The 5 Stages of Grieving Your Youth

Did you play rollercoaster tycoon as a kid? It was always a favorite in our house. I loved creating the craziest coasters I could and then removing a piece of the track and letting the cars shoot off. Yes, I need therapy. No, I can’t afford it.

That’s exactly what happens after college. At least, it’s exactly what happened to me. You may not know that after college I had no effing clue what to do with my life. I was terrified, confused, and most importantly, I had no plan. So I went to work at a summer camp in Maine.

I arrived fresh off a 7 day drive from California to a fledgling camp and was lead to a cabin with no electricity where I proceeded to live for the next three months. That’s right, no electricity. Definitely not what I had in mind.

On my breaks from teaching kids how to kayak in the harbor, leading rounds of Wagon Wheel around the campfire, and being called Ninja Nadine by campers, I applied to corporate jobs. In retrospect, that all sounds super fun. I promise it wasn’t always as picturesque as it sounds.

And that’s how I wound up in a cubicle by September. Then the denial set in.

1. Denial

For a period after you graduate from college, you are in denial that your life has changed and that your habits must also. Lucky for me, I met N and other good friends during this time and they were more than ready to live in denial with me. Denial is much more fun with company.

The denial phase usually includes binge drinking. Lots of it. Every weekend you get to re-live college (only without the theme parties booooo). The strangest part is that Monday morning you have to act like a mature adult in your cubicle, often sitting just a few cubes away from someone you drunkenly made out with (for me that was N), while also sitting a few cubes away from someone who is responsible for your salary. This might suck for some people, but it worked out for me. So I present you with: 7 Reasons You Should Date a Guy from Work.

I’ve noticed that the denial phase flares up occasionally. Like last month when I thought I could take 4 shots of fireball on top of two glasses of wine. NOPE.

2. Anger

This phase usually occurs on the first Friday when you realize that you can no longer drink heavily on Thursdays. It results in a short temper, misspellings in work emails, the inability to stay awake in meetings, and overall discontent with cubicle life.

I was pissed at what my life had become. For a short time I sat in a cubicle from which I could not see a freaking window. It’s a weird thing to actually never know what the weather is like outside. Then later I moved to a cube where I had a beautiful view of the parking lot. During the anger phase, thoughts crowd your mind. What have I done? Why did I make the choices that led me here? Anger. Contempt. Madness.

3. Bargaining

I pretend this whole phase is a game of if, then. Remember that from about 4th grade?

If I replace vodka with wine, then my drinking is “adult” and socially acceptable.
If I stay at my crappy cubicle job for another year, then I can go work someplace that matters.

If I start retionol eye cream at age 22, then I’ll look young forever.
If I move out of my parents house, then my life will be more on track.
Note: Untrue and now the food isn’t free.

I still do a lot of bargaining. If we live in the burbs for a year or two more, then we can save enough money to move into the city. These if, thens can also be interspersed with making deals with God, setting outlandish personal goals, and signing up for half-marathons you have no chance of finishing.

4. Depression

I’m sad. The fun part of my life is over. Oh my god, I might be in this cubicle forever. Will I be in this cubicle forever?

My life motto went from: You’re only young once.
To: It’s all downhill from here.

I should note, for most people this isn’t legit clinical depression. That’s a medical issue, people, and you should see a doctor. Fortunately for me, I haven’t had much of this since I left my cubicle over a year ago. Still, anytime someone references college as “the best four years of your life” I have an internal meltdown that maybe they are right.

For a little upper here, yesterday I saw on the Today show that a poll of Americans showed that 50 was their favorite age. You’re old enough to feel wise, usually have job stability, your kids are grown so you feel a sense of accomplishment watching them flourish, and your parents are usually still alive so you get a “generational experience”. We’ve got a lot to look forward to!

5. Acceptance

I’m pretty sure this happens when you have kids. Maybe the old souls of the world have accepted this from the get-go. I’m certain some people never get there. Have you?

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Today I’m thrilled to introduce you to Juliette from The Other Juliette. I think we can all agree with Juliette that leggings, while amazing, do not qualify as pants.  Juliette also shares my fondness for New Girl gifs and word vomit. Want to learn more about Juliette? Her “Things I’m Really Really Good At” post will help you there and is sure to make you laugh. She also might be just a little picky when it comes to guys. Her list of requirements is hilarious and hey, picky is good!

Now I highly suggest you head over to twitter and follow her because she’s always spewing out gems like this one:

“Juliette you’re not in college anymore cereal is not acceptable for dinner.” Uh excuse me. Cereal is ALWAYS acceptable for dinner.
— Jay T (@OtherJuliette) September 17, 2013

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