The space between how you envisioned your new life on graduation day and the actual reality of your new life seems to expand forever, just like the universe we so begrudgingly learned about in our Physics 101 lecture. Maybe you were smart and delayed the real world by going on to graduate school, or maybe you were smarter in a different way, by avoiding student loans; in this case, maybe your elation was for your high school commencement. Maybe you got a Master’s degree, maybe you got an Associates, maybe you got a PhD, maybe you got a GED, and if you were lucky you got a job.
Maybe this job that you got is the job you’ve been dreaming of and working towards, and then, you get into it and find it’s not quite what you thought it was. Or, perhaps worse, maybe it is. Or maybe what you found in school was love, and you followed this love to a city that offers you nothing, no opportunities for advancement, or worse – no opportunities at all.
But let’s be honest: you’re probably not getting paid what you think you should, and yeah you get it, the economy is in a recession, and you’re lucky to have a job, and if you’re super lucky it relates to what you’re passionate about 20% of the time. Or maybe you’re getting paid ridiculous amounts but your job is so stressful that you’ve forgotten that you’re still in your twenties, that you’re still young and can have fun, and so all the extra money you earn goes to buying things you don’t need or helping you blow off steam from the particularly stressful job you thought you wanted, but hate.
Or maybe you’re just in your mid-twenties and all of your friends are getting engaged and/or having babies, and maybe you’re not in a relationship and you feel alone. Or maybe you are in a relationship, but the thought of marriage and children in the conventional way depresses and de-motivates you, because you don’t want the stress of having to plan a wedding or figure out how your finances can accommodate a child, especially when you still feel like one yourself. Or maybe you ARE planning your wedding and you stop to wonder if this is what life has in store for you.
Ahh yes, the time of self-reflection, of nostalgia for college nights, for knowing that you don’t know all the answers but it doesn’t matter because you can still fail the test but get an A in the class. And now? Now, you still don’t have the answers, but you know that failing the test means a missed opportunity, a shut door, a fork in the road. So all we can really do is explore, to get to know that person we’ve always been but neglected to acknowledge, and carve our own paths.