Yesterday, I wrote a Beyond the Headlines article about how Facebook has morphed into a business networking tool. After the piece was finished, I returned to plugging away at the “Post-College Survival Guide.” (Yes, despite having had what we will tactfully refer to as my “19th + nervous breakdown,” the eds still trusted to me to help young grads plunge into the real world.) The combination really got me thinking about…growing up.
I recall one time in college when I said, “Maybe I’ll a be ____ when I grow up” and my father said, “Do you think that will ever happen? I mean, you growing up.” Well, here’s the best advice I can give to recent grads. Even if you never grow up, you’re still a grown-up. It’s wise to accept your new identity, and handle the transition with the most grace and least resistance you can manage. Otherwise, you’ll end up what’s known as a “screwed-up grown-up.”
In any case, part of growing up, as you’ll learn from the Facebook article, and from soon-to-be-hitting-the-screen post-college survival guide, is making a good impression, on the Web, and off. Here at Dulcinea, we all use our Facebook pages as marketing tools for the Company. I’ve never had anything provocative on my Facebook profile. But the day I started becoming friends with my fellow employees, I removed the only information I’d posted, a favorite quote from a Louise Gluck poem: “I’d let my house go up in flames for this fire.”
True, it was only a quote from a poem, by a respected poet at that. But…didn’t it kind of imply that I was a pyro? True, my nickname in high school was “Sparky” (derived from Loose Canon) and I progressed on “Chernobyl” by my senior year of college. Amusing and charming at the time…but not something you really wanted to advertise to anyone who you’re asking to trust you with responsibility, or electronic technology. I never did anything legitimately imprudent like a keg stand or a wet t-shirt concert (it’s hard to manage those things when you’re also staying home on Friday nights to read Jung.) But what if my selected quote was somehow a window to my instictively illogical soul?
And maybe it was, when I put it up my senior year of college. But in the 14 months since I removed the quote, I’ve been increasingly less enthralled by the notion of anything that I’ve worked so hard to build going up in flames. 900th nervous breakdown or not, I have all things that I’m teaching grads how to find in the guide (job, house, friends, bank account, etc.) It’d be a serious pity if something happened to any of them.
So, for all practical purposes, I’m succeeding. But part of the Quarter-Life Crisis is wondering, if I embraced my hyperbolic romantic notions and impulsive irrational fervor for 24 years, who I am now? (Note to everyone at the office: I am NOT implying that I’m calm. Just that my name is on a lease and a bank account.)
For example, I always loved Chaos Theory and the Butterfly Effect, because I was into the idea that everything could change at moment’s notice. Now, there are many things in my life that I would really like not to change, although I still recall my fascination with the theory. In fact, I think the challenge of your twenties is balancing increasing quantities of stability with the adventuresome outlook that at least will render you receptive to opportunities and even (dare I say?) thrills.
Funnily enough, yesterday, I learned from a lii.org newsletter I subscribed to for work purposes, that Edward Lorenz, “father of the Chaos theory” had died. I got to read his obituary, which I never would have seen otherwise, and enjoy a 3-minute kickback to another time.
I think it’s sign. But I don’t really have time to elaborate on what kind of sign. I have a job to do!