Yesterday on my Facebook time lapse feed a photo of one of my best friends and I at my college graduation lunch popped up. Facebook kindly reminded me that it has been two years since I have said goodbye to college and hello to the world of being an actual adult (or something close to it). The past few years have been a struggle in many ways! If we wanted we could use the cliche analogy of pushing a baby bird out of the nest so it could learn to fly. In this instance, I am the baby bird that repeatedly hits the branches on the way down yet somehow has managed to not quite hit the ground…yet. Luckily this stage of early adulthood has taught me a lot of lessons bore from both success and struggle.
1.Most Grown Ups don’t go to Bed at 9:30
Night owls won’t find the same shock value in this statement…but I recently came to the realization that if I want to maintain a social life, a full time job, blogging, exercising and feeding/bathing myself…I cannot maintain a 9:30 bedtime. I’ve also learned that perhaps a 9:30 bedtime was a little extreme anyways. If SO MANY other 24 year olds can manage to stay awake through the day off of 4 hours of sleep, I can make do with 7.
2. There isn’t as much of a Professional Filter in the Workplace as I would expect.
Going into the “real” workforce with my first internship I expected most of my coworkers would keep certain aspects of their personal lives…personal. People marvel that I write a somewhat revealing blog. It is a fact that a coworker could easily stumble across this blog and learn about past relationships, friend drama, beliefs, etc. It takes a degree of emotional vulnerability to share so much of myself on the internet. That being said- chances are most of my coworkers will not care enough to seek out my blog and research me. Even my own mother does not care enough to show up to this space and read my blog daily (it’s okay, I understand). Yet, I know so many intimate details about current and previous coworkers pasts, struggles, relationships, etc. I never had to care enough to go searching because most people have no issue laying out the somewhat intimate details of their life in person. I’m not sure that I find the lack of a professional filter among so many individuals problematic (it’s actually quite interesting) but rather an observation that reminded me “simply being an adult does not make you inhumanly flawless”.
3. Wanting to “Fit In” doesn’t Ever End Completely.
Since I first started watching The Bachelor and Bachelorette series I realized how mind numbingly fake and absurd the program was. I could never actually feel an ounce of emotion towards the winning couple’s love story because my views on real love don’t allow me to emotionally invest in something so contrived. I can’t say these criticisms out loud though because it annoys people who like the show (understandably) and it could easily be combatted with the question “why do you watch it then?“. It’s a good question. I’ve discovered the reason I watch The Bachelor and Bachelorette comes from the same inherent desire that caused me to beg for a brightly colored Juicy Couture velour tracksuit when I was 14,the desire to be liked. I’m a socially awkward person but I can also admit I like friends. I particularly like being friends with girls because they like to drink mimosas and talk about shoes and they almost never surprise me by drunkenly trying to make a move on me. I realized a lot of girls that fall into my peer group like The Bachelor and while I can’t get behind the Kardashians to make friends, I am not entirely unwilling to support a franchise for the sake of a conversation piece. I know I can’t be the only person who looks at popular entertainment this way.
4. Imposter Syndrome is Prevelant.
Starting a new job and meeting a new set of coworkers from diverse and interesting backgrounds is such a fun experience. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about each person’s education, career experience and creative hobbies. Occasionally the thought creeps into my mind “All of these people are so cool, and they all know so much about this field…how did I slip through?”. It is an insecure mindset I think so many of us face (especially in our early careers). The idea that we are somehow less equipped than our peers or that at any moment someone will discover we really aren’t cut out for whatever it is we are doing. Imposter syndrome can negatively impact your career as well as your sense of self worth. I find it helpful to mentally take a step back and remind myself of the reasons why I am qualified for my position.
5. Each new Job, Relationship or Season will Illuminate your Strengths and Weaknesses in New Ways
I could write an entire
book blog post on this subject (and it’s possible that I will one day), but to keep I’ll keep it as short and sweet as possible. We are constantly growing and evolving, each new situation in life shows us new strengths and weaknesses. I have accepted I won’t be able to perfect myself, but I can work to improve who I am now to better face the internal and external obstacles I will encounter in the future.
6. The Tightest, Skimpiest Outfit isn’t Always the Cutest Outfit.
I went through a phase in college when I wholeheartedly embraced the phrase “If you’ve got it, flaunt it”. I still advocate for body positivity and support anyone’s choice to wear what they feel confident, comfortable and sexy in. Looking good doesn’t always equate with the teeniest crop top or shortest skirt (although sometimes those looks are fun). Over the years since graduating from college I’ve realized I don’t always want to focus on revealing the most that I can, and this more adult style of dressing can be sexy too.
7. We Worry too much about Finding a Passion
I recently heard a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert while listening to a TED Talk about creativity. She emphasizes if you’re at a point where you don’t know or understand what your passion is (because for so many of us passions are an unreachable and unattainable fantasy) forget about following your passions and follow your curiosities. She states “It might lead you to your passion or it might not. You might get nothing out of it at all except a beautiful, long life where all you did was follow your gorgeous curiosity. And that should be enough too”. Hearing this quote by Elizabeth Gilbert was so freeing and thought provoking! I can’t wait to read her book “Big Magic” all about living creatively.
This post isn’t meant to be a compilation of my deepest wisdom but rather of minor epiphanies here and there that have formed my thoughts on life outside of academia. What odd realizations have you come to realize?