You know what they don’t have out here in the “real world?”
Think about it, Twenty-Somewheres: Every one of our major milestones up until now have been rung in by some kind of ceremony, ran by some group of eager Been-There-Done-Thats, providing some kind of comfort amongst a little mass embarassment and a lot of Party City supplies. Someone was always there to distract from our self-consciousness and actually be more embarrassing than us — an Orientation Leader, a Rally Committee member… a calculus teacher in an animal suit.
Out here in this sick place, can you believe it’s frowned upon to let adults in animal suits cuddle you in public?
Sorry. Too much, too soon.
Let’s break it down. Orientation.
In the “real world,” there are no:
- Hoards of America’s Most Peppy sporting various cut-and-knotted versions of the same t-shirt (not counting the yoga/group workout crowds in Central Park)
- Bulging folders full of multi-color pastel, Times-New-Roman’d, slaved-over yet scarcely-read pamphlets, with titles varying between 5 Nice Things We Forced Our Alumni To Say For This Pamphlet, and 12 Phone Numbers You’ll Probably Never Use But You Might Sue Us If Something Happened And We Never Actually Gave Them To You So Don’t Say We Didn’t, Sucker
- Welcome Songs
- Accompanying Welcome Dances (Berkeley, I’m looking, and holding back tears of shame, at you)
- Temporary (or not) signs pointing towards the bathroom
- Written in Sharpie
- In block letters
- On neon cardstock
- Mommies and/or Daddies
- Nametags with any arrangement of color-coded star stickers that point you towards the various Love Your Library workshops you’re supposed to attend but ignore to hide behind the bushes with your biffs and trade orientation candy
- Free Costco hoagie lunches (Well, maybe, but… it’s just not the same)
And, most jarringly:
- No sea of pimply, newly waxed, just-as-scared-but-trying-just-as-hard-to-hide-it faces with which you can hide. Blend. And then later, catch an eye and make feet-shuffly small talk about “How dumb this whole thing is, I mean, right?”
That’s what’s missing.
The last handful of times I felt this bewildered, there was a pack of bewilderbuddies right next to me. And the bond built off of that — that’s what all early friendships are made of. Shared Scared. Communal Confusion. Well-Fused What-The-F*@%ery. Orientation — as much as we rolled our eyes at the word — did us a huge favor, every single time. It took the lonely out of it all.
Out here, Twenty-Somewheres, although there are so many of us, we’re much more disconnected. There’s no ceremony connecting the newly employed with the newly abroad with the temp jobbers with the funemployed. Suddenly, someone decided we wouldn’t need it anymore. Wouldn’t need each other anymore.
Case in point: Quarter life crises, and the many blogs bemoaning them.
….Case in point: ME.
So what do we do about it?
We moan, we groan, we Tumblr, we get questionable tattoos, and we limp our way through the quarter life until the day we can officially round up to 30, and then we cry about not realizing how quickly time goes by when you limp.
No wonder we all feel so alone, insecure, unprepared.
We all missed Orientation.
I don’t mean to sound whiny; like the over-nurtured Millenial wimp needing her baba. But at 21, when I can finally appreciate the words on that blindingly-fuschia pamphlet entitled Best Places to Buy Late-Night Lady Products, it’s ironic and a little sad that we don’t get none no’ mo’.
Here’s what I want to know:
As we’re straddling the line between Know it All and Pay For It All, are we too proud to admit how much we need each other? I, for one, have never heard a Twenty-Something out and admit that they’d love a hand to hold right about now. I don’t mean a cry for help; Sweet Baby Jesus knows that’s what the entire decade‘s about.
I mean, someone finally saying out loud: This is a weird time and I think we should figure it out together.
I’ll go first.
This is a weird time and I think we should figure it out together.
Join my Orientation group?
…I’ll have candy.