Ch-ch-ch-changes: Another year gone

In the Journal’s last issue of 2005, two Postscript ladies reflect on the year

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I won’t lie to you. Of all the people to be occupying this space at the back of this student newspaper, of all the former student writers who have left the student life for something else altogether, of all the people who could be capable of some sort of authorial claim over the cold reality and unspoken trials of post-graduate life —well, I gotta say, I’m probably not your girl.

Don’t get me wrong—my post-graduate life is most undoubtedly lame at the moment. After sweating heavily in Jock Harty and sweatily accepting a roll of Latin-lettered paper sweatily proffered by our sweaty-palmed Dean of Whatever, I became well aware that the good old days were just about over and done with.

As I mugged painfully for my parents’ camera lens and swung my diploma over my head like a baton of indifference, I was overwhelmingly assailed by the realization that I was in the shit, was heavily mired in the shit and would be stranded in the shit for at least a year, and possibly more.

The shit is this: I live with my parents. I also live with two younger brothers who have suddenly begun to outweigh me significantly. I also live with my nephew, who has only existed for eight months and has recently learned how to scream. The final denizen of this funhouse is my dog, who has a penchant for eating my underwear.

Yes, I live at home, a home that consists of a sizeable and varied demographic. Yes, it kind of sucks.

Why did I do this, you might ask, gulping Lakeport from a bottle in your blissfully parent-and-infant-free ghetto paradise?

I moved home, my lucky, lazy friends, because I needed money. A lot. Four years of buying overpriced course packs and roughly 4,000 pitchers of beer take their toll. Those bills don’t pay themselves.

Moreover, I needed to be taken care of. I was tired of eating garbage and living in asbestos-filled hellholes. I needed a year to figure my shit out, and I needed to do that in a place that didn’t make me want to cry with the indignity of it all every time I walked through the door.

So I live at home with a ton of bodies. Privacy is an invaluable treasure, as are available television sets (listen, kids, you try convincing an eighteen-year-old troglodyte that your House addiction carries more veto power than his oft-viewed Chappelle Show DVDs.) Also, did I mention the dog eats all my underwear? Do you know how undignified, sick and twisted it is to go commando in your own parents’ home?!

That being said, I don’t hate it here. I’m not incurably miserable.

In fact, I’m kind of getting used to it.

Despite the nutty Cheaper By The Dozen-esque nature of my abode, and despite my current lack of career prospects, I have to admit that being lame and living at home has its perks. I am saving money, which means more money for books and beer in grad school. I always have clean clothes, which is a marked change from the perpetually soiled outfits of my university days.

I have all this weird free time now where I don’t have to think about essays or extra curriculars, and I’ve been using it to drink Labatt 50 and talk bullshit with friends I neglected while I was at Queen’s, being all ambitious and stuff.

And I’ve been reading for fun again for the first time in four years—man, remember reading non-school books? Here, too, I’ve re-acquainted myself with old friends; Joyce Carole Oates and Anton Chekhov, J.D. Salinger and Martin Amis. Whether reading “trash” or “the classics” (whatever that means), I have acquired a rejuvenated love for the last of life’s simplest pleasures. I’ve become a relapsed book nerd.

Most importantly, my parents are actually kind of happy to have me home. It’s almost like they missed me when I was away. And after four drunken, deadline-laden, stressful, psychotic, angsty years, there is something to be said for having people around who will constantly take care of you and encourage your endeavors, no questions asked. University was absolutely rad. It was the greatest time of my life. Of course it was. However, moving home has provided me with a much-needed silence within my own mind—an arena where I can finally consider my options at my own pace, soberly and sanely.

I hope I’ve done a reasonable job reassuring you that living at home isn’t the hell on earth it seems. However, as I said before, I am not the best blueprint for post-graduate life. I didn’t run away to Korea to teach or go backpacking in Prague. I have not scored a high-end job at the Globe and Mail or a position at an advertising agency. I do have friends that have done all of these things, and they are true examples of people who have seized the potential of post-graduate life with some immediacy.

Basically, it comes down to the fact that I desperately needed a year to think, and they didn’t. And the bottom line is, you should do whatever the hell you want when you graduate. But don’t feel pressured to act, either.

Do what you need to do—relax, listen to Wolf Parade, read some Flannery O’Connor, enjoy a diet that isn’t entirely cheese-and-beer-based, enjoy the smell of clean clothes, rekindle a relationship with your family’s dog.

After living four years at a breakneck pace, it doesn’t hurt to sit back, contemplate your next move and let life happen to you.

Alison Lang, the former Lady Postscript of the Journal, is now enjoying her first academic-free life with ease and grace with no KD or textbooks in sight. Postscript misses her muchly.

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