It’s been almost a month and three days since I graduated college.
I’ve applied to approximately 45 jobs in fields such as writing, social media marketing, photography, and other random careers that were suggested on my LinkedIn and Indeed tabs that deemed me qualified. Of those jobs, I’ve received 10 rejection letters, 34 no responses, and a request for one interview.
It has become a routine. I wake up, log onto my laptop or phone, mind numbingly scroll through lists upon lists of jobs that seem remotely interesting or relate to my desired field, fill out the same basic information, and send in application after application. Then I log off and await either a rejection email or a response from oblivion.
Before, I had always felt some sense of purpose. Mostly because my purpose for the last 16 years of my life was to be a student. Go to school. Study for tests. Do your homework. Make good grades. Pass your exams. Then repeat all of this the following year.
That is what I did. That is what I was supposed to do.
Since graduating college, I’ve developed this new emotion or feeling, you may call it, that I’ve never experienced up until this moment.
I recall recently lying on my bed, engulfed by the darkness of my room, my eyes burning and cheeks wet with tears as the same thought tumbled repetitively in my mind: “What the hell am I doing?”
Up until graduation, I had felt like myself and the people around me were in a constant balance. We were all on this similar path, going towards the same goal. And then, suddenly, everything changed.
Do you know what it feels like to feel like you are behind in life? Let me explain it to you.
It’s watching your friends that you used to spend every day with slowly begin to drift away into happy and fulfilling relationships, beginning a new life with a significant other, but you’re the friend who’s still single and questioning if love actually exists or if you are ever going to find it.
It’s watching the people you knew lifetimes before purchase new homes and new cars, yet you’re still driving the barely running 2008 Jeep Patriot you got in high school (Penelope The Patriot, please refrain from feeling the negative energy I just put onto you in this sentence, I love you, please don’t break down on me).
It’s scrolling through your social media feeds and seeing those people that you just graduated college with jump into new and exciting jobs with ease, yet you spend hours upon hours each day refreshing job search sites, hoping a new opportunity will jump out of the screen and grab you by your throat. You see them already beaming with success, yet you’re left crawling towards the starting line.
The list of ways you can feel behind in life could continue in ways that I probably don’t even feel myself. So, what happens when you add them all up?
You get the question that can be so thought provoking and inspirational as much as it can be one of the most depressing and scary things to cross your mind.
“What is my purpose in life?”
Now, when you first read that, you may say, “Oh. That’s just a rhetorical question. Everyone knows a human’s purpose in life is to be born, grow, get educated, get a job, make babies, pay bills, and die.”
Sorry, was that too much? Maybe. But is it a lie?
But read it again. “What is my purpose in life?”
Do you remember those things I just mentioned? The ways you can feel behind in life? What happens when you intertwine them with the doubt that you have no purpose?
I guess my purpose in life is to give more love than I receive, ultimately resulting in the fact I will end up continuously heartbroken because you can only pour water from a can for so long until it is empty. I will never be able to find love because people take advantage of this. My purpose is to love too hard and get nothing back.
I guess my purpose in life isn’t to buy a new car because I can’t afford it. I guess my purpose in life is to always drive Penelope The Patriot and live in a shoebox apartment or even worse, with my parents.
I guess my purpose isn’t to become a great writer or photographer, even though that’s the education I spent the last four years of my life learning. I guess I graduated with the wrong major because all of these people around me that work in the same field don’t have a problem, but I do. I guess my purpose is to work a mind-numbing minimum wage job for the rest of my life because I can’t seem to obtain anything better.
I spoke with a friend the other day about what I was feeling, mostly because I was desperate to reach out to someone who may feel the same way I am feeling.
“Megan! Your purpose is to be a writer!” she told me. “You are amazing at it and that’s what you’re meant to do!”
Do I agree with what she told me? 100%. I do believe that writing is meant to be a large part of my life. I don’t know how or in what way, but I do believe my words are meant to be put out to the world to change it.
However, although I believe that this plays a key part, why am I not fulfilled? Why do I still feel that lack of validity? Is it because I need security to know that I am good at what I do? Is it because I need someone else’s approval to know I am doing well?
Knowing your calling is different than knowing your purpose.
To me, this means you know what you are meant to be doing but you haven’t quite found the satisfaction in it.
I am not asking to be the next Martin Luther King. I’m not asking to be the next F. Scott Fitzgerald.
I am asking: “Where do I belong? What do I need to be doing in this world that will ultimately fill a hole that is sitting in my chest, expanding more and more every day?”
I feel like I’m rambling. This article feels messy, but I don’t mind that because that’s exactly how my mind feels right now—like a mess.
It may sound a lot like complaining. I don’t mean to complain about life, as I know every day is a gift and should be appreciated. However, it is so draining and nauseating to go about life day by day without knowing what you are doing with it. It feels like you are wasting the day you are given.
I wish I could say the end of this article ends on a positive note. I wish I could tell you that I end this article with an empowering message saying some cheesy quote about me finding my purpose, blah blah blah.
However, I can’t. At least, not right now. Because I only know how to write about the things I know and feel. And I haven’t found the solution to this problem yet. I might not find it tomorrow or even 10 years from now.
As terrifying as it is to say that, I know that time is the only solution here. I know I will end up where I need to be, doing what I need to be doing.
Until then, though, I felt the need to share the ugly side of things. Life isn’t always great and I know that. My hope, ultimately, is that I will look back on this in a few months time and say to myself:
Oh. Okay. So that’s why that didn’t work out.
Look at where you are now. Good job.
Maybe, in the end, my purpose right now is to find my purpose.