A year and a half ago, I sat on a grassy football field surrounded by my fellow classmates. With graduation caps perched on our heads, we listened to the overflowing advice of the keynote speaker, who was rattling off prepared prose about the accomplishments and dreams that the future would hold. We clapped as each name was called and each student shook the hands of the university officials, and we eventually threw our caps into the air with a cheer at the possibility of what tomorrow held for all of us.
When I graduated from college, I imagined that I was headed into a life of a 9 to 5 job, with my own desk to decorate and paycheck to cash. I pictured all the experiences that would come with that: moving into an apartment, going to happy hours with friends, saving a little bit of money, and making even bigger plans. My mind raced over all the things I was going to do in the “adult world.”
But a year after getting my degree, it turns out that I still live with my parents. My 9 to 5 job is searching for jobs. My newest skills include re-designing resumes and writing countless cover letters. My visions of apartment hunting and furniture shopping are on the backburner. It turns out that my big plans are a little harder to reach than I originally envisioned.
It really gets exhausting, applying for new positions every single day and waiting for the ping of an affirmative email in my inbox, a statement that I could be the one they’re looking for. Thinking that the unknown number popping up on my cell phone could be a future employer, instead of a telemarketer. Praying that I’ll stumble across the perfect job posting and will make it through all the hurdles of the applicant process just to hear a simple “you’re hired.”
While I know that my first “adult” job is out there somewhere, and that I’ll find it at the right time, there’s also a part of me that loses hope.
It’s a strange limbo to live in day-to-day. You crave to be independent, but have to rely on your family to buy the groceries. You dream of traveling, but your savings account proves you don’t have the funds to get up and go. You wish for a little taste of growing up and being on your own, but are ultimately unable to put your foot on the gas pedal; your car is stalled in a parking lot and you just have to wait for someone to come along and offer you a jump.
When do you find just what you’ve been searching for? When do all the plans you’ve imagined fall into place and start coming true?
You can’t focus solely on the future. You don’t know what’s in store for you and there’s no way to plot it all out in a precise to-do list. Your path is constantly changing. You have to take each day as it comes.
You have to keep pushing forward with what you can do right now, in the present moments.
The job will be earned. The money will trickle in. The new apartment will be rented. With diligent hard work, the goals you aim to achieve will be checked off of your list, even if they’re not the exact images of what you had in mind.
When you’re feeling particularly low and you’re not sure where to look for hope, remind yourself that the future is full of unknown possibility. That’s the most beautiful part of all the hardships: you never know when the payoffs will be brought to you.
Here’s to all of us finding a little piece of what we’ve always imagined.