slubs in the city

Slub (adj): Maverick; unorthodox; independent in behavior or thought.


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a field guide to understanding your introvert: PART ONE.

Do you have a friend, relative, spouse, and/or companion that you suspect of being an introvert? Are you a self-described extrovert that desires guidance in navigating the inner workings of your more reflective mates (we humans are such funny and complex creatures, aren’t we)? Please, take a moment – preferably a quiet moment, I know you can do it – to sample this first part of a comprehensive field guide to the introvert, compiled entirely from the author’s own enlightened, first-hand experience with this most subdued of sub-species*.

a wild introvert in her natural state, as depicted by Hyperbole and a Half. fascinating.

1. Alone time ≠ social reject in 9 out of 10 cases of introverts. Did your introvert excuse himself from going with you to a raucous party? Do not worry. He is not being a flake (most likely). Gently remind him that he would probably have fun, because after all, people like him and he likes people. If he still politely deflects your social aspirations, fret not – he simply needs to recharge his battery in peace. In no time at all he’ll be ready to fist pump and white-boy dance with the best of them.

Note: If you decide to go to the party without your introvert, do not be too upset when he texts you later explaining that he made a mistake in staying in and that you were right, he wants to rage. He is only human after all. Permit yourself a sigh and then continue with your life – tension’s no fun.

2. Do try to censor yourself a bitin this way, you’ll be extending the same courtesy to your introvert that she is likely showing to you. Are you trying to bounce a thought off your introvert? If she isn’t saying much, it’s not necessarily because she’s bored or mute or finds you to be moronic (although, to be safe, don’t always rule these options out). Rather, it is highly likely that she’s been internally weighing the value of her thoughts and opinions, and is very precisely sifting through all of her possible comments to present you with the best imaginable response. Value the effort that goes into such internal processing, even if you cannot fathom it.

Note: Understand, extroverted partner, that most often she finds your extraordinary external communication abilities to be endearing and will concede that you often help her to think outside the box. Sometimes, however, you must realize that she genuinely believes that 95% of the words spewing volcanically from your mouth are complete crap and should have remained as mere thoughts in your head.

3. Be thoughtful when pulling your introvert unwillingly into a social situation if he has not placed himself there of his own accord. For example, are you a college professor that subscribes to the Socratic method of conversational learning and requires each of your students to speak at least once a class period, or risk a lower grade? If so, your introverted students do not think you are brilliant and in fact do not care much for you at all. Just so you know.

Note: The author of this field guide has a very large amount of respect for college professors and their mammoth, unenviable task of teaching all students regardless of learning style.

Updated note: The author of this field guide admittedly would have preferred not to have spent money learning from one or two of her college professors. There – that’s my one contribution to today’s discussion. Enjoy.

4. Exercise control over your facial expressions when reacting to your introvert. Yes, it is very likely that she will interact with her world in ways that you don’t understand, but there is no need for ridiculous displays of guffawing or eyebrow-raising. Suppose you are telling your introvert about a movie that you’d like to see with a group of friends, and she mentions that she’s seen that movie and enjoyed it immensely. You were not aware that she’d been to the theater lately, so you ask who she went to see the film with. When she responds, “I didn’t go with anyone. It’s fun to go to the movies on your own, you know,” do not stare blankly at her in confusion. She will not appreciate your judgment. Just smile and nod, even though you could think of about a zillion other things that would be more fun than going to the movies by yourself.

Note: In the name of science, the author of this field guide recommends that you try going to the theater alone at least once in your life. You may even become addicted to the freedom you gain when you realize you don’t have to share your popcorn with anyone.

5. Remove your introvert to a quieter environment when he becomes cranky and no longer finds your off-color Apples to Apples word pairings even remotely amusing. It is likely that he is feeling fatigued by being “on” in a given social setting for a long period of time, and would appreciate a moment in a less stimulating atmosphere (SEE point 1, above). On the other hand, it is recommended that you likewise allow your introvert to help you relax a bit – it’s not always essential for the extrovert to set his or her life meter to Kenyan Runner Warp Speed. Your introvert is a thoughtful, reflective, intuitive and empathetic being; just as you help them to find quiet when they become insufferably bitchy, so too must they aid you in becoming less of a preachy loudmouth.

