Toasty Bit #5

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This Toasty Bit comes from a blossoming writer named Laura Cataldi. She recently graduated from college with honors and is pursuing her master’s degree in the fall. Laura has faced more mountains in her young life than many of us combined. Kudos to you, Laura and thank you for your toasty bit of writing! -JK

One of my favorite quotes that floats around the internet goes something like this:

“Tell someone you love them today, because life is short, but SHOUT it at them in German, because life is also terrifying and confusing.”

While good for a laugh, I’ve come to realize that this quote also accurately sums up my experiences as a twenty-something. Perhaps one of the most frustrating and confusing things about being in my twenties has been the constant pressure to have my life figured out. Like everyone else, I was supposed to graduate high school knowing, without a doubt, what I wanted to do with my life. Advice from adults, however, was maddeningly contradictory. “Follow your dreams!” they said. “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life!” Then the realists stepped in. “Gotta pay your bills. Flipping burgers will help you do that. A Liberal Arts degree probably won’t.” (Whoops.)

So, in the spirit of takin’ care of business, I started working at grocery stores or in other retail settings, just to make ends meet while I clawed my way to a degree that I wasn’t even certain I wanted, all the while being bombarded with more expectations. I was supposed to be building my credit. I was supposed to budget my minimum wage paychecks into paying rent, utilities, and food and have enough left over to save up for a downpayment on my first house. Perhaps it was just the bludgeon that is my personal anxieties, but I felt like the more people around me succeeded, the less I was doing to successfully adult. Because that’s what it’s all about: adulting. You’ve seen the memes. “Cried but did the thing anyway.” “When I was sixteen, I wanted my freedom. Now I’m twenty-six, and I want my mom to make my doctor’s appointments and buy me groceries for my birthday.” Being a young adult today is both terrifying and confusing. I’m hoping that hitting the big 3-0 will bring about the miraculous truths of life, because so far they’ve eluded me, and unlike everything else, I can’t purchase a clue from Amazon.

“Youth is wasted on the young,” they say. I’m inclined to agree, but that’s only because nobody ever told me how to make the most of this time. Some of my peers have it figured out, but as for me, I’m still trying to figure out a healthy balance. Should I pick up extra shifts, or binge-watch more Netflix? A successful adult would pick Option A. I, however, am only three seasons into Grey’s Anatomy, so….

Laura Cataldi

3 thoughts on “Toasty Bit #5

  1. Love it. You just summed up how I feel about so many things. Especially the bit about the liberal arts degree. It’s like, study what you love or study what makes money. Can’t have both!! But I think there’s an awesome chance that (more often than the haters are willing to admit) you will find the path to happiness down the road marked by your passions versus the one scattered with monetized breadcrumbs. So I live in hope!

  2. Ahhh, I miss the physical aspects of being 20-something, like thick hair and eyelashes, a lot of muscle tone, and not nearly as many aches and pains, but I don’t miss the figuring out “how to adult”. In many ways, though, I’m still trying to figure that out a few decades later. It’s not as terrifying now, though, and I’ve figured out the more important things about being an “adult”. One thing I have to say, Laura, is don’t try to grow up all the way. There is a natural enthusiasm and excitement children and young adults have, and even though life tramples on it (sometimes a lot), it’s worth salvaging. That “life is like a roller coaster” cliche’? Well, it is. Always. So hang on during the terrifying parts, enjoy the exhilarating parts, and soak up the relaxation when you’re coasting. It all comes around again and again, to different degrees. It always gets better, and sometimes it gets worse for a little while, sometimes not, but age has given me the perspective that if I hang on during the rough patches, there’s something great waiting.

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