A Boring Life

I came across a tweet recently (it’s not that unusual these days). Someone was saying they wanted to get a KitchenAid (do it!) to be able to make homemade pizza dough, and said that this made them a boring adult now. It got me thinking, and then I wrote this.

I’ve contemplated a lot about my life recently. Maybe it’s something to do with being 25. Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten to watch several people around me undertake significant life changes. Maybe it’s because I’m human and we’re prone to doing this sort of thing all the time. I don’t know.

Anyways, some of that thinking has been in connection with talking. The sort of talking that happens whenever you see or call family, and you have to act out the same script over and over for the three billionth time, because of course your grandfather or uncle or mom’s childhood friend want to know how you are (or rather, they have to ask. they probably don’t actually want to know). Before I got a full-time job, this was actually a pretty fun script to follow. If I skipped enough conversations, there would be enough scheduled, structural changes in my life to fill out a thirty minute conversation and thus fullfil my duty as someone a generation or two younger than whoever was on the other end of the line.

New quarter in school? Talk about the new classes! Complain about the professors! Say what you didn’t learn about the quarter before that you were expecting to learn! Lot’s of personal stuff to talk about that wasn’t really about me, but rather was about the world around me. It was changing, and I could pass that off as the news in my life.

But now? Sure, I completed another sprint at work. I do that every two weeks. But I’m not sure the NDA I signed even allows me to say the goofy sprint name we put in JIRA, much less talk about tickets and how they’re germane to the business and somehow convince myself that moving a label over a few pixels or filing some new Xcode bug to  was a worthy pursuit for a college-educated grandson. But even if I could talk about it: who cares? Seriously. My manager barely gets through ten minutes of my weekly status updates, and he gets paid to listen! My aunt definitely doesn’t have the context necessary to talk about bazel build hermeticity (sure, that’s probably a word) and how it interacts with actool and .appiconset bundles, but I swear I can spend a whole week at work fighting that.

I’m not complaining, of course. I get paid well for this and I largely enjoy it. But that’s 7-10 hours of the day, five days a week. Another 8-9 I spend sleeping (because I’m a boring adult now and don’t stay up until 4am watching Yu-Gi-Oh! reruns or playing smash any more). At least an hour is spend trying to transition myself from my bedroom to the rest of my apartment, and then back again (I’ve never been a morning person). I cook, and there’s only so many times you can talk about your 60th chicken soup of the year. Or the second night in a row making shameful mac n cheese because honestly hot cheese powder on carbs sounded good at the time.

I watch the same TV shows, sitting on the same couch with the same person (yes, it probably is time for the third re-watch of Downton Abbey, just because it means I’ll drink more tea). Date nights happen at the same set of restaurants (again, with the same person. They’d want me to clarify that, I’m pretty sure). Remembering to vacuum and fold laundry is an accomplishment (one for me and the other for them).

Writing all this down, it does sound kinda boring. And yet…

I can’t decide whether it’s a bad thing or not. Is it boring, or is it stable? I haven’t had to move apartments since graduating college. I’m saving money and don’t have debt (not my doing, really, so thank the family for that one). I get to buy the fancy Dyson vacuum on a whim and genuinely get pleasure from watching the dust behind the toilet dissappear (that was my one year vesting cliff present to myself, and I have no regrets). I went to four continents last year, and it’s become such a common occurence my mom gets upset when I forget to remind her that there’s another trip coming up (I swear I told her at least once. She admonishes me to forward her emails with my itinerary. I usually remember to do so before the first flight takes off). My partner and I went on an almost-two-week vacation to Australia because I found upgrade space on United (true story. We went via Houston for that). On that trip, we must’ve done at least four tasting menus, and didn’t worry about splurging too much. My parents complained they got more photos of the food than of me (this happens every trip, and I suppose I should be happy they still expect something different from me?)

I think some of the feeling of “boring” is centered around not having answers for other people when they ask what’s happening in my life. Because I know that the answer will, to them, sound like “same old, same old”.

But to me, the person living that boring, adult life? I get to try out new recipes at home. Continue my search for adequate pizza on the left coast. Make progress in my career (even though the “L4 means software engineer, L5 also means software engineer. No I’m not a manager. Yet” conversation is hella old by now). Spend another year proving I’m not so intolerable that someone won’t be willing to (sometimes) share a living space with me. Spend time in other countries, and come home with renewed hope that the world can be different from the one I experience day-to-day. Read a lot of books (yes, a bunch were about baseball. yes, a bunch were about medieval england. yes, a bunch were about the world between 1930 and 1950. yes, a bunch identify me as woefully weak in jewish philosophy). Listened to too many podcasts (I know they sell mattresses on the internet now. I’m still not buying, but thanks for asking, Casper). Made more and more internet friends, at least one with each passing conference.

In short (though I probably shouldn’t say this. I refuse to edit, and there’s still a few more miles left in this flight and I might continue to be verbose), I don’t know what I’d do differently. Is it boring? Is it adult? Maybe. Is it life? Absolutely, it’s my life. I’m reasonably happy with it, and I really can’t point at anything as being bad or wrong. Should I go to the gym more frequently? (Probably, just don’t ask me right after I’ve left it and everything is sore). Should I cut back on meat consumption because planet earth is dying? (Certainly, I have no excuses here). Should I spend more time being present with my partner instead of scrolling through the Hell Website? (Yeah, but the dumb tweets make for funny conversation a lot of the time). Should I call my grandparents more often? (I swerar I just called them mom, but no, don’t ask them about it). Should I care a bit less about finding sales on kitchen gadgets? (You can pry my AllClad and Shun out of my cold, dead hands).

So I’m not perfect. Not close. But it’s not like these are major life decisions I want a do-over on. They’re tweaks. Small adjustments I just haven’t made because I’m weak, I’m human. I sin, I repent, the transgressions are forgiven. But they’re not regrets. I don’t regret the steak I had with my mom on Friday, because we had a good dinner together. I don’t regret working a bit on Sunday night after my dad went to bed, because I got some satisfaction out of making a new test suite pass. I don’t regret flying to Oslo last November, because I made some awesome new friends (turns out, staying out until 3am dancing and drinking beer is still a good bonding activity. Carry on). I don’t regret starting to go to the gym, nor the fact that I only go three times a week. I don’t regret the fact that I don’t own a house (then I’d have to feel bad about being gone so often). I don’t regret watching the Bread episodes of the Great British Bake Off over and over because I love bread, and watching it with my partner (a wooden cutting board of buttered bread on my coffee table) still makes me smile.

(See, I told you the “in short” wouldn’t be short). I don’t really have a conclusion here. I guess I’m still trying to grapple with what an “adult life” is, what a “boring life” is, and what the hell I want my life to be. All I know (ok, I know a lot. One thing I know) is that I have no regrets right now, and as long as that remains true, I think I’m doing OK. Whatever type of life you want to describe mine as, I like it. Bring the next year on.