The Football Guidebook for Dummies

The time of year is upon us: the time when all the men (or potential men) in our lives retreat into the depths of man caves around the country and neighborhood sports bars become no-girls-allowed boys’ clubs. I’m of course talking about football season. The rules and nuances of the sport can seem overwhelming to the untrained eye and it seems impossible to even pretend to know what you’re talking about sometimes, but never fear. This is exactly why I’m here to help! I’m going to give all of you a run-down on the need-to-know information for this football season, from the basics all the way down to penalties and players.

  1. First things first, the home team in Philadelphia is the Eagles, and we’re currently 3(win)-1(loss) on the season. Now that’s out of the way…
  2. We are part of the division called the NFC East. The other teams in this division are the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, and New York Giants. Any time we play these teams, it’s a big game.
  3. Some of the big name players you need to know:

             -Carson Wentz: QB 1, the greatest of all time, our Savior, and the King of Wentzlyvania. This guy is supposed to restore the Eagles to their former glory. This is Wentz’s second season and some are concerned he might fall into the sophomore slump. So far, he’s been pretty impressive, but there’s still a lot of season left.

           -Nelson Agholor/ Alshon Jeffrey: The life of the Eagles’ Wide Receiving core. These are the guys that Wentz is trying to throw the ball to most of the time. Last season, Agholor couldn’t catch the ball to save his life and all of Philadelphia chalked him up as a bust, but it appears that he’s worked on those bricks for hands this off-season and there might be some hope. Speaking of the off-season, the Eagles acquired Alshon Jeffrey in one of the most highly anticipated pick-ups in recent Eagles history. He was picked-up from free agency (don’t worry I’ll explain this in a bit) from the Chicago Bears.

          -Darren Sproles: Shortest player on the field at only 5’6” but boy can this guy move. He’s our slippery running back known for quick footwork and turning seemingly impossible plays into big yardage.

          -Zach Ertz: Carson’s favorite target and our Tight End. The tight end is a multi-purpose position. Sometimes they act like a blocker and sometimes they act like a receiver. He’s not the fastest on the field, but watch out for him to make some clutch 3rd down plays!

         -Fletcher Cox/ Lane Johnson: These are the big boys on the field. The linemen are there to make the big tackles and protect the quarterback

Now that we know some basics of the Eagles, let’s go over some of the most important rules and concepts of the game.

  1. Football is played five days a week, if you count college games! Sunday is the biggest day for the NFL, and Saturday for college. Thursday, Monday, and sometimes Friday games do occur every week though.
  2. The game starts with a coin toss. The captains of both teams meet at the 50-yard line. Whoever wins the toss can elect to receive the kick-off and start on offense or defer to receive the kick after halftime. Both have their advantages and the choice really depends on the team’s individual strategy.
  3. The football field is 100 yards long, with a goalpost and endzone at either end. To score points, the ball has to get into the endzone by either running or throwing it in OR kicking the ball through the uprights. A touchdown is worth 6 points on it’s own. After the touchdown, there’s the point after touchdown (PAT) attempt. The team can kick and get an additional 1 point, or go for a two-point conversion by running or throwing it into the endzone again. The kick is generally the safer option. A field goal on its own is worth 3 points.
  4. In order to move down the field, teams have four “downs” to go 10-yards. They can pick from a variety of plays in the playbook to try to get the next 1st down. If teams get to 4th down without getting the 10 yards, they have two options. If it is say 4th down and inches to go in a close game, a coach might decide to go for the last play and convert a first down. If they miss, however, it is what is called a turnover on downs and the opposing team gets the ball in that spot. This is why most teams will chose to punt the ball on fourth down, launching the football far down field with the punters kick.
  5. Not everything goes in football. There are a plethora of penalties that a team can incur.
    1. False start/offsides: if a player from the offense moves over the line of scrimmage before the quarterback snaps the ball into play, it is called a false start and it is a 5-yard penalty, which means the ball is moved backwards on the field five yards. The same goes for the defense. This is called offsides and it moves the ball forward on the field 5-yards. For example, say it is 2nd down with 7 yards to go and a player on the defense jumps over the line. The referee will throw a yellow flag and the next play will be a replay of 2nd down but there will only be 2 yards to go.
    2. Roughing the passer: The quarterback is considered sacred in the game of football. He is one of the few players in are not allowed to touch if they aren’t holding the ball. If a defensive player tackles the quarterback after the ball has left his hand, that’s a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down.
    3. Holding: Pretty much any player can be guilty of a holding penalty, but the most common offenders are the big lineman who are trying to let the running back or receiver get a few extra yards or stop someone from getting to the quarterback. This penalty will cost you 10 yards and is exactly what it sounds like, holding on to the other player to stop them from advancing.
    4. There are hundreds of different penalties in football and the more you watch, the easier you’ll be able to identify them.

