Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Is "interesting" Anyways? College Was.

I'm three years out of college now. I find myself looking back at my life and the former college-lives of others around me and can't help but feel like most of us were much more interesting people in college.

I look back at pictures from college:
I look back at my resume and notice a laundry list of activities, accomplishments, projects, research interests, and course completions. Tutoring. Mentoring. Ushering. Photographing. Editing. Traveling. Dissecting (pigs). Personal Assisting. Reading. Researching. Writing (like, a lot). Crushing. Loving. Organizing. Leading. Perfecting. Exploring. Freaking (out).

Yea, we do a lot of freaking out in college. We don't know what life is going to look like post-college or how we'll support ourselves (if you haven't been already). So when I got a permanent full-time job I stopped freaking out. I got immediately comfortable with my (relatively) stress-free life. But I look at my life since starting this job 1 year and 7 months ago and life just doesn't seem as interesting. Of course it's mostly all my own fault. I mean, it's my life and it's up to me to make the most of it. But it seems to me that the general population with permanent full-time jobs were much more interesting in college. We get so content just collecting the paycheck every month that we spend our free time going to bars, restaurants, watching TV, and going on the occasional vacation. Is that interesting? Is there more to it?

I find myself wanting to talk to people about my past or my future instead of my present. But am I still that person from college that I think was so interesting? Was I really ever that interesting to begin with? Am I still interesting and I don't know it? What is interesting anyways: popular, exciting, creative, foreign?

Note: After posing this question Sunday night, @ElleLaMode responded with some ideas of her own. You should check out her perspective over here.


  1. I totally understand where you're coming from. I did a lot of performance art in college, when it was totally acceptable to get on a stage and thrash about. I got to talk about Dadaism and modern dance movements, spending evenings dissecting pieces of music. I'm nowhere near as artsy now. I might catch a film now and then, but it's not the same. Even though we have an amazing art scene here. I wish for those days again. But I also know that I've grown so much. I think it's good to find the balance between who you were, who you are, and who you hope to be.

  2. What hit me the most about your post was "I find myself wanting to talk to people about my past or my future instead of my present." I find myself feeling this way, way too often lately. The nostalgia has been kicking in much too often and I'm beginning to feel like I'm mentally stuck in the past because honestly, they were such amazingly wonderful times.

    I don't think doubting yourself about being 'interesting' is right. We all were the people we exactly wanted to be then. And we're doing that even now. We're still interesting. And we're still fun people to be around. We just feel we aren't because we don't have the time / access to social circle / mental stamina after you get into a fulltime job routine. Do what I do - my husband and I connect with couples across the Twin cities and throw theme parties and plan group trips. :-)

  3. I have to echo Sabera. I think that we're just as interesting now...but that we have far less time and energy to explore all of our disparate interests.

    Heck. Since graduating from college about seven years ago, I've tried belly dancing, hoop dancing, swing dancing, and salsa. I've attended sex parties, cuddle parties, and porn parties. I've been to a lot of really cool shows. And I've taken a few really nifty, non-credit classes. Ooh! And I recently visited every winery in NJ, and took a hands-on winemaking class!

    And the list goes on.

    We just need to make a greater effort to squeeze exploration into our lives.

    (Lord, it's no wonder I'm so tired.)

  4. In college you could go where the wind took you. Now, not so much. It is tough being a working-stiff, ain't it! Now you have to pay for any fun stuff you want to do after you pay the rent, lights, phone, cable, food, gas... blah blah blah.

    Since this is the reality of Life on Earth the only smart thing is to make money doing what you love to do. If you don't enjoy what you do for work then, yes, day-to-day life will not be a very enjoyable journey.

    The other idea is to make SO much money right now that you can plan to retire from Working-Stiff-dom at 30 and then spend the rest of your life having FUN. That's my vote!! LOL

  5. @Emily: I wish I knew anything about dance. Do you miss not dancing/being creative as much anymore, or have you accepted the new "you" and how you spend your time these days? If you still want to dance, what do you think prevents you from really doing it?

  6. @Sabera: I think it depends on how you define "interesting". In general, yes I think I'm interesting. Heck, my friends are always telling me that I should write a book about my life.

    But I'm definitely not doing the same things every day that I used to do between 2004-2008. And so yes, I pine for traveling, creative expression, and the ever-changing lifestyle that used to be. I'm constantly looking back at my college years and wondering how to get it back (and I don't mean the actual being-at-college part).

  7. @Steph: I have to admire your ability to squeeze so much into your life without your main responsibilities suffering. It's hard to do because you can't be lazy (you have to be a "self-starter as they say in the business world) and you have to think consciously about your time and plan ahead. If there's a deadline for signing up for a class, you can't just say "I'll do it tomorrow" or make up excuses for why you don't have time to really do it.

    For me, when I started working full-time I actually found that I had MORE free time than I did in college. For a while I was just relieved to be able to sit around and do nothing, then I became complacent doing nothing, but now I'm anxious again and trying to change my automatic "lazy" behavior back to my college years' "busy-bee" behavior. So Steph, thanks so much for your interesting-person perspective!