I feel like the universal blog post template for those who bother maintaining a personal blog always begins with some poor apology to non-existent readers about not blogging for a while. (See, I’m trying not to fall under a stereotype. But…clearly failing, huh.)
I think it’s because I’ve been mulling over this idea for this very post that examples of such have been popping up so often these days. And now I’m at that peak of needing to let it out before this volcano of emotions just erupts, after which suddenly I don’t care to write about it anymore. That’s how I would describe how I approach blogging nowadays—how long can I put it off until I just don’t care to write about it anymore?
Anyway, there are many ways to approach describing such a phenomenon that seems to be plaguing every aspect of my life and the lives of recent graduates, especially.
Here’s to my fellow recent grads (but if you’re at any stage in life embarking on a new chapter and find yourself struggling, read on):
Life is full of chapters, and ending one to start another usually involves a range of conflicting emotions and feelings—for the last chapter: nostalgia, discomfort from the break in routines, sadness from relationships paused or broken, perhaps relief, certainly regret; for the next chapter: excitement for newness, curiosity, anxiety, doubt, hopelessness, loneliness…
I think something all of us realize while still in school is that we’re always going to be the new kid at some point until we’re not—especially when moving from middle to high school. Remember how excited yet totally terrified we were when starting high school? Yet soon enough by senior year, we more or less “owned” the school. And then the next chapter suddenly hit us, and again we found ourselves having to start all over, as silly freshmen.
Fast forward a few years of drinking too much, partying too much, cramming too much—essentially stumbling our way through this practice round of what we saw as the forever-daunting “Real Life” (“What Is: Real Life?”). But somehow that was all okay, because we knew that’s just part of how college was. Make mistakes, move on.
Suddenly. We’re graduating and we find ourselves seemingly as unprepared as when we were freshmen in college.
Suddenly. Making freshmen-like mistakes doesn’t seem as cool.
Suddenly. Impatience gnaws constantly, and with making an actual living on the line, we’re wondering why our days of mastering all that college had to throw at us, well, aren’t working in “Real Life.”
“Real Life” is so real now.
How badly I miss being an upperclassman, knowing how things work and having prominent positions with “editor” and “ambassador” in the titles—and receiving recognition for them…
Suddenly. It’s as if none of that matters.
Here, in “Real Life,” our next few months aren’t scheduled for us. We don’t know when midterms or finals are. They could be every day, for all we know. And know what? We don’t have $200 textbooks written by our professors telling us the answers, telling us how to deal with it all. Those PowerPoint slides are now our bills, our job contracts, our work visa applications. Oh, and insurance and savings and future investments—whatever THOSE are. But without a doubt, the “Real Life” chapter is worse than all those overly priced college textbooks combined.
It’s being that painfully self-aware of my greenness in all aspects of “Real Life” (but ESPECIALLY at work) that amplifies everything. I’m SO conscious of how new I am at everything and how afraid I am of making mistakes and yet how I know that I have to to make progress that makes me seem like I’m the most anxiety-ridden person on Earth right now.
But I can also point to so many things that make all my concerns, well, not as legitimate, such as having such amazing support from family and friends. Hey, I can only be grateful that I am not the only character in this chapter or any chapter.
Sure, we’re neither here nor there in life, and there will always be better chapters than others. Let’s try to make this one better than the last.