20 something: Freak outs and parents

Yeah, nobody knows what the fuck is going on here. Image via Google

It’s not an uncommon realization that being in one’s 20s is kind of fucking hell. Looming student loan payments. We need to find jobs that probably have nothing to do with our majors, because jobs in our majors barely exist anymore (thanks a lot, technical revolution!). The job market is scarce. Applications go out, maybe 50, maybe a 100 of them without so much as a “fuck you” in return as a response. We want to go out and forget about our troubles with our friends (drinking), but we don’t really have money to do so because of rent and a pesky thing called eating.

We’re all going through this right now. It’s life, it’s our reality. We have high highs and low lows. As we think about ourselves and where our individual futures are going, we must also be sympathetic to the paths of our friends and their complex yet relatable feelings and freak outs.

I make this face at least once a week. Image via esquire.com

Crying and screaming irrationally about our futures is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it’s a really good release to get out all of your frustrations with jobs, relationships and social lives.

If it happens to you, hopefully there is a nice friend around or nearby a phone who can listen and help you talk things out. If it happens to a friend, remember to listen. Sometimes we can be so wrapped up in our own problems that we forget the complexities that our closest friends are living too. It’s so important to really listen to your friends. Sometimes all we need is to feel that someone is listening to us. Plus, maybe you’ll realize that your problems pale in comparison after hearing that a friend is pregnant/got fired/has AIDS/likes meth. Relativity bitches.

Parents

From talking to many of my friends, I’ve concluded that Will Smith was soooo right. Parents just don’t understand.

“Just get a job” is probably the most common thing said from parent to child during these rough economic and 20s-ish times. Even though mass layoffs after the crash in 2008 affecting many people of our parents age, and maybe even some of your parents, a disconnect os present in the dialogue concerning 20 something jobs and their futures.

Nobody is having a blast monetarily right now, except the 1 percenters (you jerkfaces!) and the people who think they’ll be the 1 percenters someday (idiots) but will instead be middle tier management 4 life (Ha!). Parents retirement funds that have been hit or dwindled, coupled with an unemployed child who is an educated adult is a heavy economic burden. It’s understandable that some parents, much like Hannah’s parents in HBO’s Girlsdon’t want to fund their child’s 20s. They’ve worked hard and want to finally have some things to themselves. I mean, I want to travel the world when I hit retirement age, and maybe have a beach house or something dammit!

Being able to understand both our parents economic situation and their lives as individuals as well as our post-grad struggles in a country where job creation is a serious fucking problem is key to getting through this whole mess alive.

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Things to do during funemployment

We all know how not having full time employment, or any employment at all, can allow for a whole lot of nothing to do. At one point in your life this probably seemed like an amazing concept: Sleep in until 11, watch What Not to Wear and then quickly change it before the dreadful Baby Story comes on, eat lunch, look at yourself in the mirror, watch Netflix, see your parents get home from work, consider working out but don’t, eat and then go to bed.

However, the humdrum routine of absolute freedom and having nowhere to be and nothing on your to-do list can have its downsides. Back aches from sitting around, a gut from eating all day and being a huge bum are only a few of the less glamorous sides of unemployment. While you’re hanging in employment limbo, try out some of these amazing activities to get you off the couch and doing… anything else.

Watch Netflix foreign language films 

El hombre maravilloso, Gael Garcia Bernal, habla español. Así que tu deberías hablar español también!! Think of the cute babies you could have. Image via rubyssecrets.blogspot.com

Hopefully you went to a high school, college or university that required second language study. Netflix has a fair amount of films in foreign languages on instant and an even larger selection for their mail-home DVDs. Sometimes the instant movies are already dubbed over in English, which is a huge drag. But the DVDs should have subtitle and audio options.

You can even get into a telenovela on Telemundo or whatever Spanish channels are available around you. They are so ridiculous and awesomely bad. Just think: Once you master your foreign language, you could be talking to men who look like Gael Garcia Bernal. Yeah. Get on it.

That could be you: Meditating for peace and job interviews. Image via organicsoul.com

 Work out

There is absolutely no excuse to not workout if you’re under or unemployed. Not only will it keep your body looking good, you’ll feel better mentally and physically, which can definitely help your job hunt. Plus, exercise will help your focus and give you more energy and confidence in applications and interviews.

