I spent the last 7 years thinking you just couldn't find cottage cheese in Germany. Turns out, I just had the incorrect translation for it and have been unknowingly staring at it like a damn idiot in grocery stores all over this country for years. Shut up, I never even once claimed to be intelligent.
Speaking of cottage cheese - quite the segue, I know - you know the "Best by" date printed on the top of any given grocery item to let you know the date by which you should have consumed said item? Well, fun fact, in German it's called the "Mindesthaltbarkeitsdatum." Yup, that's one word. 24 letters. Almost the entire English alphabet. One. Word. Can someone PLEASE remind me why I decided that THIS was the language I wanted to learn? Bc at the moment, I have no idea. I mean, the fresh bakery pretzels are almost worth it in and of themselves... but I digress.
Now if you'll bear with me on this weird psychological tangent for a moment... the idea of the "Best by" date perforates most aspects of our lives, particularly as women - somehow men are perceived as always having more "time" bc gender bias runs rampant but that's a post for another time. There is an age by which we are supposed to finish our schooling, find a job, find a partner, have kids, and even retire. We all have a "Best by" date hovering over our heads like a proverbial hourglass from the moment we're born. You don't learn to walk by the time you're 1? Too late. Couldn't read yet when you were 7? Pathetic. Didn't graduate college by the time you were 22? How sad for you. No career by the time you're 23? Wow. No life partner by 25? Depressing. You're already 30 with no kids? Enjoy being barren. You're life isn't perfect by 40? Guess you're screwed. No retirement by 55? Sucks for you. These are the numbers by which we live our lives. And in all honesty, they're complete bullshit. There is no rule that dictates when or how your life should happen. There should be no proverbial "Best by" date creeping over your shoulder making you question your every move and doubt yourself at every turn.
I am 23 years old. According to the checklist provided by society, I'm doing alright. Graduated college at 21. Big kid job by 22 (which I quit). Traveled to 25 countries by 23. Sounds great on paper. But what if I don't want anything to do with the stuff that's expected of me at 25? Or 30? Or even 40? My life is my own and I have no intention of leading it with the goal of pleasing anyone but myself. The proverbial hourglass and its societal expectations can screw off. I woke up in Germany this morning. Today is going to be a good day. And to be honest, that's all I really care about. Do I have some vague semblance of a plan on how I want my life to turn out? Sure. Am I fully aware that plans almost NEVER come to fruition bc life has a tendency to get in the way? Absolutely. But am I someone who will accept anything less than what I know I deserve? No. So when life gives me lemons.... Fuck that. I want orange juice. So I'll make it myself.
About the Author
Mouth like a sailor, great lacker of empathy, paper cut survivor, avid arguer, harsh critic of people who put clothes on their pets, easily distracte
USA, Mexico, Iceland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Malta, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, England, Poland, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Scotland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Greece
The Baltic countries,
if Covid allows for it (Latvia, Estonia, maybe a stop in Finland)
(in August in the US)