Introduction: welcome to twentysomething life
In a nutshell, being twentysomething means you are only concerned with two things: trying to get laid and trying not to get laid off. It also means that, for a while, birthdays become much less important. Shortly after I turned twenty-four, I realized what a meaningless milestone it was. After all, turning nineteen is a big deal because it's your last year as a teenager and your twentieth birthday is important because it's the beginning of your twenties. And at twenty-one, you are, at long last, legal. But from twenty-two to twenty-four, not much happens. Once you get past your "I wish I was still in college phase," you sort of get into a groove for a few years and refuse to look ahead. Then all of a sudden your twenty-fifth birthday comes along and all hell breaks loose. Next thing you know you're engaged and living in the suburbs spending your weekends at Crate & Barrel shopping for placemats. But before you hit the big Two-Five, your early twenties can be some of the most carefree and amazing years of your life. In fact, if your adolescence can be described as the "Wonder Years," then I say that ages twenty-two, twenty-three, and twenty-four deserve to get their own name too -- the "Whatever Years."
But before I take you on this journey through my Whatever Years, I must first take you back to where it all began. In September 1997, as a hard-partying freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, I began writing emails filled with anecdotes and observations about college life to twenty of my high school buddies. By the time I graduated four years later, those emails had spawned a regular column with over 11,000 subscribers around the world. Within a year, I had published Ruminations on College Life, a compilation of those emails, and began a new column called "RUMINATIONS." The new column picked up where the book left off, detailing my evolution from frat boy to manhood and following my adventures as a single twentysomething in New York City. By the time I reached my twenty-fifth birthday in the summer of 2004, I had nearly 40,000 subscribers worldwide, all stemming from those twenty friends from high school. This book is a compilation of the best of "RUMINATIONS" as well as brand-new, previously unpublished material.
At the end of Ruminations on College Life, I asked the question, "Is there life after college?" This book is my answer. The Whatever Years officially begin upon graduation, which is a strange and unique time because you are all of a sudden living in the gap between college and marriage, between zero responsibility and total responsibility. A lot of people start freaking out. But I'll help you get through it. Each chapter in this book represents a different facet of twentysomething life as seen through the eyes of a recovering frat boy. But bear in mind, nowhere in this book will you find any practical advice. You won't learn to cook or find a job or get a date. Why? Because I have no idea how to do those things either. What you will learn is that you are not alone, that your early twenties are surprisingly like mine, and that there's no reason to start freaking out -- you'll figure everything out as you go along. So whether you're twentysomething now, fondly looking back at your Whatever Years, or warily looking ahead to them, I hope you will read my book and laugh out loud. Is there life after college? Hell yeah, and there's not a placemat in sight.
Copyright © 2005 by Aaron Karo