There’s so much to know about football I could never fit them into one post, but here are some more miscellaneous things to know

  1. Free agency, that thing I mentioned earlier with Alshon Jeffery, means that a team can get that player by just offering them a contract. No trade is required because the player isn’t contractual obligated to any team.
  2. Games are divided into four 15-minute quarters with a break after the 2nd quarter called half time. While theoretically the game should only last an hour, with stoppage of the clock, penalties, and other things most games last around three hours.
  3. If the score is tied at the end of the four-quarters, there is a sudden death overtime period of 15 minutes. The first team to score wins.
  4. The quarterback is usually the player that throws the ball but there are some trick plays where the running back might throw the ball to confuse the defense. This formation is called the Wildcat.
  5. There is only allowed to be one forward pass on any play, but the player with the ball can toss the ball backwards to another player to keep the play alive. This is called a lateral pass.
  6. A safety in football is a defensive position but is also the name of what happens when offensive players holding the ball are tackled in their own end zone (the one opposite of where they are trying to score). When a safety occurs the defensive team gets 2-points. These are pretty rare but do happen.
  7. An interception is when the defense catches a pass from the quarterback instead of the wide receiver. They can run as far as they can until they get brought down. An interception is also known as a pick and if the player runs all the way back down the field and scores a touchdown, it is called a pick-6, due to the 6 points a touchdown is worth.
  8. There are three separate squads of players on each team: the offense, the defense, and what is known as special teams. Special teams players can be on the other two squads too but they are the ones who are on the field for kick-offs, punts, PATs, and other plays that aren’t necessarily offense or defense specific.
  9. Sometimes teams will call a timeout righhhhhht before a kicker goes to kick a field goal. This is called “icing the kicker” and is meant to throw the kicker off in the hope that they will miss the kick. This usually happens right at the end of the game when the kick is going to decide the winner.
  10. One of the most confusing concepts for a football novice is the on-side kick! An on-side kick is used when a team is down in points with only a short time left in the game. Instead of launching the ball all the way down the field like on a traditional kickoff, the kicker bounces the ball off the ground and into the air. As long as the ball travels forward a minimum of 10 yards, the kicking team is able to recover. They are not always successful in recovering and it gives the receiving team great field position closer to the end zone, which is why it is rarely used early on in the game.
  11. Another way a team can turnover the ball is through a fumble. A fumble is when the running back, receiver, or even the quarterback loses the ball after getting hit by a defensive player, but before their knee hits the ground, which would rule them down by contact. Once the ball is fumbled either team can recover it, which often leads to a large number of players in a pile wrestling for the ball. The quarterback is a little more complicated when it comes to fumbling. If the quarterback loses the ball in the process of throwing the ball, or when his arm is coming forward, it is just an incomplete pass. For the quarterback to fumble, the ball has to go backwards.
  12. You may have heard the phrase “move the chains”. This refers to what happens when a team gets a first down and the literal chains that measure out 10-yards in length are moved down the field. You will see the chains on the sidelines with two orange poles at either end to help gauge how much further a team has to go to reach the first down. When you watch on TV they project a yellow line onto the field so you can see the 1st down line.

Is your brain fried yet? I know it is a lot and this is barely breaking the surface in terms of football information, but this will definitely get your foot in the door of football conversations for the rest of the season. Don’t be intimidated by the people who seemingly know everything there is to know about the sport. My suggestion? Fake it ‘til you make it and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

There’s still a lot of season left and plenty of time to learn some more. Good luck and let’s go Birds!

