beyond the employment situation, there’s also the trouble of trying to maintain an active social life after college. My post-college social life has been pretty grim. Initially, it was because I was at home with two degrees, no job prospects, and no money to hang out with my friends. Now that I have a job and a little extra money to occasionally treat myself to dinner and drinks with friends, I seldom have the time or energy to do that. When I do have time off from work, all I want to do is be a hermit. I want to spend my off-days in bed catching up on my favorite TV shows that I missed out on because I was at work. The time and energy it takes to reach out to friends, make plans, get up and get ready, and then go out seems all too laborious. Almost like work.
Two weeks ago, though, one of my homegirls from college reached out to me on Snapchat and asked if I was down for a catch-up session. Being that it was my first day off in a couple weeks, I so badly wanted to tell her “no.” That day, I’d planned to stay in bed and catch up on “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” and then binge-watch season four of “The Mindy Project.” But, because it’d been several months since we’d had any face-to-face interaction, I agreed to it. We sorted out the details via Snapchat (oh, the glory of social media!) and got on our way.
We ended up having an early lunch at a soul food joint called 6978. It’s a Black-owned eatery planted in the Elmwood Park area and they have bomb-ass fried chicken and amazing peach cobbler…and that’s about all. It was my second time there and my friend’s first. Inside, a Keith Sweat playlist was on repeat and it was practically empty, with about a dozen patrons scattered throughout the whole establishment, which is to be expected on an early Thursday afternoon.
We were seated as soon as we came in and I ordered macaroni and cheese, collard greens, cornbread, candied yams, dressing, and fried chicken. I’d say the food was a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars. The greens were a little bitter, the cornbread was a tad dried out, the dressing tasted like it contained a bottle of sage, and the macaroni and cheese could’ve used a lot more cheese. Basically, if I had been offered seconds, I would’ve only opted for more fried chicken and yams. Overall, though, the meal hit the spot, the service was great, and the price was fair for the portions.
After lunch, my friend and I went to a nearby mall, walked and talked some more, balled out on a budget, and then called it a day. She dropped me off at home and we promised each other that it wouldn’t be months before we had another girls day out. I intend to keep that promise because despite not really wanting to leave my bed or put on clothes that day, I admit that it felt good getting out the house and catching up with my girl in real-time. After all, Snapchat and Instagram can only offer so much insight into what a person’s actually dealing with or doing on a day-to-day basis.
I’m learning that part of adulting after college is about pushing yourself to make the time and find the energy it takes to maintain the relationships that are most important to you. Even if that means you’ll probably never get around to clearing out your DVR queue.
To the power of college friends and really good fried chicken.