Tuesday, December 27, 2011

John Cougar Mellencamp Got It Wrong

For Christmas, my wonderful parents bought me an iPad, a great gift that I can use at home and at work, and that very conveniently fits in my purse.  Most importantly, it gives me 24/7 access to books, so that I can be an even more shameless book worm.  The first book I bought on my iPad was Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), a book I've been wanting to read for about a month now.  I started reading it on Sunday night, after all the Christmas festivities came to an end, and I finished it last night.  I'm sad to say I didn't know much about Mindy Kaling before reading the book, except that she was Kelly Kapoor on The Office, and I love her character.

Since finishing the book, I have become convinced that Mindy and I would be best friends if we knew each other.  She is awesome.  On top of being awesome, I kept finding myself agreeing with so many things she said in the book.  If I were ever on one of those "make a wish come true" reality shows for being a super dedicated, young teacher, I would totally make my wish to spend the day with Mindy.  We would browse the Gilt Group app on our cell phones, looking for great deals on great clothes, and she would tell great jokes while I struggled to come up with witty and smart comebacks.....Anyway, I digress....

I think the main reason I loved her book is because Mindy Kaling loves her career.  So many women in Hollywood write memoirs about their love lives or their broken childhoods or their falls from grace, but Mindy wrote about her real, normal, pretty well-adjusted life.  She wrote about her successes and her failures with a funny, frank honesty that I found so endearing, because it is real life.  Here's some "real talk" that I think serves as important reminders for people my age (including me):

John Cougar Mellencamp got it wrong.  Very few people are like Jack and Diane.  And if your "thrill of living" is gone at eighteen, then you are headed for a long, miserable existence.  I enjoyed high school, but I did not have a "Jack and Diane" high school experience.  I studied hard, had a great group of friends who also studied hard, and went to an all-girl's high school, where people cared about their GPA and class rank more than hanging out at the Tastee Freeze.  I did spend a sizable amount of time sitting at Sonics and hanging out in parking lots, but I must say that I am glad I have grown out of the "loitering" stage of socialization. I am convinced that the best is yet to come.

Marriage is tough.  In the book, Mindy talks about the ratio of "happily divorced" to "happily married" couples she knows.  I feel like I know a lot of people who are recently married, getting married, or engaged (especially after the recent holidays), and I am thrilled that they have found love and happiness.  Marriage sounds scary to me, though.  It's a life long commitment, and I have a hard time deciding which brand of hummus to buy at the grocery store to last me one week.  I want to, someday, have a long, happy marriage like my parents.  But for now, I am going to concentrate simply on the task of taking care of myself.

It's cool to love your job.  Like I said, my favorite thing about this book was that you could just tell that Mindy Kaling is passionate about, and good at, what she does.  I want to be like that about my job for a long time.  I want to like my job and be excited to go to school everyday and be creative in the way I teach.  I think "work excitement" can be applicable to any career, whether you're a teacher, a writer, or anything else. People, myself included, LOVE to complain about work--example, Post-Grad Problems on Twitter.  But, let's be real, the best way to get through the day is to make lemonade with those lemons, unless you are already highly successful at whining on Twitter, that is.  I, however, have to take the high road, because I am not naturally witty or funny in small snippets.  Anyway, I get it Mindy.  I like my job, too.

So these are a few of my favorite things.  I am crazy about a book that makes me think, especially if it makes me laugh at the same time, and this book made me do that.  I am still considering whether or not to mention Mindy Kaling when I post this to Twitter and dream about the small chance that she might read it and enjoy it.  You know, every girl can dream.  I hope you, too, had a wonderful Christmas with your family and got an awesome gift from your parents.  Happy New Year.  Time to work on those resolutions, folks!

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