What I Wish I Knew As A Freshman

With most students heading back to school this week, I want to share a post talking about my college experience and any advice I would have for incoming freshman. I’m definitely not qualified to dish out advice, but I can certainly reflect on my four years and discuss certain aspects I would have done differently, especially predicaments involving financials and long-term effects.

I understand that it’s not easy to make decisions regarding the future when you’re first starting off, everything appears to be more exciting than it actually is and you’re so focused on just living in the now. How do I know that? Because I disregarded any and all practical advice from recent graduates or people who actually did know better than myself. And if I could go back and listen I would because I often want to go back five years ago and shake my eighteen year old self and tell her that college isn’t just all about the partying and newly instated independence from your parents. So, I’ve compiled a list of things I would do differently in college if I were given the chance, and hopefully someone will listen.

If you live anywhere remotely close to your chosen university- LIVE AT HOME.

Although I loved living on campus and have so many great memories from doing so, I would also be significantly less debt now had I lived at home. I only lived 20 minutes from campus and chose to live there instead of driving there for class. Living at school definitely presents you with a different college experience, and I highly advise living there for at least your first year because that’s when you will meet most of your friends for the next four years, but if you have the ability to commute, do so, because once you graduate, you will be financially able to move out of your parents’ house. Now I am 23 still living at home because my student loans restrict me from doing otherwise. It’s probably time for me to start looking into my options. For instance, I could consider refinancing them with Earnest for one monthly payment at a lower interest rate.

Do an internship at least one summer during your college career.

I held two different internships during college, but neither of them took place during the summer. I was so focused on relaxing and having just mindless, part-time summer jobs that I waited until my senior year to have an internship, which I had to do during the semester, causing more stress on top of my already existing stress. Also, most summer internships that are full-time are usually paid so that’s a bonus! I would recommend doing it the summer going into junior year so that the following summer, predisposed at your “last” summer before the real world, can be yours for the taking. My friends and I lived at the beach that summer and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. It’s also incredibly crucial to have some type of internship experience when applying for jobs so keep that in mind!

If you have a meal plan, USE IT.

I know as well as the next person that cafeteria food isn’t always appealing or appetizing, but if you’re paying for a meal plan, you might as well get the most out of it and save your cash for other things besides eating out with your friends multiple times a week. Part of the reason I was always so low on cash during college was because my friends and I would decide to go off campus for dinner or lunch instead of swiping into the dining hall, or in later years, making food in our kitchen at the house. And trust me, I know the thought process of “It’s only $7” or “I get paid tomorrow so who cares” but once you start consistently thinking those things, the tab starts to add up and your checking account continues to diminish.

You do not need a new outfit every weekend.

I suppose this one more accurately applies to girls, but maybe not. Some weeks when Friday would roll around, my roommates and I would begin to think about what we would be wearing out that weekend and even between four full closets and over stuffed drawers, not one of us would be able to find an outfit acceptable enough to wear out. This resulted in a mall trip, usually ending in the swiping of our debit cards. Trust me, the black shirt you just purchased resembles the other 500 black shirts you already own.

If possible, get a part-time job.

I know that it isn’t always possible with heavy workloads during different semesters, but if you can, hold a part-time job during the school year. If you have to sacrifice a Friday or Saturday night for work, just do it. I promise that the frat party will be the same next weekend. You also don’t want to be that person who has mom and dad constantly wiring money to your account every week as an “allowance”, no one should be getting an allowance after the age of sixteen.

If you’re unsure about what to major in, go to community college first.

This might be my biggest regret. I went in as a History major, then to Communications, then into the School of Business until finally declaring Marketing my junior year.  Although I believe I received a good education at my four year college, those first two years of taking gen eds could have been done at any school for a way lower price. So, if you’re undecided, take your early credits somewhere else and then transfer to a larger school!

GO TO CLASS.

I’m not saying I was a no-show to every class or someone who just showed up for the mid-term and final, but I definitely did my fair share of skipping. Attendance can so critically effect your grade, it’s scary. It doesn’t matter if you ace every test, project and assignment, you could still end up with a B in the class due to lack of attendance. I understand there are times where skipping is necessary, but try to stay under the allotted amount of skips allowed per semester.

