Growing up. When you are a kid, all you can think about is being older. Having more responsibilities and being on your own has this heavenly appeal. With no one to tell you what to do & no curfews to keep you in at night — what could be so terrible about this adult thing?
As children the number one question people ask you is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” If you’re me, that question was easy to answer: a princess, duh. And no one seemed to question it, so neither did I. So, I happily went about life. High school graduation came and went. But, when one goes to register for college, one will find that “How to Be a Monarch 101” & a Bachelor in Princessdom is not available. No need to panic yet. Everyone says, ‘it doesn’t matter what your major is, just get a degree’. Okay, can do. Now to graduate and get a job. This life stuff is a piece of cake.
And you eat your cake naively until about senior year. At this point, you’ve had 3 years of taking classes, making friends, being involved in organizations on campus & now college seems like your home away from home. You’ve put in countless hours to get to the glorious idea of being done with finals and term papers. However, that means you have to get a job. And sadly, those don’t just fall into your lap as a prize for graduating as one would expect. Thus, second semester of your last year of college is upon you and still, despite all the career fairs you’ve gone to, the applications you have put in, the interviews you felt confident about — there are no job offers on the table. And if that is stressful enough, EVERYONE has to ask you what your life plan is for the future every time you leave your dorm room. So, naturally Netflix and your couch become your new best friend. They understand –and they don’t ask questions.
But, reality is always knocking at your door. So you are constantly torn between “If it’s meant to be, it will be” and “If you want something, go get it.” Everyday brings more uncertainty & you have even googled “how to be a student forever.”
You’ve heard ‘everything will work out’ and ‘there is a plan’ and ‘patience is a virtue’ — because those around you that seem to have everything together offer such cliché advice. And you can’t really blame them, honestly all of those things are true & comforting. Alright, with these mantras in tow, ‘I can do it!’ Until the next rejection…
The worst part of the whole process is not knowing — what to do, where to look, and how it will turn out. It’s as our favorite character from Gilmore Girls so memorably said:
“…It’s just like I’m standing on this cliff looking out into this huge, foggy abyss… and, in my whole life, there’s never been an abyss. It’s been abyssless. I’ve always known exactly what is in front of me, and I’ve always know exactly where I’m going, and now–I don’t know what’s out there.”
Never has a statement been so true. You look out and there is an endless fog settled over your future. Depressing. Sometimes hard to breathe. Full of wonder & potential adventure. So, blindly we stumble forward hoping to wander into something, anything. You have a vague sense of where you want to go, but this path seems to have no foreseeable end. Graduation day looms in with the fog & is over in the blink of an eye. You take the diploma; your flimsy defense against the cloudiness.
Unfortunately, I don’t know how to win this battle. And in fact I think it’s more of an ongoing process than a one time storm. There will be times when the fog lightens to a mist, and other points it feels pitch black.
You may not land your dream job right away or you may find that your dream job is more of a nightmare. There will be breakups & breakthroughs. It’s scary to think life may not go as you plan. But maybe that is the whole point– to learn along the way. When you can’t see ahead and you don’t want to look back; look up for guidance, and also look next to you. Because you’re not alone. We all are trying to navigate this fog — the messy transition into being who we were meant to be.
And so the great paradox of life comes full circle. We are now adults who dream of staying a kid forever; when we were once children dreaming of being older — blissfully unaware of the wrinkles, taxes, insurance claims, & 8 to 5 days that come with the title.