From Graduation to Adulting

Adulting after graduation

It's graduation season. These days graduations begin at kindergarten. Tiny mortarboards and gowns. We should be used to it by now. All that “Seize the Day!”, and “Here Are the Things That Really Matter…”

If you are graduating, it’s daunting. Wait, didn’t you just finish something? Wasn’t it a great accomplishment?  Why all this talk about “the world is your oyster”? I don’t want to think about that huge responsibility quite yet…

If you are attending someone else’s graduation, the speeches remind you of all the things you haven’t quite accomplished…

It seems that everyone I talk to lately is re-evaluating his or her life. Maybe it’s the giant political upheaval/polarization that is going on in our country and Europe. Things suddenly seem a lot less stable. Where are we going as a country? As a planet? This line of thinking eventually leads us to our own life path. Where is it headed? And why does that person on the podium keep saying we can do absolutely anything? That’s not true, is it? Because if it is, I may have screwed up big time.

Why does that voice on the podium sound so terribly familiar? Because it is the voice on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, whatever. EVERYTHING is available, EVERYTHING is achievable, and, worst of all, EVERYTHING is already being done by all our “friends”.

Anxiety is at an all-time high in our culture these days. I see people in my office every day that are absolutely overwhelmed by all the choices and how to discriminate among them.

This problem is not new, but its scope is exponentially greater. Women who grew up in the 1950’s and 60’s were suddenly told in the 70’s that they didn’t need to be stay-at-home moms, they could get jobs and “have it all”. The stay-at-home mom (a gross misnomer if ever there was one!) vs. working mom debate still rages– both between these groups and within the hearts and minds of moms who need to make a choice one way or another. But in today’s fast-paced information-rich culture, the choices are limitless. Every idea you have you can google, and then follow link upon link into some kind of Never-Never Land of infinite options.

The Big Lie is that because we have all these options, we should be able to find one that is exactly meant for us. There is something out there that speaks perfectly to our knowledge, our skills, and our preferences. Maybe. Many people also think that if they find this magical way to spend their time and energy, it will also always be fun and interesting. Nope. And here’s the problem with this belief- it leaves us frozen, unable to act.

What we need to do is- just try. Find something that looks pretty good, somewhat promising, and TRY IT. Make it our own. See how we can add value, given the constraints of whatever we have chosen. If you are doing this now, just trying to do something, but it doesn’t feel like the right thing, or it’s the right thing but you think you’re doing it wrong, well, that’s the process. That’s exactly what searching for your passion is supposed to look like. Be as patient as you can, and trust in the process.

What we need to know is- it won’t be perfect. It is 99% likely that it won’t even be what we want to ultimately pursue. And, we might even suck. News flash- if you are only doing what you are already good at, you are not going to grow and shine. Get out of your comfort zone.

What we need to (learn to) feel is- okay. Yup, not “fantastic”, just “okay”. The truth is, 90% of us feel inadequate. Feeling okay is a giant step up. And once you can feel okay, and be good with feeling okay, then you are free to experiment out of your comfort zone– because no matter what, you are okay. No one can take that away from you. Btw- this is where therapy helps. Feeling okay is, much of the time, so much harder than it looks.

And on the way to whatever, while exploring ways you might find your passion, the magic happens. You begin to shine. You thrive.

The world is your oyster

So yes, the world is your oyster, Graduates– But have you ever seen an oyster? They’re ugly. They’re dirty and sandy. They smell. They’re hard to open. And most of them don’t have pearls. But if you look, if it doesn’t matter to you that so many of them don’t have pearls, if you can just enjoy the experience of looking– well, then, you’ve got it all figured out. You begin to realize that the looking is the point. And maybe you’ll find a few pearls along the way.

Interested in exploring more ways to find your passion and live your best life?

Finding a therapist or a life coach can be confusing and frustrating! Please feel free to call or email me for a free 20 minute phone consultation. We can discuss how therapy might be helpful for you, and I will be happy to help you find someone in your area who might be a good fit.