Starting college is such an exciting time that is filled with so much opportunity you don’t even realize. But the decisions you make during your time there truly do effect you in the long run. How much effort you put into each class, how you spend your summers, where you live, how much money you borrow in financial aid, who you date, what you do on the weekends. Everything has a consequence, whether that be positive or negative, is up to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23/Male/Heartbroken

We were the couple that would playfully argue about who loved each other more. “I loved you first, therefore I love you more”, she used to say. It was never with any intention of winning. It was just a cute way for us to pass the time; a playful game to see who would give up first. I can tell you that, eventually, I did win.

She gave up first.

We had a history. We met way back in high school through mutual friends. We talked a decent amount, and we hung out here and there but it didn’t lead to anything serious at the time. I was older, and preparing to go to college, while she was younger and still had years left of high school to see out. I didn’t think it would work at the time, but she did. I would ghost on her frequently, often times not returning texts or canceling plans. I’ll be the first to admit I could have handled that situation better, and I was not particularly understanding or as nice as I could have been to her. She could have given up on me. She probably should have. She didn’t.

Knowing what I know now it’s time I wish I could have back.

It wasn’t until years later, about halfway through my junior year of college, that we reconnected in a substantial way. After making plans and abruptly canceling them (again) we finally started spending time together. I was like any other 21-year-old guy; just happy to have a consistent lay. Even though I could feel something more significant blooming between us I couldn’t really see what was happening; what was very clearly staring me in the face. I figured it was just sexual desire or something like that as I was still very much that asshole that strung her along for years.

Finally, about a month after we reconnected, I realized what was happening; I like this girl. I might even love her. We started dating, and I wouldn’t reveal that to her for another five months.

I regret not telling her every single day, because I don’t get to say it anymore.

We separated in May. We were together for two years. The break-up wasn’t some aggressive, rage-induced screaming match over a scandalous night of infidelity, or any other reason that people would typically associate with a break-up. I think I would have preferred that because that would have given credence to a clear, identifiable reason. Don’t get me wrong – there was still plenty of sobbing from both of us. We just had a conversation in which she calmly explained to me that she had lost faith in us. She didn’t have confidence in our relationship, and it wasn’t something she could handle anymore. I can certainly accept and acknowledge those feelings. That does not mean I understand them. It felt like the, “I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed”, of breakups. It left me confused, and made me feel pain I never thought was possible. I always thought of myself as a tough and resolute person. I could tough out anything and anyone. With a couple of sentences and a good-bye hug this girl had brought me to my knees, beaten and broken, and left me there.

It would be unfair of me to solely blame her for us not being together anymore. I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons for that, and I don’t doubt my own culpability. God knows I could have been a better partner, and I have my regrets. There are things that I said and did that I wish I never had, and vise-versa.  But what I am having the hardest time with is the fact that she wasn’t willing to keep going. As stated I don’t fully understand why we split, but before it happened I did feel a shift in our relationship. Something didn’t feel right, and I believe it was this shift that caused her to pull the plug. It felt like a big, ominous shadow looming over us. However, it wasn’t always like that, and I truly believed that it wouldn’t persist. I expressed that to her more than once. You have your up’s and your down’s in a relationship, and if you love someone you work through them as best you can. I was ready to fight for her and our relationship because I loved her more than anything in the world. I still do. Walking away was just something I wasn’t willing to do. I think I’m more afraid of what that says about me than it does her.

I am still very much in love with her, which is unfortunate to say the least. It’s a feeling I haven’t been able to shake, and I’m not sure it will ever really go away. I genuinely thought I was going to marry this girl. It was even something her and I discussed a few times. Our naivety, in hindsight, is not lost on me. It is this continued love that has been my biggest obstacle. When you love someone more than you love yourself it’s a difficult feeling to shake. I often wonder if she still feels the same way.

We talked and saw each other sporadically for about two months after we broke up, and I expressed the way I felt a few times. She did not, and that is okay. She told me that we needed space from each other, and it’s been over a month since we have spoken. Given the time and lack of communication it’s hard not to wonder what she’s doing – or who she’s doing it with.

I would imagine this period of disconnect speaks for itself in one way or another.

