Recently I was having a conversation with a friend of mine – one who is also experiencing the throes of graduate life. The conversation led to how frustrated we both are because of an overwhelming feeling that we are stuck.
I feel stuck at home. I don’t have enough money to live on my own right now, nor enough money to travel anywhere. To get this money that I need, I have to find a better job than what I’ve had before – a.k.a. a “real” job as some people might put it. However, I lack the proper skills to get the type of job that I want, since I conveniently decided to switch my entire life-plan upon graduation. So, even though I finally feel as though I actually have a sense of what I truly want to do with my life, I have no means to get there. Unless, of course, I take some classes to acquire those skills. But – classes cost money. I don’t have money. We’ve been here before.
It’s a vicious, vicious cycle, friends.
Now, I know that the frustration that comes with a lack of money is being felt by most recent college graduates. Even the people that were lucky enough to know exactly where they were headed and were able to get good jobs right out of school are feeling the sharp knife of student debt – of making money, but not being able to spend a dime, because paychecks are immediately being redistributed to rent checks, to paying off loans, to savings accounts.
I am stuck in a habit of thinking about all the things I cannot have. I want a dog. I to find a way to support myself with my writing. I want to be my own boss. I want a house with a yard, somewhere in-between city and country, preferably near a lake with a dock that I can sit on and watch the sun setting or rising while eating Chinese food. I want the luxury of being able to travel on a yearly basis and bring my friends along with me. This is the (currently) unachievable dream.
My situation is not unique. I am not the only person my age who is still living at home, nor am I the oldest. I am not the only one struggling to find work. I am not the only one who feels as though the entire previous year of my life has somehow culminated in a huge step backwards.
That’s exactly why I started this blog – to find all of you out there who are going through the same thing. To make connections with people who may feel that they are alone in this. To reassure myself that I am not alone in this.
Writing has always been my godsend. It is the one thing in my life that I have never gotten sick of. It is the freedom to actually take a moment to think before I say something. It is the possibility to say something profound in my own way. It is the thing I do when there is simply nothing else I can do.
So here I am. Writing again.
And today, as I write, I am trying to push away what I can’t do in this moment. Instead, I am trying to think about what I can do. Dreams never come true unless you can find a way to root them in reality. For me, that means coming up with definitive steps I can take towards this ultimate goal. The next one, for me, is to get a job. I have been filling out application after application, and now all I can do is wait. I must wait for responses I may never get. I may have to take a job that I don’t want because it will pay the bills. But it is still a step. I have to remember that moving forward does not always feel that way – that sometimes you don’t realize you are growing until you have already grown.
Looking to the future is not inherently bad. It is good to plan, to think about the choices you make now in terms of what they mean for your future. On the other hand, after thinking of the future, you must return to the present. Dreaming and planning are idle activities. Taking action in your present will get you to where to want to be.
I realize that I am running the risk of sounding incredibly preachy, but this is more of a reminder to myself than to anyone else. I am really good at dreaming. I love dreaming. But spending too much time in that way is becoming counterproductive. Right now, dreaming is making me feel more stuck than I am. Currently, my reality is not condoning travel or living on my own, rather it is allowing me to take these small steps forward even though they suck and will require patience.
Get a job. Sign up for classes. Study hard. Work. Save.
These are my steps. They are baby steps, but we crawl before we walk. All that matters is that in the end, I will be in a different place and realizing that it was not for nothing.