The Age of Entitlement
(This is something I wrote a few years back….it still applies.)
There was a Friday night a few months back in September where I found myself at Cheddar’s having another buzzed conversation over margaritas (and let us not forget the chips and queso) about life in your late-twenties. I found it fitting that while I was having this conversation, San Antonio was getting hit hard by a system of thunderstorms that turned the night sky jet black that clashed of thunder and lightning. Ugh. Life in my late-twenties. I don’t like being late to a teeth-cleaning, let alone being late in my age bracket. But that’s my reality, isn’t it? And yes, I’m doing my best to accept this reality while shedding the delusions. But man, let me tell you, I have some pretty solid delusions about myself. Choosing to believe it clear and starry that night definitely wouldn’t have spared me of the downpour awaiting me outside. But that’s what us quarter-lifers tend to do.
There was a waiter, not our waiter, but a waiter that would pass along our table occasionally that seemed to catch the attention of Ang and I. We both certainly thought he was cute. As he left our sight for the third time that night (while hoping for a fourth), I looked over across my table as the following realities began to quell this dreamboat of ours:
“Too young”, I said.
“A Waiter”, I finished.
I’ve found that being officially in your late-twenties adds a certain apprehension that has much more to do with age than anything else. I mean, I’ll probably have to deal with this in my thirties, but one identity crisis at a time, please!! The issue for me–as it is for others my age, I have noticed–has more to do with the fact that I feel late to my age. I struggled and erred for a bit there in my early-twenties, and it certainly didn’t help to have to work full-time to pay bills while trying to pursue an accounting degree that left little for any semblance of a personal life. The decisions of your early-twenties come swift and tough, everyone doesn’t have the same emotional and financial support systems that can expedite a smooth transition to adulthood. And fucking Facebook, man. If there’s anything that sucks more regarding the advent of social networking, it’s the details your old high school friends get to throw in your face about their lives. Bachelor degrees, Graduate degrees, trips overseas, marriages, children, homes, boats! Boats!! I mean, COME ON!! Boats at 26!!?
Where did I go wrong? I don’t want a boat. But it would certainly be nice to have the power to mull one over, ya know? Ultimately, though, I feel the only wrong here is feeling I’m wrong for not being in the same place at the same time as those my age. So there it is, huh? A truth uglier that anything I could ever wake up next to after a late night of heavy bourbon and trance music: We feel entitled to it all. And that’s the grand-daddy delusion of them all.
I think it’s pretty clear that relationships dominate most of our minds. And I’ll admit that I haven’t dated anyone in a while. But that’s a choice after a few tough lessons learned. As those in my life know, graduating from college has been my focus for awhile. I could barely make time for myself. So, as is the trend, I joined a few sites aimed at dating a little over a year ago. When I was filling out a profile for one of these sites, I felt like I was applying for a job.
“What are your interests?”
“Where have you worked?”
“What are your goals?”
“How would you describe yourself?”
“What positions are you most interested in?” (I guess this one could go two ways)
And while sipping on our slushy margaritas, we lamented on our most recent dating trials and errors. The no-call-back, only attracting one-note dead ends, and the aggravation of not being able to win over the one with potential. So, I asked, “Is there more we could be doing?” Is there really much of a difference in how we are professionally hired and romantically desired? If you do the whole online-dating deal (and don’t lie, you fools know your asses do!), you probably have profiles (applications) up on a few sites, you go through the obligatory first phone call (phone interview) to weed out the losers you really don’t want to waste your time and four bucks for coffee on, then you have your first interview (first date) which are normally used to gauge the possibility of a second date (second interview), then you’re normally either hired at that point or you’re asked back for more interviews depending on the level of the position, and in the dating realm you date until you mutually decide to be exclusive.
As we all probably know, the hardest part of the hiring process is getting the second interview as the hardest part in dating life is receiving that coveted call-back after a first date. So what’s the point? Just take a look at your Facebook page. Your best photos, your likes, your dislikes, personality, interests, education, occupation, goals, and dreams do one big thing: They market yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in front of my computer with my hand on my mouse (ok, that didn’t sound too good, so mind out of gutter people, please lol) while considering the consequence of liking a certain friend’s status, or admitting to being an avid fan of Pee Wee Herman (I was fashioning pull-ups at the time, ok?!!). Every decision you make on Facebook is seen by other people. Drunk facebooking is the social equivalent of walking out onto your front yard at 9am in a snuggie, boxer shorts, and socks with sandals for the morning paper.
So, why not take a casual business approach toward dating? Yeah, it doesn’t sound sexy, but I’m willing to bet I’d have a much better opportunity of having the chance of being sexy for someone in the future by being more thoughtful of the dating process rather than merely hoping he likes me based on the minimum effort I put forth. And this may take time. Invest in yourself. Salons, gyms, bookstores, therapists…do whatever you have to get yourself good and confident. Just because I might like to have someone, doesn’t mean I’m ready for someone and that is still a far cry from deserving anyone. Personally, I know right now, I ain’t looking too hot, hah. Not only because school has drained me of all energy, but because I feel that way about myself too. I wouldn’t date me. And I’m not dating, until I would.