Note: If your introvert is in need of some alone time but is stubbornly refusing to leave the party, drop the issue and go back to your Apples to Apples witticisms. Being an ass is not a hallmark of the introverted soul – it is simply an indication that your introvert is also (albeit temporarily) an ass. Take heed and proceed with caution. And remember, extrovert, sometimes you can be an ass too.

And now — A Field Guide to Understanding Your Introvert: PART TWO.

–shan

*The author of this field guide would like to concede that, as a social scientist, she is fully aware that not all introverts uniformly act in the above stated manner, nor that all extroverts exhibit egregiously insane social tendencies. The author of this field guide would also like the reader of this field guide to approach all commentary with a sense of humor. Thank you.

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taylor swift ain’t got nothin’ on this love story.

If I approached my love life like popular culture suggests a woman my age typically does, I’d realize that it’s probably time for me to dump my boyfriend and try out a few drunk, crazy, liberating one-night stands. I’m 24 and I live in a big city (although Minneapolis holds nary a candle to NYC), so I guess that means I should really relate to the romantic trials and tribulations of the characters in Girls on a very deep and intimate level.

Except that I don’t relate to those characters, any more than I can relate to Lena Dunham, the media-proclaimed “voice of [my] generation”. Ms. Dunham is an incredibly talented artist who has managed to capture the story of a particular youth subculture in an effective and entertaining way, and who has fortunately made a living from doing so. But Ms. Dunham’s story isn’t my story.

okay, so i guess i can relate to these girls in one way — i’ve totally taken a fake laugh group photo before. awkward. [image credit: here.]

I frequently browse the New York Times’ column Modern Love, a series of articles submitted by big- and small-time authors alike that aims to holistically reflect on the meaning of love as it is understood in our day and age. The submitted articles are sometimes uplifting, sometimes painful; they are all candid, and for the most part do not boast to reveal anything more than a subjective experience with one of humanity’s most basic and primal emotions.

Yesterday, while perusing Modern Love, I stumbled across an article written by a man who, four or so years ago, was a senior in college. His submission, titled “Let’s Not Get to Know Each Other Better”, is well written, witty, and in many ways a fairly accurate glimpse into what it means to be a 20something navigating the social scene with other 20somethings. Musing on his colorful dating history, Mr. Walkowski asserts, “For my generation, friendship often morphs into a sexual encounter and then reverts to friendship the next day. And it’s easy as long as you don’t put yourself on the line or try too hard. Don’t have a prospect? Check Facebook. Afraid to call? Text.”

And therein lies the problem: I am part of your generation, Mr. Walkowski, but your love story is not my love story.

My brief and arguably vanilla history of amour includes a handful of dates, a couple of fantasy courtships that existed and played out entirely in my head (I’m looking at you Joseph Gordon-Levitt), one short summer fling, and one very long relationship. I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 18, and in the six years since that relatively embarrassing but forever memorable occurrence, I have only kissed one other person. If hookup culture is actually a thing, I wouldn’t know – in fact, I’m still not exactly sure what all the term “hookup” implies.

jgl

zooey deschanel may have passed you up, but i never will, JGL. just so you know. [image credit: here.]

Regardless of my own lack of experience, I don’t believe that my peers’ ability to love casually, freely and openly can be easily classified as either a bad or a good thing. It just is. We have a myriad of ways to find someone to date, and relatively few social taboos that regulate how we go about dating that/those person(s)  in a manner that fulfills our needs. We all have so very much love to give, in a variety of shapes and flavors and colors and forms, and it would be tragic if that love were confined exclusively and selectively to one other individual for the duration of our short and unique lives. It is not my place to judge the way you love, just as it is not your place to judge the way I go about achieving the same dream.

Still, my love story can’t be tracked according to Taylor Swift’s biggest hits.

it’s okay t-swift. you just do your thing. [image credit: here.]

Neither, however, can it be defined solely by the man who has shaped my notion of love for the past eight years.

