College graduation: simultaneously everyone’s dream and nightmare. What starts out as an immense amount of freedom turns into early mornings, bills and a desk job. This may sound daunting and depressing., And to be honest, for the past 11 months I have definitely thought so. In fact, I have probably complained about my post grad frustrations more than the average human. Recently, however, everything has changed. Why? Well, I don’t know for sure. I think it has a lot to do with a change in mindset.
Work is work. It does not define the way you live your life. That is a lot to take in, especially since we spend SO much time in the office. But, once you acknowledge that you are so much more than your job, the happier you will be. That being said, here are some things I believe contribute to enjoying life as a post grad, “kind of” adult.
1. Don’t expect everything to happen at once.
I think when we leave college we expect our life to be filled with rainbows and butterflies. The stark reality is, ADULT LIFE IS HARD! We are not full grown ups and we are at the bottom of the food chain. We have 40-ish years left of work and, according to some scientists who think they know the answer to everything, we won’t reach the pinnacles of our careers until we are in our 50s. So, that means we need to put in a lot of hard work, sweat, blood, tears, and maybe a little bit of our soul into creating our own joy in life. Yes, this includes your job. If you want to make it, then GET TO WORK, and be patient. Good things take time.
2. Enjoy the journey.
Now that the harsh reality is out of the way, time for some pep talk time about joy. Just because you haven’t landed your “dream career” yet doesn’t mean you have to be miserable! The world is big, there are a lot of people in it, and there is a lot of fun to be had. Life is most definitely a journey. If you don’t like where you are, then move – you are not a tree. If you want to do something adventurous then do it! If you want to be an idiot…well go for it. You can learn a lesson from every situation, so don’t ever tell yourself no just because you think that’s what is expected of you and your path in life.
3. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
I am mostly talking to my college self here. In college I worked so, so, so, hard and shed many tears over my GPA. It is time to give yourself some slack. Everyone screws up. You don’t need to take every task super seriously, because sometimes the goal is to just get through the day. Life is a learning experience and everything has value, even your failures.
On that note, let yourself go wild sometimes. Do NOT stay inside on a Saturday night because you want to be a “responsible adult.” Newsflash. You are in your 20s. You are a young adult, emphasis on the young. This is when you make mistakes and learn from them. Besides, you might end up having the time of your life. And sometimes acting like a complete fool is exactly what you need.
4. Don’t forget who you are.
In the real world it is easy to get bogged down and depressed. No one is here to hold your hand. No one cares about your excuses. Everyone thinks they are smarter and better than you. But you know what? Good for them! They can think that, because YOU know the truth. You know that you are amazing. You know that you graduated college (round of applause for that one). You know that you are loved. You know that you can make it through. Who cares what anyone else says or does to you? That is NO reason to forget how amazing you are.
Similarly, if you have strong morals, do everything in your power to keep them. Morals are a GOOD thing, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Yes, people will have different beliefs than you. Yes, people might ridicule you. And yes, you might get frustrated with yourself. But do not change just because you think that’s what the world expects from you. It isn’t fair to you. The beautiful part about life is everyone’s different. Don’t conform. Stay true to what makes you “you”.
Love yourself. Love your family. Love your pets. Love your friends. Love your roommate who you met on Craigslist. Love the people on the subway who breathe awkwardly on you. I don’t care who it is. Just LOVE. When you put others first and truly love them the way we were intended to love one another, your world will be a much, much brighter place. It isn’t always easy, but it is most definitely always worth it.