My favorite free yoga podcast is Yogamazing with a nice yogi named Chaz. You can download or watch them for free here or find the yogamazing podcasts through iTunes.

Invent something for incredibly lazy people

Maybe this is the time to create that invention you thought of when you were stoned freshman year. I’m pretty sure the Snuggie was invented by huge stoners whose arms kept getting cold when they reached for snacks or the remote. If you make something to make lazy people’s lives easier, they will buy it. That is a fact.

Volunteer 

PUPPIES!!!!!! Image via hercampus.com

Volunteering can help your job hunt mucho. It gives you something to pour some energy into every week as well as being a great, philanthropic addition to your resume. Try to pick a volunteer position that you’re interested in. There are volunteer dog walkers in many cities at dog shelters, volunteer English language positions at many community centers, homework help for kids and teens, etc. You’ll have somewhere to go each week with the added bonus of building a network and good references.

Learn how to cook

If you’re living back at home with good ol’ ma and pa, this is the best time ever to learn how to cook. Tell them you’ll do all the grocery shopping and cooking (on their dime of course). This way you’re picking up a major part of running the household, groceries and cooking, as well as cooking what you want to learn with a little parental guidance nearby. Pick up a bottle of wine to sip on while cooking and get your iPod out; it makes cooking WAY more fun!


You could be in an attractive study group like this one. Image via film.com

 Take a class 

If you’re like me and studied something liberal artsy and then watched the economy collapse, leaving you no where to turn except free internship work, then it’s probably a good idea to take a class. You could go the take-something-you-like route, like medieval basket weaving, or something that will actually get you a job, like web development. Check out your local community college for offered classes, so you can take a class on the cheap AND pretend you’re a character in Community. Win-win.

Library

Remember all those books you wanted to read when you got older? That time is definitely now. And if you haven’t read The Hunger Games or Harry Potter yet, you are an alien and probably can’t get a library card without an address on Earth. But for real, reading is a great thing to do during un or underemployment. Plus it’s free at the library, which sadly some people probably don’t even know.

PS doesn’t it sadden you to no end when you hear people say they hate reading? It’s equal to saying they hate puppies.

Laundry

Yeah, laundry sounds lame. Until you get to the dryer part. Putting on warm pants is probably the best thing ever.

The main thing to do while sitting un or underemployed is to STAY BUSY. Especially in an economy like this, where the employer has their pick of the educated litter, it’s best to keep adding substantial things to your brain and/or resume. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your future boss in a yoga class. Better yet, you’ll have a genius, million-dollar idea while trying on pants straight from the dryer. You never know! Just keep moving.

20 something tip: Furniture store hangouts

This could be you at Crate and Barrel. Photo via mymodernmet.com
This could be you at Crate and Barrel. Before you get kicked out for being a freeloader. Whatevs, it's a recession! Photo via mymodernmet.com

If you ever find yourself becoming sad about your lackluster surroundings, have no fear: Furniture stores are great places to hang out.

Are you a fainting couch? Photo via diaryofasmartchick.com
Are you a fainting couch? Photo via diaryofasmartchick.com

The key to spending some time around nice furniture and sitting on nice couches is to first call a friend. There’s nothing better than sitting on new furniture with a friend.

Go to Starbucks or your favorite coffee store. Get a coffee. Get caffeinated.

Find a furniture store that holds you dream pieces, like Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware or Crate and Barrel. Walk inside. Browse.

After you’ve successfully browsed kitchenware, picture frames and chandeliers, make your way over to the couches.

Pick a couch that looks both stylish and comfortable. It can be difficult to choose between style and comfort; selection discretion is advised.

Or do you prefer a wrap around? Try them all! Photo via buenosairesluxury.com
Or do you prefer a wrap around? Who cares! Try them all! Photo via buenosairesluxury.com

Lay back, and have a wonderful conversation with your friend while sipping your fabulous coffee and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

If any staff appear, greet them and casually say something positive about the couch. Then move on to another one in a different section of the store.

After you’ve tried all of your select couches, or your coffee has run low, give the store one more walk-through and then be on your way.

Dating: 20 something style

Dating with extremely limited funds can be stressful due to normalized date activities like going out to dinner, to a movie or some other event that costs money. When dollar bills are tight, there are still fun things you can do with your dates without having to spend your shitty, one-bedroom rent money.

