When you graduate high school, you either feel a sense of sadness or a sense of relief. In my mind, there are only two feelings when you walk across that stage: you are no longer required to see the people that bullied you every day, you don’t have commitments towards the friends you had for most of your young life. Starting university or college, whether it’s in the same town or moving across the country, is a fresh start.
When I graduated my post-secondary, I experienced a sense of confusion. Confusion for the future, confusion for the present and longing for the past. It’s not like you have anything to look forward to in the fall like you did after high school; there are infinite possibilities that present themselves to you.
For the past six months, I’ve been struggling with this realization and I hope I’m not alone. I want people to read this and understand that it’s alright to be frustrated and it’s okay to not know what you’re going to do next.
“Starting university or college, whether it’s in the same town or moving across the country, is a fresh start.”
I worked two 9-5 jobs for almost a year when I realized quickly that it wasn’t right for me. I felt completely mentally, physically and creatively drained. Sometimes, I still feel the effects from it now, even months after leaving it. My mind used to be filled with ideas, different ways to approach things and now, I feel like I’m stuck. I put myself into a routine and my brain is still functioning like it’s in this routine.
It’s easy for a lot of people to snap back and realize what they want. I, on the other hand, have not. I’ve always seen myself as a creative person yet this is the first piece of writing I’ve done in three months. It’s hard to find passion in things that bring you joy when you are constantly being drained, not only by your job but also by your negative thoughts.
This transition is what I like to call my first mid-life crisis. Yes, those things that happen when you’re older can also happen as early as 20. I believe that this first mid-life crisis occurs when you realize you’re not living up to your protentional. You are aware of what you can achieve but you aren’t working towards it. This can also be explained in a different way, a simpler one. You had plans for yourself at 20, 22, 24. Although you have succeed in many ways, the big boxes aren’t checked off. Maybe, you wanted to be married. Maybe, you wanted to move to another city. Or maybe, you didn’t get that dream job you thought you deserved. Being an adult is hard enough, the amount of pressure we put on ourselves is ridiculous and it only continues after you graduate.
You apply for jobs, masters programs and for the first time since you were about to graduate high school, the same feelings come back. Those senses of sadness or relief.
The pressure to showcase your new job to friends and family, to showcase your relationships or your immediate success to everyone around you. Everyone is guilty of it and while you are proud of what you’ve achieved. Normally people don’t stop to think how it affects other people. I’m guilty of it and I try to hide my insecurities through social media, whether I’m doing it purposely or not.
“Being an adult is hard enough, the amount of pressure we put on ourselves is ridiculous and it only continues after you graduate.”It’s hard to realize that everything you do will have consequences and for the first time in a long time, my decisions have had consequences. I’ve realized that being 22 isn’t like it was when I was 18 or even when I was 20. You are rude to a friend, that friend might decide they never want to talk to you again. Spend 100$, you now don’t have 100$ for groceries. You eat McDonald’s, you’ll actually gain weight. Everything has consequences and realizing that is probably the first step to help you make more informed decisions growing up.
For me, I always thought things would naturally fall into my lap. I’ve worked hard for things but for the most part, when I wanted something, it would show up in some way or another. Yes, this is extremely ignorant of me but I knew what hard work could get you but I never wanted to commit. Sometimes, I think this trait has followed me into my adult life. I’m terrified sometimes, that my laziness will overthrow my ambitions and drive to create, enjoy and experience life.
“Everything has consequences and realizing that is probably the first step to help you make more informed decisions growing up.”
It’s almost like a toxic air has engulfed me and my mind since I graduated. I’m afraid to put myself out into the world and I can pinpoint it to two reasons. First because I am petrified of failure and instead of failing I would rather be seen as lazy or an unambitious twenty-two year old. Secondly, I’m unsure if anyone in the world wants to know what I have to say about anything. I’m not wise, I’m not anyone special, I’m just a twenty-two girl from Canada who wants to make movies that makes people cry.
At the end of the day, I believe it’s all about the environment you surround yourself in. Sure, it’s the people, the thoughts and everything around you. I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about the environment you create for others. Ever since I started becoming aware of what I need to do to grow and learn, I’ve been trying to do that. I think it’s your responsibility as a human being to leave everyone and everything you’ve touched feeling refreshed and enlightened.
Sure, I leave a sour taste in some people’s mouths sometimes. But for the most part I try to make everyone around me experience something joyful. Whether it’s a joke, a political discussion or talking about our feelings. It’s almost always better to have those tough discussions so not only can you grow but the other person can learn something from what you two discuss.
“At the end of the day, I believe it’s all about the environment you surround yourself in.”
You might be asking why, what’s the point? Some people’s opinions and thoughts can’t be changed? Absolutely, but last year a very ruthless thing happened to me. Since, I’ve promised myself I would never do what this person did to me. I was told I was poisonous by someone who once meant a lot to me. They knew some of my darkest secrets, especially my fear of failure. To have one person describe me in such a vicious and negative way. Saying I was something that is extremely unpleasant or malicious, crushed me. It was the ultimate decision I needed to know that something had to change, most importantly, in my environment.
Everyone’s opinions and environments are going to be different. But after graduation I realized I was slipping into this negative one again. I could feel myself digging into a hole even deeper than before. To me, realizing this is the first step. I don’t mean I’m depressed by any means, I have days that are harder than others, like everyone does. I mean that I purposely have been placing my negative environment onto the people that mean the most to me.
Sometimes, it’s hard to be vulnerable and especially on the internet. It’s a long, hard, journey but I wouldn’t want to be anyone other than myself on this vast Earth.