Friends


Part of the 7th grade curriculum in my New Hampshire home town is a “financial living” unit.  Now, I’m not entirely sure why they decided it was a good idea to teach a bunch of 13-year-olds how to write checks and do taxes, but hey, I guess that’s just how southern NH rolls.

One of the funniest parts of this particular unit was that we had to get”married” and have a “family.”  I don’t remember which lucky boy I was paired up with, but I do remember that I was the one that had to handle the wedding and baby announcements.  (Sounds eerily like real life, to me!)

Why bring this up?  Well, as I’m sure you’re well aware, today is tax day.  Like many of my peers, I’m still relatively new to the full-blown tax process  – far gone are the days of the 1040EZ!  Lucky for me, that middle school tax primer stuck in my head and I’m at least somewhat familiar with the forms and the process itself.  For some of my friends, however, tax season falls into that lovely category of “why on earth didn’t anyone TEACH ME HOW TO DO THIS STUFF???”

Yes, I’m a freak, and I actually enjoy breaking out the Turbo Tax and all the insane forms every year.  It’s satifying to finish, and I usually get money back in the end.  (I know this means I’ve just given the government an interest free loan, but hey!  At least I get that money back, unlike, oh I don’t know, Social Security.)  The fact that I enjoy it, though, is probably tied to that unit back in my formative years.  I know what I’m doing, because someone DID take the time to teach me.  The vague familiar feeling of “hey, I’ve done this before,” makes everything that much less intimidating.

What lessons for adulthood do you think you missed out on?

PS: We didn’t really have egg babies, but we did do that experiment where you dropped an egg of the side of a building inside a contraption that (you hoped) was designed to keep it from breaking.

PPS: I think I named my egg, but this was a long time ago, so I don’t actually remember what the name was.  Probably something related to a boy band.

Have you ever felt like you’ve focused on one thing, and one thing only, a little too intensely?  Like your life, from sunrise to sunset, was dedicated to only one pursuit?

I have a good friend, V, kicking butt at a very prestigious law school in the Mid-West.  V and I met during an internship just over two years ago and, after becoming fast friends with a shared love for chocolate and Grey’s Anatomy, we’ve stayed close.  In both our cases, we’ve now made it to a point we’d been trying to reach for most of our lives: for her, law school, for me, a career in politics.

We were talking the other day (over G-Chat, I’m a new convert!) about how great it is that we’ve gotten so far at such young ages.  We are products of the feminist movement: set a goal, girls, and there’s nothing to stop you.

But what do you do when you get there?

I’ve worked incredibly hard to get to the place that I am, as has V.  But at what cost?  I often feel like I’m living a one-note life – my existence is my job, and nothing else.  For V, venting her pre-finals frustration over instant message, the only thing she’s concentrated on since she started law school is, yep, law school.  All those other trivial pursuits (you know, like a social life) fall by the wayside as you become “successful.”

We’re taught to shoot for the moon and that wanting it is enough.  But I don’t want just the moon – I want the UNIVERSE.  I want a career but I also want to see my friends and family, have a relationship, and be reminded that my purpose is SO MUCH MORE than I’d originally planned.

I know that part of growing up is about finding balance in yourself, for ALL parts of yourself.  The professional AND the personal.  But, as I’m sure V  – and many others – can attest… they don’t teach that kind of a course in college.

…so what do you do to find it?