I know that there are couples among us who were high school sweethearts, who have only ever dated each other, who got married when they were barely into their twenties even though people told them they were “too young” and are still together and in love. There are people who instinctively know, upon first meeting someone, that they will marry that person – even if they don’t know much else. Some teenagers meet their one big love as a freshman in college and are done forevermore with the entire dating game. I’m aware that this kind of ell-encompassing romantic attachment exists because I’ve read about it, over and over, in its countless iterations and manifestations. I’ve also been fortunate enough to witness the beginnings of big life love in at least one of my very dear friends, and it has been inspiring and comforting for me to watch her grow as a woman in such an environment of commitment alongside her partner in crime.

It’s quite possible that I met The One when I was a socially awkward 15-year-old and sat near him in AP English. Tomorrow he could choose to put a ring on it or to break my heart and move on, and that uncertainty keeps me on my toes more often that I would currently like it to. But in the end I know that my love story can’t be explained by an episode of Sex in the City any more than it can be summed up by a Nicholas Sparks novel.

And to me, that’s the very point of modern love.

If we all love differently, then no one relationship is “right” – which means that, for all the movies and poems and articles and novels and artwork and songs and plays composed about love, none of us really has any idea what we’re doing. We need shows like Girls and the Modern Love column to help us process our own feelings and emotions related to love, because our desire to create and maintain affectionate relationships – in their dizzying variety of forms – is what compels us, in part, to move forward with our lives. But we can’t assume that we’ve learned everything there is to learn about love simply by viewing another’s experience, nor can we pretend that our own knowledge on love can even come close to fully conceptualizing the idea.

My love cannot be contained within a sociological oversimplification of the way my generation functions. Neither can yours.

Isn’t that an amazingly freeing idea?

Sometimes I think about all that I could experience if I played the field, dated around, met new and exciting people to share my life with. Sometimes I get jealous of my friends who are engaged or married, and wonder if there’s something wrong with my own relationship. But when I’m feeling restless, it’s helpful for me to remember: wrong or right, my love story is my own.

For the record, I think I’ll stick with my current catch. He’s pretty fantastic. Unless you’re reading this, Joseph Gordon-Levitt…in which case, we should talk.

con amor,

shan


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hey you. stand up and vote.

This morning, a friend of mine posted the following status update on Facebook:

“While waiting in line to vote, the father in front of me was explaining to his precocious 6-yr-old why only adults were allowed to vote and why it’s important. He said voting is our most important act as a citizen. It is a privilege and is one of the most freeing things we can do in the US. Wise father.”

Both the father in her story and my friend are completely right. Participating in our democratic process is a privilege, one that many Americans are correctly taking advantage of today.

VOTE TODAY. [image credit: here.]

Here are some interesting statistics about the 2010 election, for your pleasure*:

  • In 2010, 41.8% of the voting-age population reported having voted in the election. Interestingly, 59.8% reported having registered to vote.
  • More women than men reported having voted in the 2010 election – 42.7% to 40.9%.
  • 69-year-olds were the most likely of any other age to vote in the 2010 election; a full 63.1% of them reported having cast a ballot on Election Day.
  • More New Englanders reported having voted in 2010 (48.2%) than any other geographic region in the country.
  • 58.4% of Maine’s citizens reported having voted in the 2010 election, the highest turnout of any other state that year. Only 31.4% of Texans reported making it to the polls, representing the lowest turnout rate of any state that year.

During the 2008 election – with the presidency contested between Barack Obama and John McCain – voter trends reflected a more responsive citizenry.

  • 58.2% of Americans reported voting in the 2008 election.
  • Same news on the gender front, though: 55.7% of males reported having voted, while 60.4% of women participated in Election Day.
  • The age group that was most likely to vote during the 2008 election? 77-year-olds (at 72.8%). If a 77-year-old can get to their polling place, you can too. No excuses.
  • During this election cycle, more citizens from the West North Central region (65.9%) reported having voted than any other geographical region. Exactly which states comprise the West North Central region, you ask? I have no idea.
  • More Minnesotans (70.8%) reported turning out on Election Day in 2008 than any other state. Take that Maine. Meanwhile, in Hawaii, only 46.8% of the population reported having voted, presumably because they were enjoying lounging around in the warm tropical breezes that Minnesotans could only bitterly dream of in November.

