Carly Reilly | Millennial musings: Moving back to Manchester

When I moved home to my parents' house in Manchester last June, after travelling around Costa Rica for three weeks, I was nervous.

I was nervous because I didn't know what my life in Vermont would look like as a 20-something and because there were people who, based on the totality of these two decisions, thought they had a clear impression of the kind of person I am. The kind of millennial I am. You know, the kind that's laid-back and still totally immature because she got too many trophies as a kid and now can't hack it in "the real world." The kind that laments the advent of her adulthood even while she argues that it hasn't yet arrived because she's still only 23, for God's sake, and nothing really matters until you're 30. The kind that's juvenile, but still pretty fun to have a beer with.

The thing is, I'm nothing like that. I didn't like Costa Rica. It's full of the kinds of people who believe tattooing "pura vida" on their forearm counts as social protest and locally grown chia is the key to bringing down the man. And I never thought I'd move home to Manchester.

I've been waiting for my adult life to start since I had my first existential crisis at 8-years-old because Steve left Blue's Clues and life is ephemeral. In reality, however, moving to Vermont has been a great decision. It's afforded me time for the kind of professional exploration and productivity that can only come from having no rent and no social life. Unfortunately, it has also made me supremely not fun to grab a beer with.

One time someone tried, for example, I ended up in a corner lecturing a stranger about the current feud between hedge fund managers Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman over the meal-replacement shake company, Herbalife.

In my defense, it happened because a friend (I have two friends who moved home a couple months ago) dragged me to Mulligans on a Friday night, and though normally I like Mulligans — I like sitting between a bride from Long Island and a man with a dead deer in his truck — on this particular night, I was in no mood for socializing. Nevertheless, I struck up a conversation with a young guy near me, let's call him Jones. Shortly after, something reminded me of the Ackman-Icahn feud.

I follow everything Bill Ackman does. He's intolerably arrogant, but he was like that even before he became a billionaire, and I respect that kind of commitment to a character defect.

At 18, Ackman bet his father all his Bar Mitzvah money that he would get a perfect score on the SAT verbal. He didn't, but it's fun to see that kind of reckless braggadocio in people who aren't the President of the United States — when "SATs" aren't a euphemism for nuclear weapons and "father" isn't Kim Jong-Un.

Overall, I ended up spending no less than 10 minutes cornering poor Jones, explaining the virtues and vices of Herbalife. It's not a mid-level marketing firm, you see, despite what the Ackman-ites might say. There is clearly an end-user for the product, though I agree with Ackman that it's morally dubious to target low-income populations with an innutritious weight loss product. But I digress.

In hindsight, it was a little like that Twilight Zone episode where there's a nuclear holocaust and one nerdy guy survives and at first he's gonna shoot himself, but then he realizes that now he will be left alone for the rest of his life, so he throws the gun away and sits down to start reading when his glasses fall off and he literally can't see anything and now he can't even kill himself.

The truth is, I knew I was being totally boring and, worse, a know-it-all. But somehow, I couldn't stop it; the words just kept coming like hyper-intellectual sludge running off a gutter and onto the bar.

Unfortunately, this has happened multiple times since. It seems an oversaturation of books and an undersaturation of peers with whom to talk - both a byproduct of these 13 solitary months spent in Manchester - has left me almost intolerable when plied with more than two drinks.

Fortunately, I wasn't that cool or laid-back to begin with.


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