It is so easy to lose yourself in the mundane routines of day-to-day life. You wake up. You walk to work. You sit in your office. You walk home. You try to fill your free time, but you never truly fill that void that is so clearly present within you. That lack of passion and sense of self-worth constantly stares you in face. Your weekends are packed, but you feel like you aren’t actually doing anything. You end your work week feeling like you accomplished nothing. What is the point? Sure, you are making money, but what are you contributing to?
Until a few days ago, I thought I was the only person who felt this way. I thought everyone else was incredibly content with their lives. After talking with various friends, I realized I was very wrong. Today, it seems like young adults graduate from school, enter the real world, and lose their way. Some continue the college tradition of binge drinking and endless hangovers; some spend countless hours in front of their computers, watching Netflix until their eyes go numb; whereas some pour their hearts and souls into their new jobs and lose all aspects of their personal lives. We are stuck in this day-to-day zombie-like movement. But here is some good news – we don’t have to be.
I recently came across a piece of advice that truly struck a chord: “Don’t ever lose the passion in your life.” At first, I glanced over these words and continued with my reading. But within seconds, I returned to the sentence and read it over and over again. This is what I have been missing. This is what I have been looking for. Passion. If you lack passion in your life, you are bound to lose your awareness of life, and eventually, your happiness. Lacking passion allows you to wander day to day without feeling fulfilled. After reading that advice, I understood what I needed in my life and I decided to finally do something about it. This is what I have learned since then:
1. Realize that, like many people your age, you are experiencing your first job and most likely, it is not what you want to do in the long run
Entry-level jobs include copy making and coffee fetching. Sure, they are jobs that may be in your field of interest or even at the company that you want to work for for the rest of your life. But it is not yet something that excites you. Don’t lose your passion. Don’t become passive. Don’t proceed through the workday in a numb state. Instead of accepting the fact that you are stuck in a crappy job, take action. Create a five-year plan and a list of dream jobs. Yeah, your dream job may be far off, and yeah it may not happen, but having a plan and realizing that there is something in the future to look forward to creates the realization that every day of your job is working towards something; there is an end-goal. And you know what? That is something to be passionate about.
2. Get out and do something in your spare time
Take walks to get to know your new city or to discover new neighborhoods. If your city has a waterfront, rent a paddleboard or kayak and spend the day on the water with friends. Check out local markets and weekly farm stands. Unless your job demands a lot of work on the weekends, this is the first time in years that Saturdays and Sundays do not need to be spent in the library or worrying about grades. Take advantage of your free time. Weekends don’t need to solely consist of all you can drink brunches. Don’t get me wrong, those are awesome, but there is no need to black out every single weekend. Join a sports team or some other athletic outlet. Join a weekend running group. Join a softball team. Sign up for activities that will force you to turn off Netflix and meet new people. Take full advantage of post-grad life and find happiness in everything, no matter what you do.
3. Discover a new hobby and stick with it
No, I am not referring to stamp collecting or knitting. I am referring to something you will look forward to in your free time and something that will make you happy no matter what else is happening in your life. Join a yoga class and use it to relieve stress 3-4 times a week. Take a painting class and use it as your creative outlet. Take up cycling and explore new areas. When life is dominated by work and other obligations, it is good to find something that you do for yourself. From this point in your life, responsibilities are simply going to multiply and grow so it will be important to have an outlet. Find something fulfilling and take full advantage of it.
4. Give back to your community
Sure, you may not have a lot of money to your name at this point in your life, but you do have time. Find ways to give back through volunteer opportunities or simply helping to spread the word about a certain cause. Volunteer at an animal shelter on the weekends or raise money as you train for a charity run. Even consider volunteering at your nearby farmer’s market. Not only will you be giving back to your community, you will be giving back to yourself. The benefits of volunteering are endless, but above all, it can boost your self-esteem, self-confidence, and your overall life satisfaction. Positive action is positive energy. Embrace the opportunities.
5. Lastly, be sure you are constantly connecting with your friends
I am not talking about screaming over crowds at a bar to tell your friend about the hot guy that just walked in. I am talking about real, honest conversations. Remember: your friends are going through the same strange transition as you are. Talk about what is going on in each of your lives. Be there for each other and lean on each other. The passion in your life largely depends on the people you surround yourself with. Find the right group of people and make them a large part of your life. This will sound cheesy, but apart from family, friendship truly is the most important thing.
At this age, we are in a unique stage of our lives where obligations are minimal and possibilities are endless. Don’t allow it to slip through your fingers without fully taking advantage of it. Find and feed your passion for life every day. In the wise words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”