by: Mar Curran
Note: “What I Haven’t Learned Yet” is a new column that features anti-advice from our writers. This week, Mar Curran explains why bus drivers scare him, when the right time to watch The Bachelor how embracing boring-ness changed his life.
1. Adults are not scary authority figures anymore.
I have a problem with authority, and not the cool kind where I get caught smoking in the boys’ room at school. I am genuinely afraid of most people I see has having power over me. This means professors, waitstaff, bus drivers, sales clerks, landlords, older neighbors, parents of small children, business people, door people, and the crossing guard at my bus stop. I need to remember I’m an adult now, too, so they do not control my life. If a bus driver yells at me, it will not affect any other facet of my life at all. I’m my own man! I’m a grown up now! I need to stop fearing my new peer group!
2. Money doesn’t grow on trees.
Good God, Lemon. I suck at finances. This month marks the first time I’ve actually sat down, made hard rules and a weekly budget, and stuck to it. Every other time, I’ve made excuses and spent small amounts of money all over the place, thinking it doesn’t matter because I am money-short-sighted. I need to learn to invest in my future, right after I buy those shades I need because it’s so damn bright! (Sorry, I’m required to do one cheesy joke every time I write a piece that doesn’t mention anything about sex positivity.)
3. I can’t do everything all the time.
I think I’m Superman–or more likely Batman, because he’s more bad ass. Whenever anyone asks me to do something to help them, I usually say yes. This is to the point where during finals Patrick Gill tried to make me not write and I handed in 3 pieces, and tonight Nico Lang told me that I should take a rest day and not write a piece because I’m very sick but I told them I would have a piece in to them by Wednesday and they could decide what to do with it. My best friend also often tells me I need to turn down opportunities. I, in fact, just turned down something that could have been very good for my career for the first time because I already am overbooked. I need to learn to budget my time more wisely by not doing things I don’t have to. Sure, no one else can do it as well, but I’ll just have to let them try.
4. Someday, my life might be “boring,” and that is okay.
I used to worry about not being at every club. every party, every event. This past month I have gone out once. Instead of partying I cook, read, write, and watch The Bachelor. I spend time with my friends at their apartments just playing board games, I drink a lot less, and most of my nights spent with my roommate Rachel lately have been watching podcasts or talking about technology laws while I sage the apartment and hang posters. Pretty tame stuff. But you know what? I love it. I think I’m beginning to realize that I need to do more self-care rather than satisfying everyone else. Maybe, someday, I will be an old married dude with kids who rarely goes out and has Dietzler over to barbeque on my new deck. That will be okay. My life doesn’t need to be 100 MPH to be satisfying. I just need to learn to be more okay with that.
5. This body ain’t what it used to be.
I am only 22. My best friend constantly tells me in 10 years my body will be old and creaky and unable to handle large amounts of liquor. I do not believe it yet. I have bad lower back pain but otherwise still feel invincible. Forget aging. I will be forever young. (Until I’m not. Peter Pan complex.)
6. Worrying doesn’t prevent bad things from happening.
I’m trying to remember that worrying does nothing positive at all. But worrying is so easy to do! It’s very easy to think about every bad thing that could happen. It’s a habit! I’m hoping that someday I can think of other things. Like researching classism, which I want to learn more about, or relearning French, since I have forgotten a large portion of my four years of education on the subject. I could be doing so much! But I will try not to worry about worrying to much; that might be the first step.
7. Enjoy the now, even if it’s only temporary.
My therapist is touching a lot lately on the fact that I have trouble with loss due to my brother’s death 16 years ago. I sometimes set my own expiration dates on relationships or don’t invest in them–because I “know” they’ll end soon. I need to learn to just enjoy what happens now and learn what I can from it. That’s all any of us really can do. Every moment with those I love is a gift I can always treasure, no matter what happens tomorrow, and so I need to dive right in like my name is Mar Phelps.
8. Cheese is not a health food.
Maybe someday I’ll believe this.
Mar Curran is a trans/queer rights activist and community organizer; he is on the boards of Video Action league, Advocate Loyola, the Queer intercollegiate Alliance, and works with GetEQUAL. As spoken word artist, he has read at each All The Writers I Know event. He studies Communications and Women’s Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Curran likes beer and cats.