Go ahead and add 6th Street Withdrawal to the things they don’t tell you as you walk across that ceremony stage. Yes, this is becoming an epidemic as Texas Exes move away from their beloved ATX to a place where 6 St. only exists in their dreams. The best thing you can do is spot the symptoms early and plan an impromptu trip to Austin to get a quick fix.
- Denial: Yay you’ve graduated, onto bigger and better things…colleague happy hours, professional mixers, and yes older men with money. You tell yourself: “No way am I gonna miss trecking up and down dirty 6th to find what bar tab is still going on.” You think you’re over the whole waiting till 2:45 a.m. to finally get in a cab or brave the stampede to the ebus. WRONG - You are in denial honey.
- Confusion: You’ve started to settle into your new Real World surroundings. (FYI: might not be totally acceptable to be on a first name basis with all the bartenders and bouncers at your new grown-up hangouts.) But wait, this can’t be right. How is it that people aren’t dancing on the bars, taking body shots, and falling on the ground wasted. What is this new world that you’ve entered where people stay picture ready all night and wake up remembering every detail. UH OH- The confusion is creeping in.
- Preoccupation: So your nights out aren’t all you thought they were cracked up to be. You turn to consuming yourself with work, that way there will be no time for your mind to start wandering into those unforgettable 6th St. memories. Now begins juggling the the trio of technology (mac book- cell phone- ipad) to keep entertained. When all that fails, you turn to meaningless hobbies such as knitting, scrapbooking, and yes blogging. THIS IS NOT THE ANSWER- preoccupying yourself with other things will only work for so long.
- Insomnia: For four years you survived on 3 hours of sleep to make it to those 8 a.m.’s , but now that you are in the real world your getting way too much sleep. You find yourself laying in bed until 4 a.m. trying to preoccupy yourself with the new founds hobbies, but one can only knit for so long. Late night television becomes your new best friend. Too bad Sue Johnson from Talk Sex with Sue doesn’t live in the same town. Surely she would know how to have a fun time. ON COMES THE INSOMNIA.
- Paranoia: The lack of sleep can only lead to one thing, BRING ON THE PARANOIA. You start regretting that group text you set up before you left. Are your friends trying to drive you into depression with their live texting from 6th Street? FOMO [ Fear-of-missing-out] is setting in, a term coined by the Villas Girls who collectively have the best expertise on 6th Street. Every call, text, and tweet seems like all of Austin is throwing it in our face how much fun you are missing out on. NO ONE CARES THAT MUCH- you’re just being paranoid.
- Hallucinations: You have officially hit rock bottom. You don’t go out anymore because it doesn’t measure up to the times you used to have. You are a certified homebody spending nights alone watching late night trashy tv and blogging what you think are just THE BEST posts. You are convinced all your friends are out to get you and then things start getting weird. You start hearing “TONIGHT I’M LOVING YOU” while presenting to some clients and have to stop yourself from breaking out in a fist pump. On the bus ride home you are convinced the smell of Ropollos Pizza had to be coming from somewhere. That bum at the street corner has that uncanny resemblance to Leslie . NONE OF IT’S REAL- The hallucinations have started and the only cure is an immediate trip to 6th with all of your friends. Go to all of your favorite spots and stay out as long as you can, because when you go home the cycle will start all over again.
*Special thanks to my friend Bray who helped diagnose the steps of withdrawal I was going through AND the VILLAS GIRLS for bringing my attention to FOMO.