Lately it’s becoming clear to me that on a fairly regular basis I’m with a lot of people at various stages of their life; some people are on way different levels.
I’ve got friends that are engaged, co-workers that are newly married, friends graduating college, people close to the end of college, colleagues who are older and married, a few people heading toward college, other people making major geographical moves and still other people on the prowl for jobs.
It’s become more and more clear that people can be at various stages of life and still have existential crises regardless of their age. I
strongly believe I realize this now more than ever as I am out of college. But why?
Because for the first time, life isn’t regimented. Sure, college is a “choice” but for the most part it’s really not a choice if you want to get a “good” job.
So, most people take the college track. Which is fine. I don’t regret it. But I do think the way we think about looking at life and success needs to be changed. College shouldn’t be the focal point and foundation for everything.
This is a mathematical equation that leads to success:
And this is basically how we see life.
Note that there are steps that follow a proper order. This life process is basically what most U.S. kids are taught at a young age, in overt and subtle ways.
Deviating from this very systematic approach seems dastardly. Yet, post-college many people are wondering what they should be doing.
I think this happens because post-college seems to me to be one of the first times people actually HAVE to think. The steps prior to graduating college were regulated, if you chose college you ultimately decided on a major but for the most part you had specific classes within that major you were obligated to take.
Post-college life means freedom and for a lot of people that can be scary. But freedom should be looked upon with hope and possibility!
For me, my personal freedom came with the liberation of debt from student loans:
Paying off this horrifically large amount of debt was so freeing. I absolutely abhor owing anyone anything, money in particular, and I felt trapped with the weight of my loans on me. I didn’t feel like there was any flexibility in my job pursuits and feared what might happen if I pursued another opportunity and then lost my job. I felt trapped.
While I still feel a bit stuck sometimes, I’m trying to learn to embrace the uncertainty that is life. Not everything can go according to plan, and not everyone who seems to “have it together” does.
I’m finally debt-free but I can’t say that I have all the answers. I do know that managing short-term and long-term goals, no matter how lofty, is one of the best ways to move forward and stay motivated. You can’t figure everything out, but you can make progress toward doing what you want to do with your life.
One of my short-term goals was to pay off all of my loans within a year of graduating college. And I did it!! I kept a promise amidst the uncertainty of life.
It just seems like one of the few things you can find solace in is being certain of uncertainty in life.
I hope that most people (including myself) choose happiness over money, meaningful work over monotony, and look forward rather than look back.