My best work is done in a highly distracting environment. Cubicles destroy my concentration. Silence makes my brain shut down to the point where sometimes I swear I can hear it snoring. I’ll take a busy coffee shop and constantly ringing cell phones over the office any day.
Not only is a coffee shop fuel for my fodder (be it a grant report or a blog post), but I have an extra secret weapon: Dubstep. I can’t predict the melody or sing along to the nonsensical words. It’s like super intense white noise and when those crazy beats hit my eardrums, I turn into a productivity robot.
Today, as I pounded out paragraphs about measurable outcomes in my target audience to the tune of Skrillex and Avicii, a little voice in my head started to whisper, “Let’s go to EDC.”
If you’re unfamiliar with EDC, it stands for Electric Daisy Carnival and takes place once a year in Vegas. A long weekend full of dupstep, dance moves, and neon tutus. I have a handful of friends (and a little sister that’s way cooler than me) that have been to EDC and survived to tell the tale – tales that were apparently appealing enough for me to think that I should explore the option myself.
Immediately, I text the cool little sister for some support of my youthful desire: “I’m listening to my dubstep mix at work and it makes me want to go to EDC.”
Her reply was indicative of how well she knows me: “Bahaha!” she starts, “Yeah, EDC is a long haul. No sleep or food for 3 days.”
Oh right, I’m 100 years old. She didn’t even have to say “yay” or “nay.” The second that my options for food and rest are removed, I’m out. Even if I could have justified the $300 ticket and organized my snacking options, I could never handle an entire weekend surrounded by hundreds of 19 year olds YOLO-ing. Don’t they know that only living once is worth doing so safely?
I immediately had flash visuals of myself running around trying to put a jacket over some girl’s tiny outfit or playing paramedic and attempting to hydrate drunk strangers. Ugh, I’m so boring! My knee-jerk reaction was to scold myself for being so lame in my twenties. Think of the fun I could be missing! Think of the stories I could have told! You only live once after all…
But when I took a breath and looked around my coffee shop work space, I remembered that I had been writing a grant report. For a project that had positively impacted an entire community. Funded by a grant proposal that I had written and executed by events that I had organized. On top of that, I was up at 4:30 a.m. running sprints and doing push ups and sweating through my college alumni T-shirt. I very rarely toot my own horn, but it quickly reminded me that I’m kind of a badass.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m battling adult-onset peer pressure. It’s really easy to think that you’re lame when everything on TV or online is showing over the top awesomeness all the time. I catch myself numerous times a day thinking things like, “Wait a minute, why don’t I spend my summers in Miami?” It’s obviously because the Kardashians don’t lead normal lives and should not serve as my basis for comparison…
The point is that it’s really hard to not feel super lame while you eat leftovers for lunch all week and everyone else is busy being fabulous a patio somewhere sipping cocktails and eating Cobb Salads. I have to remind myself that just because my daily actions aren’t always externally awesome, the life I’ve created in my short stint as an adult is rad as shit (excuse the language. It’s the Dubstep talking). I know that going to bed at 9:30 p.m. isn’t exactly glamorous (neither is responsibility in general), but I make some pretty solid things happen in my daily life. And I would bet that all of those small victories will add up to some pretty good stories to tell.
Today, I’ll finish up my grant report, play in our first softball game of the season, and sleep off my wicked early morning workout. And when I actually am 100 years old and someone asks me to reminisce about my twenties, I’ll giggle about all the cheap, dorky fun we had while we were saving for retirement.