We tend to think of our right to vote as a hallmark of the American experience, but representative democracy hasn’t always been egalitarian in our country’s voting history. In 1776, John Adams – a signer of the Declaration of Independence and 2nd President of the United States – held the following beliefs about popular enfranchisement:

“…It is dangerous to open so fruitful a source of controversy and altercation as would be opened by attempting to alter the qualifications of voters; there will be no end to it. New claims will arise; women will demand the vote; lads from 12 to 21 will think their right not enough attended to; and every man who has not a farthing, will demand an equal voice with any other, in all acts of state. It tends to confound and destroy all distinctions, and prostrate all ranks to one common level.”

Strong words, Adams.

Despite our 2nd President’s warning, in the century following the Civil War, a variety of Amendments were passed which allowed for the broader enfranchisement of a significant portion of American society.

  • In 1870, the 15th Amendment guaranteed to black men 21 years or older the right to vote.
  • In 1920, the 19th Amendment granted women’s suffrage.
  • The 23rd Amendment allowed for citizens living in the District of Columbia to vote in presidential elections as of 1961.
  • The 24th Amendment, ratified in 1964, prohibited the use of poll taxes and allowed all voting-age citizens the right to a free vote.
  • In 1971, the 26th Amendment expanded the right to vote to citizens aged 18 or older.

It has taken us a long, long time to establish the right to vote as it is currently appreciated in America. As a citizen of this country, it is your duty, your freedom and your responsibility to participate in the electoral process. The polls are still open – please make sure that you cast your vote today!

If you’re still uncertain where your polling place is located, visit this link for important Election Day information: http://www.vote411.org/.

con amor,

shan

*Voting trend data for the 2010 and 2008 elections can be found at the United States Census Bureau’s Voting and Registration website.


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slub of the week: Random Image Searchers

I really like to know about pretty much everything that goes on in the world.

That’s why I love that WordPress has an entire section devoted to detailed and minute site statistics. I check that baby every day. And let me tell you, I have learned some very interesting things about the people who stumble across slubsinthecity.

For instance, based on the image searches that lead you to click on a photo from our blog, I have learned that you all really like miniature pigs. Our top two most-visited posts were written by the amazingly talented Kathryn, a fellow slub, and both extol the numerous virtues of the miniature pig. (Check out those posts here and here.)

You also really like Tex Mex. I completely understand.

So it is you, Random Image Searchers, who have been honored with the Slub of the Week award. Congratulations! Even though you don’t like to use capitalization, punctuation, proper grammar or correct spelling when you type in your image searches, you have provided me with countless minutes of entertainment and for that I am thankful. Please accept a hearty pat on the back and a light dose of highly constructive criticism from me as your reward.

In order to highlight your more prolific life choices, I have decided to list my top 10 favorite search terms that have guided you through the rabbit hole to slubsinthecity. They are listed in no particular order (although the more I think about it, #6 is quickly becoming a personal favorite). Thank you for your incidental patronage.

[The number of people who have typed a particular term into any given search engine and have somehow landed on this blog is placed in parenthesis next to the term itself.]

1. smack the slubby (1)

I don’t know what this means, nor do I ever want to learn what it means.

2. what is slub cotton why is it everywhere (1)

According to dictionary.com, slub cotton is a loosely twisted roll of fiber prepared for spinning. Additionally, a “slub” refers to a slight irregularity in yarn produced either accidentally or purposely by knotting or twisting, or by including uneven lengths of fiber in spinning. In slubsinthecity terms, slub cotton may also describe a slubs’ clothing choice (examples of slub cotton are stretchy pants, sweatpants, sweatshirts, and flannel shirts).

And it’s not everywhere – you’re just being overdramatic.

3. cute miniature baby piglets that are real with the name bella in the back round.of the pig (2)

This is the most incredibly detailed search slubsinthecity has yet to see. It also sort of hurts my eyes. I can only assume that the same individual used it twice; otherwise, it is truly freakish that two separate people typed this exact term into a search engine and somehow both stumbled upon this blog.

4. pig in red rain boots not blurry (2)

I’m incredibly sorry that you’re both having such a hard time finding a high-resolution picture of a pig in red rain boots. I sympathize with how frustrating it can be to locate the image that you want in the vast ocean that represents internet photography, and I sincerely hope whichever picture you finally discovered was much more satisfactory than previous blurry photos of pigs in red rain boots. Find peace my friends.