When I originally approached the wonderful creators of this blog about this guest post it was with the intention of helping others. This has been my second “big” break-up, and while this one has hit particularly hard I thought that I might be able to provide some insight and advice to those who might be going through similar situations. “I’m fine. I am doing much better. I should write about it”, I told myself. I thought that I could share what I was doing to in my efforts to recover with the wonderful people who visit this blog. Your early 20’s is undoubtedly a difficult time, and failed relationships can muddle the already confusing brew of emotional (and physical, in some cases) stress one may be sipping on.

However, while I wrote this article I realized that I am not doing better. It’s been almost three months and I have made absolutely no progress in moving on. Every second of every single day is dominated by thoughts of her. Not all of them are sad, but even the happy thoughts sting a little. I spend a lot of time in my bed. I watch Netflix until 2 A.M. every night because I don’t sleep anymore, and when I do sleep my dreams are dominated by nightmares. I listen to a lot of the same songs her and I used to enjoy on my 40-minute commute to work every morning. Sometimes I cry, but I try not to. I avoid my mother because every conversation we have seems to lead back to my ex, which makes living at home more difficult than it should be.

My 3-year-old sister loved spending time with my her. I thought that by now she would have forgotten about her. A few nights ago, while at the dinner table, my sister gleefully asked me where she was. I replied with a half-smile and a simple, “I don’t know”. I went to my room and didn’t talk to anyone for the rest of the night.

It’s easy to think you are doing better. You want to believe that you can simply pick up the pieces, and mosey right along whistling Dixie. Your true feelings always show, and it’s important to recognize when you’re just not okay. I also think that it is okay to not be okay. Everyone moves at their own pace. Sometimes you even need a little help. That is why I recently decided to go and see a therapist. I’ve never put much faith in therapy or it’s benefits, but at this point I think that any healing I’ve attempted to do on my own has failed. It couldn’t possibly hurt to try, and perhaps it could be helpful.

I realize that his guest post may seem a bit sad and depressing. Some of you may even think I’m just a whiner, and that I need to get over it and move on already. You’re probably not wrong. After thinking about it, though, the thing that I want people to take away from this post the most is that at our age it is important to appreciate the things that are in front of you now. The hustle and bustle of your 20’s can cause you to lose sight over things that are truly important, even those that you love, and before you know it those things are gone. That can be anything from relationships to friends or even your parents, god forbidding.

Appreciate who and what you have whenever the opportunity presents itself. Tell her how thankful you are when she wakes up early to drive you to work because your car is in the shop. Answer her calls even if you’re busy, or at least text her back and let her know you’ll call as soon as possible. Offer to drive over to her place for once. Ask her how her family is doing. Tell her how beautiful she is with or without makeup. Ask her to play your video games or watch sports with you. Hold her as tight as you possibly can when you lay down together. Brush her hair when she asks you to. Give her a kiss and tell her you love her just because you can. Listen to her when she is feeling down and hug. Being appreciative isn’t always about expressly stating so. Often, it’s just about putting that little extra bit of effort and showing you care.

I still go out and see my friends. I drink socially. I play soccer every weekend. I go to the gym a few times a week. I do try to spend some time with my family. I think it’s important after experiencing heartbreak, even if you’re feeling utterly defeated and hopeless, that you try to continue to be yourself even if you feel like half of you is missing. Don’t let it paralyze you. Some people, like myself, just need a little help is all. It is my hope that in a few months’ time I can follow up this post and share how I’ve gotten to that place because then I might be able to help someone.

Until then it is my sincere belief that eventually – hopefully – the dust will begin settle and I will be okay.

 

What You Want to Do Vs. What You Should Do: The Noise of Life

“Noise” is defined is defined by the dictionary as “a sound, especially one that is loud or unpleasant or that causes disturbance”. Life noise, however, has a different connotation in regards to many aspects.

Throughout life, there can be different forms of noise day to day. This noise is a distraction for many people when focusing on what makes them happy. Too many are focused on what makes others happy instead. Anyway you swing it, sacrifices are made for people we love and care about, but that’s part of any relationship. However, making life decisions and being indecisive because you don’t want to hurt others feelings is in turn constantly hurting the individual. It’s difficult to distinguish between looking out for those you love and looking out for yourself. The hardest part is that there is no right answer; the answer is within each person’s way of living life.