20 somethings are poor. If you're not, you're doing it wrong. Photo: Dan Perjovschi
20 somethings are poor. If you're not, you're doing it wrong. Photo: Dan Perjovschi

 Plan your Netflix accordingly 

There’s only so much joy we can all squeeze from Netflix instant. If you plan your queue correctly, you can have your movies arrive just in time for your low-budget date. Plus, there’s something retro about watching a movie on a DVD. Traditional, even. That is if you still own a TV and DVD player. If not, cuddling up close to see your small laptop screen is good too.

Learn to cook, you lazy asshole

Cooking is not that hard. Of course, mistakes can be made, but you’ve gotta stop being such a wimp and get back on that horse, sport! Cooking at home is not only fun (I swear!) but can also be relatively inexpensive, compared to going out to a restaurant.

Cooking dinner together is a really fun date anyways. Get an inexpensive yet not god-awful wine, break out the cookbook and ingredients and let the kitchen fun begin. You’ll have something to keep your hands busy, a drink in your hand and a (hopefully) amazing dinner to eat at the end of it. Otherwise the fast food you order will be a hilariously good time. Win-win.

Game night, bitches

Game nights are awesome. Don’t pretend like you’re too cool for game nights. A bottle of wine, a double or triple date and a hearty game of Apples to Apples is the definition of fun, folks. Plus you get to yell at people and tell them why they suck for not picking your card, which is great stress release.

Anything free

There are always free activities to take advantage of, whether they are free days at the museum or some friend of a friend’s crappy band playing a crappy house show. In the summer, lots of cities and communities have free concerts that are more than perfect for 20 something dates, as they provide the perfect environment to be snobby about your music preferences. That’s love, kids.

Food: Pizza bagels

20, poor and fabulous. Well, in-my-20s, poor and very fabulous. Minor details.

Having little money, an aversion to fast food and a pantry full of parent-friendly 16 grain bread and such, I am often forced to be very creative with my late-ish night snacks. 9:30 isn’t very late, but when you live with your parents and they love a 5:00 dinner, 9:30 can feel like a lifetime.

In between reruns of Sex and the City, my appetite, and thirst for wine to take the unemployed edge off, run rampant. I could take the easy way out and hit up Taco Bell, but I’m not that stupid. Eating that shit is stupid enough in the day light, let alone hours away from bedtime. So I find creative, sometimes awesome, oftentimes disgusting ways to fill my belly with healthier options right from my parents pantry.

Tonight it was, you guessed it, 16-grain bread, organic pizza sauce and pepper jack and mozzerella cheeses. Maybe it sounds good, maybe it sounds bad, but it wasn’t all it lived up to be. I’m no slouch in the kitchen, but sometimes when you don’t have what you crave, you have to get creative and hope for the best.

Yummmmmmmmmmmm, Photo: smellslikefoodinhere.blogspot.com
Yummmmmmmmmmmm, Photo: smellslikefoodinhere.blogspot.com

However, I can entrust you with a simple, inexpensive and amazing late-night alternative to 16-grain pizzas and a call to Papa Johns (but holy shit, that garlic sauce is fucking awesome.)

Late Night Pizza Bagels

There are a few ways to make late night pizza with things not involving Taco Hut. Bagels are an awesome option in place of 16 grain bread. But when it comes down to brass tacks, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

Ingredients

Bagels

Jar of pizza sauce

Italian cheeses, mixed bag or cheeses of your choice

Optional: Meats, veggies, anything that can go on a pizza

Cut the bagels in half and place on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spread the pizza sauce over the cut bagels covering the surface and using as much sauce as you’d like. Then sprinkle the cheese over the sauce. Place any toppings you’d like on top of the cheese. Pepperonis work great, but I don’t know many people who just happen to have pepperonis on hand. Put the bagels in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until the bagels feel crispy and the cheese has melted.

My good-intentioned 16-grain pizza debacle.
My good-intentioned 16-grain pizza debacle.

I hope you enjoy your fool-proof pizza bagels. Try them, they are so so easy to make even if you hate cooking with all of your soul. They are seriously awesome, and a bajillion times better than the disastrous 16-grain pizzas I made tonight. Which may be attributed to my hatred of 16-grain bread.