My name is Jarid, and before we begin, there are two things you should know about me.
One, I am not normal.
Now, I'm not talking like use your skin to make a lampshade weird. Less "It puts the lotion on its skin," and more of a warped way of looking at the world.
Some examples: I'm glad Hooch died at the end of the movie, saving him would only have made the story unrealistic. On the topic of dogs, I don't think you should get a day off work when your dog dies. Look, I understand how special Peanut Butter, Flappyjacks or Mr. BubbyYumYums was to you and you need time to mourn, but take a personal day. Bereavement leave is reserved for the deceased who could actually articulate - using words - that they loved you.
Yet the most troubling proof of my oddity for me is that I have recently come to realize that what I believe I know about women, and what I actually know about women, are more incompatible than Paris Hilton and a baby-sitting career.
I always believed that at 25, I would know more about life, about myself and most importantly, about the opposite sex.
Life at 25 is much like life limbo. Everything is in the process, but not quite achieved. Got a career path, but just started the trail. Have long-term goals, but haven't accomplished any, unless you count the one about fitting 16 large marshmallows in my mouth at once and still being able to scream "Fluffy Bunny!"
Yet the worst part about limbo is dealing with everyone else who wants to help you out of it. Older relatives telling you how to get ahead, single friends encouraging you to hit on girls out of your league and the marriage Mafia. Oh yes, the marriage Mafia, that one friend every single person has who gets married and becomes a marketer of monogamy. A crusader of commitment. A pusher of pairing.
I never imagined this is where I would be or what I would be doing at 25. In fact, there were several bets made that I wouldn't even make it to this age. (My dad still owes me $20, showed him.)
I look to pop culture and my friends as the gauge to where I should be, only to be disappointed in how vastly inferior I look.
Beyonce's 25 and has five Grammys. Athletics pitcher Huston Street was rookie of the year last year and hasn't seen 25 candles on his cake. Actress Kirsten Dunst is only 24 and the Olsen twins (per my agreement with a higher power) are still 19.
Yet the worst part isn't the limbo or the societal expectations, it's watching everyone else move past it. Ex-lovers getting married and getting pregnant. Friends growing successful in their endeavors and advancing their careers.
At work, I am the last single male in my department. At home I'm the only one there, and at restaurants I am usually "Jarid, Party of One."
But in an area brimming with ways to amuse and distract myself, it seems stupid not to take advantage of it. Why not enjoy the fruits of Lake Tahoe, the college nightlife of Reno and what I believe to be the best sushi ever, right here in Carson City.
Through my Jarid-colored glasses, I hope to take my struggles, embarrassments, ideas, revelations and achievements and share them. The idea is to offer camaraderie to the single, provide understanding to the marriage Mafia and allow you to remember your own stories of being single and 25.
As I work my way through life limbo in search of the other side, there are going to be some memorable stories and it would be a shame for me not to share mine or to hear yours.
Care to join me?
For those of you paying attention, the other thing you should know about me is I hate tomatoes. It's not particularly relevant, I'm just not a fan and thought you should know.
• Jarid Shipley is a reporter for the Nevada Appeal. Contact him a email@example.com or 881-1217. You can share your stories, or thoughts on his, online on his blog at www.nevadaappeal.com.