People, places and things create a lot of noise in life. Personal appearance in social situations is one of those noises. What is there to do tonight? Who is going to hang out with me? I’ve had this outfit since high school and still wear it, does it matter? My makeup isn’t the newest addition of naked (or any type of naked for that matter), will they notice? There is such a stress on the way people look in social situations, it’s crazy. Everyone is judged on how they look, whether it’s a positive or negative judgement. Stressful, unnecessary noise. The way anyone presents themselves is individualized and is important to be left that way. The way someone dresses or looks does not need to change the way that person is perceived. Too many focus on external characteristics instead of truly getting to know people for who they are internally. Next time you meet somebody new, try talking to them with more decency. Even if you are already with friends, invite someone new in; find out who they are.

Another noise ringing constantly is about the way life is “supposed” to be like?

1. You should have a steady job by the age of 23.
2. You should be looking to date someone long term so you can have a family by age 30.
3. You should have a budget and be saving your money to buy a house, not spending so much of it.
4. But then there’s also: enjoy life while you’re young, you can save money later.

The word SHOULD is thrown around way too often. Life isn’t about right and wrong. The real question “should” be, what do YOU want your life to be like RIGHT NOW? Do we have to stress so much about the future? Who cares what’s going to happen in a year, or ten years. Why is it so frowned upon to just live for now and make good decisions based upon the way everyone wants them to be made? Because, in the end, life is about embracing feelings of the individual and who better to make decisions than the individual who is actually living that life? It’s up to them, not the rest of the world and the way things have been set into a precedent by our parents’ generation.

The loudest noise, in my opinion (because this is what I constantly feel), has become: will I upset “so and so” if I decide to do this? After all, it is what I want to do, isn’t it? But repeatedly I notice thoughts like, “but they don’t want to do that (or they disagree) so I should change my mind to make them happy”. It’s a way of unintentional perfectionism that I’m noticing is taking over these decisions. Perfectionism can be dangerous. I won’t tell them certain things because I feel they won’t agree/will judge me. And don’t get me wrong, I have learned that boundaries are very necessary to have. However, if you’re talking to someone, you shouldn’t feel like you must discount your feelings because you feel the other person will get upset or disagree with you. Avoiding upsetting others is close to impossible, so what’s the point of risking your own happiness to stress about others’ happiness when we cannot control that? I believe that everyone has a bit of perfectionist qualities; it’s important to not let them run your life.

Venting is something everyone needs, so it’s important to find a few people you can tell many things to without feeling judged. Sometimes it’s good to have those people to discuss different things with: one person for work situations, one for relationships, one for advice about friends, etc. Extra people means extra noise and that noise makes people second guess. For me, I find myself asking people, what would you do? Or what do you think? When in reality, does it matter? No. It’s more noise, it’s more unnecessary opinions, and it makes me feel like there is a right and wrong in every situation. Noise while making decisions really gets in the way and hinders the way people live their lives. Living a life this way is utterly exhausting and stressful, and for what? Live YOUR life the way YOU want to. Make your own decisions.

I’ll go a little bit in a different direction to finish. I truly believe the things I discussed and really am working on all of that for myself in my own life. However, there is another side as well. Most of us have people we are close to whether that be friends, family, significant others, or more than one. As much as it is important to live the way I have described above, it’s also just as important to make time and do things with those who mean so much. So sometimes, sacrifices should be made. And that’s okay, it’s part of life as well. Don’t want to go to a family reunion? Doesn’t matter, that’s something that is important. You’re not just attending to make others happy, but to spend time with those you love. And most importantly to enjoy it, because you truly don’t know how often you’ll get to do those things. That goes for friends and significant others as well. Sacrifices are always made in any type of relationship. Something may sound “better” or more fun than going to something “obligatory”. But that’s just the thing, it doesn’t always have to feel like an obligation, if these people are important to you, you will want to go. This is just as important to consider.

Life has so much noise in it, it is exhausting. But at the end of the day, the importance is to not get so caught up in all of it. Living your life and doing things that make you happy are so crucial. As well as making time for others. As the “entitled” generation, it’s important to have a balance between these things, which is extremely difficult but totally doable. Extra stress about decision making isn’t worth it. Simply, think, what do I WANT to do? Instead of what SHOULD I do? You may “hurt” people in the process or maybe they won’t agree with you, but that’s the noise we need eliminate from our minds. It takes a conscious effort to think in this way, and it’s challenging. But it could truly make a happier, more enjoyable life for years to come.