5. tiny racing pigs with coats (2)

The three most important questions here are: can tiny pigs actually race against each other, or are their tiny legs incapable of such competition? Also, would racing in a coat prove too cumbersome and impede your chances of winning the tiny pig race? And finally, did you mean to suggest that we are all simply tiny racing pigs with coats in this grand illusion called life, or were you two really just hoping to find an image of swine scurrying around in unnecessary clothing?

6. moroccan tagine exploded (2)

I really hope that your Moroccan tagine didn’t actually explode. That would be heartbreaking.

7. mex-tex food (2)

…so close. Please improve your comprehension of fine cuisine and come back later.

8. minicher pigs (3); also minicher pig (6)

It makes me sad to know that 9 people in this world misspell the word “miniature”. I apologize, but you are no longer allowed to visit this blog.

9. sexy piglet (4); also mini pig sexy (4)

No guys. Just no.

10. bacon pig in rain boots (5)

What does a bacon pig in rain boots look like? My assumption is that once a pig becomes bacon, it no longer has feet and thus has no need for boots.

UPDATE: I typed “bacon pig in rain boots” into google. This is the first image that popped up:

oh em gee. pig in boots. [image credit: here.]

That is not yet bacon. That is a picture of what is still very much a pig wearing absolutely adorable green rain boots.

Nevertheless, congratulations again, Random Image Searchers, on being named the Slub of the Week. You guys are weird.

con amor,

shan


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baby in a pumpkin suit.

I’m a huge fan of dressing up in costume for any and every occasion, minus the Renaissance Festival. I have never done that, and I don’t believe my life is any bit the worse for it.

Here is a random sampling of past costumes.

80’s night at the bar.

arrested development party. tobias (duh), rita, lindsay, and lucille.

harry potter midnight premier. sirius, hedwig, and fawkes.

religious figures party. buddy shanus (i am my own religious figure…the spanish inquisition would love that) and michael jackson.

parks and recreation party. ben, jerry (that’s a damn fly party shirt), tom, and ron.

dressed up for the Enlightenment Salon junior year of high school. lookin’ fly.

So imagine my delight when Halloween eventually rolls around and I have yet another excuse to pretend to be something I’m clearly not. This year, I dressed up as a zebra and was part of a 5-woman zebra herd. Contrary to general trends in women’s Halloween costuming, I was not a sexy zebra. This is because zebras are not sexy. In fact, zebras kind of resemble donkeys and donkeys are definitely not the lookers of the animal kingdom.

zebra in the middle of grazing on a twizzler.

Another thing that I love almost as much as dressing up in ridiculous costumes is The History Channel’s website. In fine fashion, they’ve been putting out videos and articles and photo slides and infographics galore about the tradition of Halloween, from when it supposedly started as a Celtic celebration called Samhain to its current family-friendly form.

According to THC, the custom of dressing up for Halloween could come from a few historical practices. For example, during the Samhain festival, partygoers would disguise themselves in various ways to make their true identities indistinguishable. The thought was that malevolent spirits wouldn’t know who you were if you didn’t look like yourself, and would thus be less likely to mess with you. Today, some women dress like farmer zombies in flannel and overalls to achieve the same repelling effect on men. Other girls don’t quite get the point.

wut is this. [image credit: here.]

Another popular thought is that the costume idea stems from a practice called “guising”, where young children in the UK would get dressed up and go from door to door, accepting treats (such as food, coins, or wine [alas, it was much easier for a 9-year-old to get drunk back in the good old days]) in exchange for entertainment. When I was a senior at Olaf I went trick-or-treating with some of the international students in Northfield. One of the neighbors wouldn’t give us candy unless we sang Beautiful Savior, which is a hymn any good Ole should have memorized by heart. I didn’t know it. I would have failed at guising.

On Wednesday night I am going to be sitting on my front porch, decked out in my zebra onesie, with a jack- o’-lantern at my side and a huge bowl of candy on my lap. I’m very much hoping that I’ll see a few children running around dressed up as dinosaurs and princesses and Spider Man. A baby in a pumpkin costume would also be acceptable.

definitely yes. [image credit: here.]

None of that above paragraph was intended in any way to imply that I am a creeper.

