So. I graduated this past May to begin my life anew as a so called "grown-up" in the proverbial "real world." I never really cared for that phrase--the real world. As if to say the world in which I was living was somehow removed from reality. Oh wait. It actually was.
I was in the delegation of graduates that absolutely could not wait to be beyond the auspices of the university. I felt as if my capabilities were somehow being stifled by the tenets of the place that I'd elected to attend. Four years at the same locale can do that to any soul. Please don't for one moment presume to think that I didn't know how awesome an arrangement I had. I appreciated every second of being a student without obligations beyond learning my chosen discipline. My compatriots did as well. The testament of any true university is the extent to which it prepares you for post-graduate opportunities. My alma mater most assuredly did that.
Commencement came. The tears were shed. The long goodbyes were exchanged (even though we still text and call each other as if we never left campus. Let's be real). Then, like so many, I launched myself fully into the search for a coveted job. I wasn't like one the more proactive members of my class. I didn't escape to graduate or law school immediately. Prior to commencement, when people asked me what I was doing my response was a coy "something else." Cheeky as it was, I was scared out of my mind that I wouldn't find my opportunity to become a productive member of society as I had been conditioned to be. I became craven in my search. The resume was literally sterling and I dared anyone to say otherwise.
HALLELUJAH! My opportunity came. Literally it fell into my lap as if I'd paid the fates a hearty tip. I had spent weeks of fruitless searching in our nation's capital and returned--rather beleaguered--to my native Georgia to celebrate my best friend's nuptial bliss. I got a phone call on the day of the holy event, was given an offer I couldn't refuse and subsequently moved my life to a city made for the presidents.
My job is stellar. I'm given responsibility that a person with twice my age and experience could one day hope to touch. My boss is a fierce visionary. I'm surrounded by enlightened and engaging individuals. But I've been miserable. I've been hopelessly and unrelentingly miserable.
I thought that I'd succumbed to that societal myth about the millennial generation--ungrateful, easily distracted, cynical...you know, all the wonderful things! However, the deeper issue is one that so many face. You might think the source is your job. Though it might be, it most likely is not. We all get stuck in the past, trying to recreate the comforts and assuredness of occurrences best left for younger years. College is wonderful. It's unlike anything else you'll ever experience in your life. One of the most imperative things that college teaches us to inherently do is to connect to other people. It seems as soon as we graduate, we forget that. It's one of the best lessons we can garner. So stop blaming your job and think on these things:
1. You're not the only one. 20-somethings are genetically conditioned to be perpetually unhappy. Especially when they just left the most untamed period of their lives. We're still looking for the next hopping party, awesome new person or recent iteration of the iPhone. Until we find it, the blues will ensue.
2. Your job is your job, not your life. You might fall in love with your first job out of college. You might not. Either way, IT'S OK! You're 22 (give or take). You're not supposed to have a life plan affixed to one unyielding path yet. If nothing else, it's better to figure out what you don't want to be doing.
3. You made friends in college for a reason. Talk to them. Graduation doesn't mean they no longer exist. Skype is a thing. Use it with relish.
4. Call your mother. She has things to tell you. I promise.
5. You don't have to answer all of life's questions. Getting a job, an apartment & paying your own bills means that you have steady employment and decent credit. Nothing more. Nothing less. You don't have to have all of the answers. Your life will be more fulfilling if you spend it questioning things rather than seeking to answer everything.
Yes I'm 23. Yes I'm employed. Will I be in this same position a year from now? Only the universe knows. The point is this: We are given but a short time on this earth. Don't waste it. Connect to others. Experience life. If you're not feeling completely fulfilled at this point and juncture, then that's perfectly fine. We're not supposed to. We simply don't know enough about life or ourselves for that matter. Calm down and go meet someone new over a glass of wine. That's how you truly make society better. That's how you beat the miserable.