 

Things We Do After Graduation: Brunch

I never really understood what brunch contained or what was even the point of this combination of meals; when I woke up hungover in college, I would either walk to the five star bagel joint (Dunkin Donuts), heat up an easy Mac in my dorm, or fortunately, when I lived in a house, made a pork roll egg and cheese. All of these options sufficed and were reasonably affordable, but now? No, it’s never reasonably priced, never done from the comfort of my own home and the first meal on a Saturday or Sunday after a long night of drinking ultimately turns into an all day extravaganza. Brunch, as fun and as tasty as it is, has ruined my wallet and productiveness on weekends. Here’s a list I’ve complied of aspects that embody a typical brunch outing post-grad.

1. Bloody Mary’s V. Mimosas

  • There are two type of people: those that order cold tomato soup and those that order a drink just to make them feel fancy. Either way, I’m sure both parties are coordinating an artsy Instagram of their hangover cure that will flood their friends’ feeds, or more accurately, shooting boomerangs. Hint: find a place that serves bottomless of either drink, you’ll save so much money.

2. Interesting Specials

  • When I’m hungover, I just want something that’s greasy, contains substance and doesn’t cost more than $12. Also, I would like to be familiar with all or most of the ingredients used in the dish, however, brunch specials tend to be fancy. For example, there’s no such thing as an omelets being served with cheddar cheese at brunch, it has to have something weird like goat cheese.

3. Endless refills of water

  • Without even asking, your waiter/waitress will know you will need excessive refills of water, they just leave a pitcher at your table. Score.

4. Endless complaints about being hungover

  • I am very guilty of being the hungover complainer. Even though I know everyone at the table feels just as shitty or even worse, I still feel the need to remind everyone every ten minutes or so that “I feel like shit”, and chances are, I’m not the only one reiterating this.

5. Recaps of the night before

  • The best part about actually going to brunch as opposed to making a half-ass breakfast in your kitchen, is that you get to sit and chat with all of your friends from the night before and piece together more and more of the night all the while cracking up until you’re delirious.

6. Endless Laughs

  • As stated before, piecing the night together and remembering more and more as you bounce stories off one another, the belly laughing just keeps coming.

7. Splitting the Bill

  • Hopefully if you’re as lucky as I am, you never run into issues when it comes to splitting the bill. The easiest solution is to just split it evenly or you’ll just add to your already existing headache.

8. Where to Next?

  • Although we all promised we were just going for food then going our separate ways, somewhere between the first and last bite, or maybe third or fourth drinks, we all feel like brand new people ready to seize the day- and by seize the day, I mean the bar next door.

A Like For A Like

We used to judge someone’s popularity based on how many Myspace friends they had, then that graduated to Facebook friends, and then to Instagram followers and likes. I can’t lie and say I’ve never fallen victim to silently linking unpopularity to a low number of Instagram followers, especially in college, but can now confidently say that your social media “friends” have nothing to do with your friends.

Now, it’s almost annoying to have to have an excessive amount of connections on social media because I constantly find myself wondering who some of the people are in my feed, and more importantly, why am I liking their posts? There are multiple times a day I find myself having to click and creep on someone’s Facebook page to figure out who the page actually belongs to, which basically admits I spend entirely way too much time on social media, but I know I’m not the only one guilty of this. Why am I liking pictures of your dog, your brother-in-law’s friends baby, your dinner or your new hair style? It has become second nature to like multiple Instagram posts in a row, most of the time without even really taking notice to what’s in the square frame. And the fact that the stigma associated with likes and popularity has increased so much in the last four years just makes me realize how much wasted time on social media has also increased. For example, when Instagram started becoming popular a few years ago, a lot of likes was considered 30 or more, now, people pray not to be cursed with receiving less than 100. But a good enough caption can go a long way.

The number 100 doesn’t seem large in the grand scheme of the things, but seriously who actually has 100 friends? If we were only connected on social media sites with just the people we’re friends with, I would have about 25 followers. I have almost 800 Instagram followers and over 1,000 Facebook friends, so you can see my issue with the ratio here; averaging at 150 likes, only about 17% of them I talk to on a regular basis.  Maybe my definition of a friend differs, but my standard includes anyone I would be comfortable hanging out with one on one. However, we live in a society obsessed with social media and constant communication, so we follow people we met once eight years ago and continue to be dedicated likers. Again, guilty.

