This post-college-rest-of-your-life transition has been rough for me because all I ever really wanted out of life was to graduate from college. I grew up with a single mother who had two kids before she was 21–the one thing she drilled in my head above all else was to graduate from college (childless).
OK. So I went to college, still with no real concept of what that would actually be like (to graduate and be childless), but, you know, I tried working and I didn’t like it so I said what the hey. And eventually, I hit my senior year and it really started to dawn on me that, even if I did get pregnant, there was still a really good chance that I would be waddling my butt across that stage (though, of course, that would be far from the ideal).
But I still really couldn’t grasp it. People would ask me things like “how’s it feel to be so close to graduation?” and I would reply, “I’m just really focusing on not getting knocked up.”
I didn’t understand it.
…and then I graduated. One day, I looked at my school’s degree progress tool and it listed my degree progress as 100%. I was graduated.
And I freaked out. I mean, literally, my world broke up into a million little spaces and cracks a la I ❤ Huckabees.
I found out I didn’t get this really good job I was up for on Friday. They said they liked me and I’d put together an impressive package–but they wanted someone with more experience.
…after I finished crying about it, I took a deep breath and I could feel my soul sighing with relief. It would have been a great job with a great company full of great people…but I think they made the right decision.
Which is terrifying.
To not get a job that you just knew you’d cinched is disappointing, but you have the comfort of knowing that you made it through and so you’ll make it through again. But to not get a position you thought you’d cinched and realize that your spirit is relieved is like…OK spirit…that’s cool and all…but I got loans kickin in in November. Not to mention our mama is expecting us to pay the cable bill while we’re staying there….
I never felt so lost.
Saturday, I hopped on my bike and rode to church. I wanted to just go and sit and be silent and still and smell the church smells and see if I could connect with God enough to get some sort of message about where to go from here.
Ironically, the church was not only closed but locked (something I think really speaks to our times), so I was just kind of sitting on the steps people watching and trying to meditate.
…and then I got on my bike. And just started pedalling.
And I kid you not, it was like Forrest Gump–like, I just started going. I felt kind of like my heart would burst from all of the feeling lost and not knowing where to go, so I just started going. I rode through neighborhoods I’d never gone in, I rode up side streets and through back streets, and for the most part I had no clue where I was or where I was going. I just knew I couldn’t even think about stopping until my heart didn’t feel like bursting anymore.
…and after a while, I’d say about mile 7 or 8, I started singing. I realized how much fun I was having being out on a gorgeous day, being kind of lost, going places I’d always wanted to explore in my city. I went the opposite direction of one-ways; I entered where it said “do not enter.” I still had no clue where I was, but I was confident that the general direction I was headed toward would eventually lead me where I needed to be.
It really made me think about life, you know? We really don’t know where we’re going, we just have a vague sense of a general direction we’re heading toward, and we kind of just have to trust our inner compass.
The life I want for myself isn’t so much a set of words or titles or job descriptions as it is flashes of feelings and scenes involving me gardening and eating foreign foods and going all over the world.
I don’t know quite how to get there, but I have a vague sense of the direction, and that bike ride has shown me I have more endurance than I think–I rode like 15 miles and wasn’t even that tired or winded (at least not beyond what a hot bath and a popsicle could cure).
So today, after the kind of soul searching that only a stupid amount of physical activity can produce, I registered for some TESOL classes to take while I’m living at home with my mama.
Sometimes the only way to do it…is to do it.
- Post Grad Life IS Exactly What You Think it Is (thegloss.com)
- Scribes Sounding Off: A Marvelous Manifesto for the United States of Americana (kexp.org)
- College Grads Expand Lead in Job Security (online.wsj.com)