a few weeks shy of this time last year, i walked across my university’s graduation stage.
i was embarking on the decade synonymous with the assumption: ‘i better have it all figured out. STAT.’
trust me, if feeling the pressure to ‘have it all figured out’ isn’t an overwhelming sensation…i’m not sure what is.
i told myself i was supposed to have a set plan. and i put a pretty decent amount of pressure on myself to turn that plan into action.
i think it all started before i even graduated. i felt the need to achieve. academically. professionally. athletically. socially.
to work part-time and take a full load of classes. to be president of my sorority. all at the same time.
to never cheat. and always act ethically. and avoid drinking underage.
(no, my parents weren’t hard-asses. in fact, they encouraged me to play just as hard as i worked. and they supported me in my endeavors. and intervened when i needed them. and i’ll always be thankful for their guidance. always.)
but if i told you i never cheated and i always acted ethically and i didn’t partake in illegal drinking and experimenting, i’d be lying.
i mean, newsflash: perfection is torturous! and not even SLIGHTLY realistic. so…forget it.
sure, i was able to create external results during my college years, but it cost me.
do i regret how i spent my time?
no, not entirely. i learned so much, and i’m proud of what i accomplished.
although sometimes i truly asked myself what the f*** i was doing trying to over-extend myself.
but regret is a stupid thing, really. if we spend our whole lives regretting decisions we made in the PAST, well then, we’re living in the past.
at any rate, this last year has been challenging, but totally rewarding.
and a lot of fun.
so. here are a few things i would tell my 22-year-old self on graduation day:
1. don’t be so hard on yourself, seriously. turn DOWN the volume of your inner-critic.
2. you think it’s soooo motivating to create results. ALL. THE. TIME. but it’s actually completely exhausting. you’re probably doing enough already. really.
3. that do-all! be-all! attitude is incredibly overrated. you will find your purpose. sometimes it’s just a matter of process of elimination.
4. let inspiration be your drive, and let curiosity be your road map. oooh and that was metaphorical of me! and probably just ‘fluff.’ sorry.
5. stop, stop, stop comparing yourself to others. just….stop. you are enough. and people are going to judge you no matter what. what they say is bullshit, until you actually start believing what they say.
6. you know that guy (or girl) that you’re obsessed with wanting to date? don’t force it. it isn’t worth it. if things are meant to be, they’re meant to be. i very much believe that.
7. on that note, you’re going to get over your heartbreak. cry it out. punch something. or someone? take the lessons you learned and move on. you will love and be loved again. that’s life.
8. have a generous heart. that’s how you’ll make a difference in the world.
9. most decisions you’re making are NOT ‘forever’ decisions. choose what feels best right now. these opportunities are a means to an end.
10. and my most recent epiphany: maintain your friendships. they become the family you get to choose.
>>>> and with that, ’tis the season for graduation! GO CELEBRATE.
if i were you, celebrate not having it all figured out.
it’s much more fun that way.
(signed, the post-grad.)