Let’s be honest and talk about the elephant in the room. This elephant that never goes away. The irrevocable truth that is, life as a twentysomething is both unexpected and really anticlimactic.
Life after graduation is this built up dream that the change you’ve been seeking… will be this enlightening, remarkable post college real life “episode of Friends” glory.
Now, only 10 months out of College I think of those 4 dreamy, study filled, stressful but nothing comparable to corporate stress years as the dream years. The years filled with wonder, education, staring out classroom windows at the world you knew you’d change. Full of fun and inspirational moments with tons of people your own age sharing in the same adventure. The moments we feel nostalgia for now, looking back at the late nights, the roommates we stayed up for hours with discussing class assignments and cute boys. The friends that came over late on a school night because class wasn’t until 10 am the next day anyway. 4 years with purpose, a straight line in front you, a goal in sight, a light at the end of the tunnel. Graduation. A proud Mom and Dad, all eyes on you, look at me I got the paper, cool jump in the river! (Proud Texas State Alum)
Life after graduation is this built up dream that the change you’ve been seeking to bring to society and the education that fills your brain will be this enlightening, remarkable post college real life “episode of Friends” glory. But its not. Sadly I felt this truth brimming on the edge of my brain before graduation, I could see it in front of me like a clouded snow globe that I fought to peer all the way into. I didn’t want to graduate and work my days away in a unhappy office, click clacking away that days tasks just to bring home a check. I wanted to be a snowboard instructor, travel tour guide, adventure zip line videographer, something fun and exhilarating…but the truth is $10 an hour is about as exhilarating as a raman noodle diet in a cold cramped mountain dorm next to a pot stenched roommate with the nearest inhabited town about an hour away. Yeah, probably not. The inspirational movie of a successful and happy 25 year old living in a cabana hut on the beach with his boy Tito working the beach bum bar giving him surf advice and waking to the sound of the waves crashing is a crock of shit. And I’m over it.
The realization that these dreams were nothing even close to reality has been like someone pouring a bucket of ice on my head. Depressing at times but also enlightening because lets be honest, its me.
Instead of chase after the dreams described above, I found a truth through my current experience and a thoughtful friends gift to me. A book. It taught lessons on living with purpose, meaning and forgetting about that one word that seems to drive all of our hearts mad…passion. That instead of chasing after what our hearts yearn for most. Adventure, travel, a life free from corporate stress, deadlines, paper pushing bosses and company cell phones. We need to push forward into the world trying on all of the hats we can, testing our limits our boundaries and finding in ourselves the tasks we complete with ease and flow. Flow being those moments we lose ourselves during a task and time becomes irrelevant. The moments when we aren’t staring at the clock or dreading the thought of being given that particular task again. We need to do one thing. Find what we are good at. And friends let me tell you, that is not easy, it will take time. I don’t know about you but college didn’t exactly give me a clear cut follow this path, step by step instructions to this life. Rather it gave me the knowledge to work my way into a position where I could begin the journey to self discovery.
I am not saying disregard passion, how could we. Let that passion out! If you are passionate about baking, travel, reading, painting. Do all of those things, they don’t have to be your source of income. I’ve learned that the passion inspired tasks are more fun as a relaxing activity instead of our source of income. Baking to relieve stress, exercising or making videos for fun with friends. Sometimes its best to let these passions grow in the form of hobbies instead of growing burnt out and tired of something we used to love.
So if you are like me, working away the days in the corporate world, waking to the sound of your alarm not exactly thrilled about the day ahead. Maybe this will help. Buy a journal and start writing down all the things about your current job that you like and don’t like. What is fun, what do you dread, where do you flow and where do you get really excited. What types of jobs to you dream about when you aren’t enjoying the one you’re in. Use these notes to look into yourself and help decipher what it is your truly good at. When you find what you’re good at the work you do will be easier, less stressful and in turn you will be happier doing it. Which will evoke a better attitude that others will see and feel and I believe will eventually lead to your success. This of course is all theory but I feel pretty good about it.
The reality is this world is nothing like I thought it would be. 23 and graduated isn’t as fun as I’d hoped. But we can choose to take each day as it comes and if nothing else use each day as an opportunity to find out more about ourselves. Breathing easy in the truth that one day, hopefully sometime in our closer years we will find what we are good at and share that goodness with the world. Whether it be mad accounting skills, communication, great at organizing details and multi tasking or writing proposals that rock. Be yourself even in these hard times and the effects will always be positive. You can never stop learning about you. We will all succeed we just have to try. I’m right here with you.