What is your favorite Halloween guise?

con amor,

shan

[Additional photo credits: muh freendz and muh instagramz.]


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oh queen anne, my queen anne

I found this table at an antique store in Rosemount, and I’m currently coveting it like mad.

It’s an expandable Queen Anne.

It comes with 6 black, high top chairs that only match the table if you have a vaguely eclectic aesthetic taste.

And the fantastic textile on the chairs pulls the look of the entire set together in a surprising way.

It’s all very hipster vintage. I can picture it sitting elegantly in my future dining room with a rug underfoot – maybe bright red? – and a vase of freshly cut flowers. My gut was telling me to impulse-buy the hell out of that table and chairs.

And then reason stepped in.

The summer before my senior year of college I landed an internship that required me to become baseline financially literate. I read a couple of different books to build up my minimal financial knowledge, but the one that most caught my attention was All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi. The authors’s recommendation for navigating your financial life is simple — get your money in balance. They advocate the 50/30/20 plan, the breakdown of which is explained by this nifty pie chart:

[image credit: here.]

Being a single girl without a mortgage, children or even a dog, and (thanks entirely to my very selfless parents) living a debt-free lifestyle, it’s been relatively easy to stick with the 50/30/20 plan. In all honestly, though, I’m more ready to give credit to my own ignorance for that success than I am to thank my limited financial understanding.

Proof in point: instead of pouncing on that dining set from the antique store, I made myself walk away so I could sleep on my decision. I also decided to balance my monthly spending plan (which I haven’t done since…July, maybe?…) and see how much money I have left to play around with.

To date, I’m in the red $66.14. And I don’t get paid for another 4 days.

I don’t know about you, but when I think about spending money I get tripped up on the scientific difference between a “want” and a “need”.

Here is a list of things I DESPERATELY NEED that would probably only qualify as wants if I was cold-hearted and had absolutely no material desires.

  • The hipster vintage dining room set of my hipster vintage dreams
  • Every piece of clothing that J Crew and Banana Republic has ever manufactured in the history of ever
  • A vacation to Scotland to be with my ginger-haired brethren
  • The new iPhone 5 because I am privileged and think my iPhone 3 is a waste of technology
  • A sassy pair of brown leather boots

Here is a list of the things that I actually do need in my life.

  • A completely new set of tires for my car
  • Enough cash to pay for upcoming birthday, wedding and holiday gifts
  • Renter’s insurance
  • Food from the actual grocery store
  • A check to pay back my mom after having freeloaded on her auto insurance policy and cell phone plan for the last four months

How do you find a balance between addressing your priorities and indulging in your precious life to its fullest? How do you go about making sure that your money provides you with the opportunity to choose, rather than with the limitations of choice? Some days, I think I may be starting to get it. Other days I realize that I really have no idea.

I still want the table and chairs.

con amor,

shan

UPDATE: Yep…I bought the table and chairs. That happened.

[Additional photo credit: My kickass instagram skillz.]


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interesting. mclovin appears to be more successful than i.

Some rare days, I’m quite productive. Earlier this week I went to work and contributed my thoughts and talents to the greater Thrivent good, and then I went home to drop off my dry cleaning, go grocery shopping, clean my room, and pay a dental bill. And then I rewarded myself for showing some initiative by watched the Bachelorette.

First, if you would like to understand why I watch this show, I will refer you to this post as it explains my feelings about the entire Bachelor(ette) franchise. And let’s not fool ourselves by pretending you don’t “occasionally” watch guilty pleasure trashy TV.

To acquaint the audience with the contestants on the Bachelorette (and undoubtedly force them into a subtle yet undeniable emotional connection to one contestant over another), the show’s producers regularly flash the name and age of each contestant being interviewed during their regular video diary session. At the beginning of the season, when viewers are still trying in vain to recognize any of the multitudes of faces on the show, the producers also display the occupation of each contestant.

This season of the Bachelorette introduced us to “One F” Jef Holm, who is vying for backwoods hoodrat Bachelorette Emily Maynard’s heart with a powerful hipster combination of skinny jeans, skateboard skills and a killer bouffant. A few years ago Jef founded his own social enterprise, People Water, which provides clean water to one person in need for every bottle of People Water sold. Jef is 27 and actively working to change the world.

basically true love. their individually perfect hair alone screams chemistry. [image credit: here.]

