I constantly hear my friends and peers saying they don’t know what to do with the rest of their lives.
As any unemployed millennial the dreaded question of what they are doing now that they've graduated and you'll be met with an eye roll, shoulder shrug and displeased answer of "I have no idea." They talk about it as if it is a bad thing, which it may fee like at the time. It can be a frustrating feeling to be confused about what you want and what you're actually qualified to do, especially when everyone else seems to have a purpose. This feeling of being lost can send your mind reeling into a pit of negativity, which can make it even more impossible to find a job or a purpose.
Society paints a picture of what our lives should look like as a 20-something year old woman. We're told we should graduate college with a degree or a ring on our finger, head out into the world to snag a job we are proud enough to post on social media and make enough money to support the lifestyle we desire. The moment we realize our lives do not look like what we planned is the moment the insecurities sink in. We think about our friends who have large paychecks and great bonuses, able to afford a chic place to live without having to worry about the bill. We think about our friends who don't have to worry about paying rent or medical bills because their parents are still supporting them. We think about all the times we made the wrong decisions that inevitably brought us to where we are right now, letting the "if" game be played over and over in our minds.
If I would have taken that internship at the end of senior year, would I have a job right now? If I chose a major that would have made me money instead of following my passion, would I be able to pay off my loans by this point?
What we seem to overlook while playing the "if" game, however, is that maybe us unemployed post-grads ARE the lucky ones.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking the time to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. It is the rest of YOUR life, isn’t it? The most beautiful thing about life is how it’s constantly changing. We may not have the nine to five job in a high rise downtown, but we are learning the skills and understanding the strength it takes to become an adaptable adult human being.
Knowing what you want to do with the rest of your life is not the answer to your whole life story, it's only a start to the journey that lies ahead.
You could woken up as a young child and known it was your destiny to be a businesswoman, currently still chasing that dream. You may have gone to college to pursue a lackluster degree that you know you could rely on after graduation. You may be sitting here pondering what your passions even are. No matter which of these resounds with you, there's a lesson to be learned about your post-grad life.
Don’t commit to anything unless you have to. Learn everything you can, about anything you can, and take advantage of every opportunity thrown your way. You can bring about anything you think about, so long as you have the courage and the gusto to begin.
You may not have a business plan, a place to rent or even the slightest idea of where your next meal is coming from, but all you need is a dream. A dream that can give you the lifeblood to sustain yourself until the next time you're paid. A dream that can keep you going when life gets rough. Eventually a moment will come when you realize what you want to do with the rest of your life, but don't sit around waiting for it to hit you. It may take years, but you have your whole life ahead of you to listen for your calling.
The thing is, we're always changing and what we love today might not be what we love tomorrow. Sometimes doing what you love wont pay all the bills and it sure as heck wont make you rich, but if it makes you smile then it's worth doing. What matters is that you are alive, in the company of a dream and ready to give it your all.
You may not solve all of your post-grad problems today, but there's a simple question to ask yourself if you want to start.
What makes your heart smile?