On Aging

I recently reread the first issue of my good friend, Lee Christopher’s (or Xopher as he prefers to be called) comic. He wrote the issue as an intro for his bigger body of work, Rock of Pages.

It’s fictional mostly by way of the depicted conversation never happening, and the events portrayed are more remixes of what really happened. But like many works of fiction it contains some good truth. Overture, as it’s called, takes place almost 10 years ago. After reading the issue, it’s interesting to see how things have developed since. Well, at least for me.

Thanks for the wonderful bit of work Lee, I’m now going to hijack the rest of this piece and use it talk about myself.

I never moved back to Puerto Rico. Instead I stayed in Ohio for six months, until I accepted that getting a job in the midwest just wasn’t going to happen. I moved to Phoenix, with my sister, and finally got a design job eight months after graduating with my sweet BFA. These events aren’t anything new. Members of my entire generation went through similar situations. Landing a job just in time to see the great financial crisis emerge.

My girlfriend at the time, the one mentioned in the issue, Katrina, moved down to Arizona to live with me. It wasn’t a sure thing and after around 6 years we broke it off. As great as it was to go through college together we slowly found out that we simply wanted different things in life. So it goes.

Did I become an illustrator? Well, sort of. I’m employed as a product designer, but I still get to work on illustrations and icons systems. It’s not sweet giant robots and spaceships, but it’s still a good deal of fun. Plus I get to be a designer in San Francisco. Great for my career, but not for my finances.

Looking back on almost ten years of personal history is fun and all, but the biggest takeaway is seeing the differences between the character I was portrayed as and the current person I now consider myself to be. Does living through your 20’s change you? Sure. Are any of those differences stark? Not really. Are any of them surprising? Yes, younger me was considerably more confident. As you get older it seems to fizzle out some.

Having said goodbye to my 20’s last July there are things I’ve learned in that decade. There are even some things I would have done differently if given the chance. Can I write some of them out in an easy to read list of things? Yup. Can I stop doing this whole question and answer thing? Outlook uncertain.

On material things:

After landing a job with a salary I went on a mission to fulfill the wants of my teenage self. This amounted to buying a lot of “cool shit.” Turns out most of those things were at best unnecessary, and at worst a waste of money. Invest in experiences. Don’t buy yourself a tv and an xbox. Buy a plane ticket to Europe. Go do something uncomfortable.

On love:

Assuming you’re not one of the lucky ones, and you don’t find your designated person fairly early on. Dating, and going through multiple relationships, is a strange exercise in emotional saturation and self discovery. You will be the villain, you will be the victim. As you continue to date others you’ll start to develop an empathy for some, and even disgust for others. So don’t be quick to judge. And please, don’t settle.

On your parents:

Enjoy them as long as you can. My parents had me in their 30’s, So now I get to see their health deteriorate. On the bright side, as you continue to get older your relationship changes and they start regarding you as an adult. It’s good stuff.

On Work:

When a business hires you, they are not doing you a favor. You get a steady source of income and they don’t have to pay you as much as a contractor or freelancer. Don’t go into your job thinking that you owe your employer anything. Do the work you’re paid to do, do it well, enjoy it, and treat your co workers well — which reminds me.

On Work Life:

A sad truth about being an adult is that you’re going to spend most of your life working. Be it in an office or where have you, your co workers are going to spend more time with you than your family. So when it comes to interviewing for a job, make sure the people there are ones that you can get along with. If not, don’t be afraid to pass on an offer.

On exercise:

You should do some. It’s a great way to get energy, maintain a higher metabolism and burn away stress. Sign up for a class, don’t just lift weights on your own.

On continuing to age:

I’ll get back you to you on that.

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