It’s pretty sad that in college you may have been considered a bitch if you didn’t like someone’s post that continually liked yours. Either that, or the person thinks they wronged you in some way. Or, someone didn’t think you’re attractive. God, what an asshole. But putting it into perspective, half the time I don’t even like a picture, I just tap twice because I feel indirectly, morally obligated. It’s like an unwritten rule among millennials. But when do we draw the line? Will we forever be following and supporting  people’s life decisions, events, news, and announcements through a virtual thumbs up or heart? Will this continue on until we’re eventually liking pictures of their grandchildren’s first day of school? I honestly have no idea because the social media market is constantly growing and changing, I’m almost hoping Myspace makes a comeback one day.

I’m not saying it’s ridiculous or wrong in any way to ‘like’ our acquaintance’s posts, I’m just examining the reality behind it. Maybe one day I’ll dissect my list of friends on Facebook to those I’m close with, or sift through Instagram and delete people I met in high school who I haven’t seen or heard from since graduation, but until now I’ll continue to religiously like the pictures and posts in my news feed.

 

Your Setback Is The Platform For Your Comeback

It’s been one year since graduation, and I’m more unsure than ever of what my future holds. Crossing the stage, receiving my diploma I didn’t know what to look forward to, but after many setbacks this past year, it’s becoming more of a realization that life is just full of the unknown and it’s completely out of our control. Setbacks are a part of everyday life; whether they stem from anxiety, missed opportunity, hasty decisions, bad decisions, or the trials and tribulations of human life, they happen, and sometimes all we can do is embrace the mess and stay hopeful.

This year hasn’t exactly been easy, and at times I’ve truly doubted my abilities and worth. Anyone who has had to experience job searching post-grad can understand what I’m referring to. The time and energy we can spend applying for positions, the majority of them just being for the hell of it, usually lead us nowhere- not even a call back. So, maybe we thought finding a job would be easier, but we’ve come to know that even landing an interview can be an obstacle, or a setback.

Sometimes I’ve been presented opportunities that I’ve ran from or turned down because of my anxiety- anxiety regarding irrational things or petty fears, but if you’ve read the last two posts before this, you’ll know that anxiety is no joke and can sometimes cause self-inflicted restrictions that aren’t easy to settle. Although I’m dealing with these things day by day, it’s still caused setbacks.

Decision making can be tough, especially when it deals with life changing choices and not just deciding between which bars to go to this weekend. Making hasty decisions can lead to setbacks, because most of the time, it’ll be the wrong choice. It’s important to weight out the pros and cons of every choice before finalizing, but we’re only human and sometimes we trust our initial instincts more than we should.

Realizing you went to school for something completely uninteresting to you- setback; time to apply for grad school!

Having to live at home longer than you wished or thought you would have to- setback.

Still driving the car you drove in high school because your “adult job” salary can’t afford you to upgrade- setback.

Got laid off due to something completely out of your control- setback. 

Unfortunately, we are all just dealt a shit hand on occasion. We can work as hard as we can and still come up short. We’re put in situations that we’re forced to remove ourselves from, even when they just put us right back where we started.

It can often feel like we’re not progressing, achieving or experiencing, but that’s not true. Everyone has a different route to take, some may take longer to get to their destination, but we’ll all get to where we want to be. But guess what? I have no idea exactly where I’m going, and I’m okay with that. Life is constantly recalculating our plans with unexpected setbacks; whether it is you lose your job, the person you thought you would spend your life with ends the relationship, you get pregnant, you fail your program, someone gets sick, you get transferred out of state- the list goes on and on. But maybe that’s the point, right? Facing challenges, dealing with unexpectedness and tackling these problems every day is what we’re equipped for as humans. Nothing ever goes as planned, but that’s the exciting part of life, anything can happen- good or bad- and we just have to embrace it.

So don’t cry over spilled milk, just clean it up and pour another glass because something great is waiting to happen. But if we dwell on all of the annoyances in life, we’re just prolonging the destination.