I find this depressing. Some days it’s very difficult for me to do simple things like brush my teeth or change out of my pajamas or crawl out of bed to eat lunch. But I have the rest of my life ahead of me to make a name for myself and my pajamas are more comfortable than business casual anyway.

Apparently, however, there are many people – I’m looking at you One F Jef – who get off on achieving big at a young age. And to them I say, with only the smallest amount of envy: hats off.  

5 notably accomplished young people:

  • Tatum O’Neil is the youngest person ever to win a competitive Academy Award, having received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1974 at the age of 10. By the time she was 23, O’Neil had been involved with 8 film productions.
  • Blaise Pascal discovered Pascal’s Theorem in 1639, at the age of 16. When he was 23, Pascal was busy conducting experiments with barrels to establish Pascal’s Law, also known as the principle of transmission of fluid-pressure.
  • William “Willie” Johnston is the youngest American to receive a Medal of Honor, earning the award in 1862 when he was cited as the only drummer boy to bring his instrument off the battlefield during the Seven Days Battles. Johnston was 11 at the time of the citation and 13 when he was presented with the Medal.
  • Joan of Arc played a folkloric role in aiding the French army to victory during the 1428-29 siege of Orléans, when she was about 17. This historic triumph paved the way for the July 1429 coronation of Charles VII. Two years later, at the age of 19, Joan was burned at the stake for heresy.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart“penned” his first musical composition, Andante in C for Keyboard, in early 1761, when he was 5. The piece was notated by his father, given his youth. At the age of 23, Mozart had composed over 300 of his eventual 626 musical works.

    one badass french peasant. [image credit: here.]

5 people whose accomplishments at the age of 23 represent the stuff my dreams are made of:

  • Orson Welles directed, narrated and starred in the infamous radio broadcast War of the Worlds, terrifying millions of listeners and landing him the cover of the May 9th, 1938 edition of Time – 3 days after his 23rd birthday.
  • Alexander Pope published one of his earliest poems, An Essay on Criticism, at the age of 23. The poem includes two still-famous lines: “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”, and “To err is human, to forgive is divine”. Behind Shakespeare and Tennyson, Pope is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.
  • Jane Austen had written initial or final drafts of three novels by the time she was 23 – including her two arguably most famous works, Sense and Sensibility (published in 1811) and Pride and Prejudice (published in 1813).
  • Jack Nicklaus is a professional golfer who won his first Masters Tournament in 1963 at the age of 23. Nicklaus holds the record for the most Masters won (claiming victory a total of six times) and for being the oldest winner of a Masters when he was 46.
  • Isabella I of Castille ascended to the Spanish throne of Castile and León in 1474 when she was 23. Along with her husband, Fedinand II, Isabella would go down in history for completing the reconquistaof the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslim kingdoms collectively known as Al-Andalus and for financing Christopher Colombus’ famous 1492 voyage.

    just convincin’ our terrified citizenry that aliens are attacking. nbd. [image credit: here.]

And for your pleasure, here are 10 modern-day 23 year olds who are more famous than you and I will ever be:

  1. Julianne Hough, dancer… and country music singer? And actress? Really Wikipedia? (born July 20th, 1988)
  2. Princess Beatrice of York, royal and first female in the line of succession…but fifth overall for the crown (born August 8th, 1988)
  3. Rupert Grint, Ron Weasley…er, actor (born August 24th, 1988)
  4. Candice Swanepoel, Victoria’s Secret model, like whatevs (born October 20th, 1988)
  5. Emma Stone, my personal favorite young actress(born November 6th, 1988 – one day before me, which puts my life in dismal perspective)
  6. Hayley Williams, lead singer of Paramore (born December 27th, 1988)
  7. Elizabeth Olsen, actress and apparently related to the more famous Olsen twins (born February 16th 1989)
  8. Chord Overstreet, trouty-mouth Gleek (born February 17th, 1989)
  9. Chris Brown, singer on many peoples’ shit list (born May 5th, 1989)
  10. Christopher Mintz-Plasse, only known as McLovin (born June 20th, 1989)

23-year-old, cute, spunky redhead — emma or shannon? you decide. [image credit: here.]

con amor,

shan