New Mantra: Don't Be Pushed By Your Problems, Be Led By Your Dreams

When you’re a recent college grad, sometimes it feels like you’re just along for the ride in your own life. Outside factors pull you along and feel like they’re forcing your hand. Jobs are hard to find so you have to take an internship or a less-than-perfect position. You’re living off of a low salary, so you have to live at home for a while. You’re living in a city where you don’t know many people and things can feel lonely. There are many reasons why you aren’t totally in control. This is a frustrating feeling, especially when you’re used to undergrad where you can basically go where you want and do what you want at all times. But there are also many reasons why you’re powerful, despite being new to big kid life.

1.) You have the ability to be irresponsible: Carefully irresponsible, of course. You can’t be day drinking and spending money like it ain’t no thang, but when you don’t have kids and people depending on you, you’re free to take classes and explore new hobbies like you aren’t able to do when you’re older. As all the self-help books say, this is a time of self discovery and whatnot. It’s true though.

2.) You don’t have to have it all figured out: For some reason I always put pressure on myself to have the next ten years of my life figured out. I don’t know why. I realize I’m only 23, but I just need to know what I’m doing now and later and after that. I’m a planner. It’s a gift and a curse. When I get really anxious and can’t sleep at night, I remind myself that I’m still young. Some people change their careers three times. I might too. I will probably move around a bunch. Normally I’m of the “Only dead fish go with the flow” philosophy, but I’m trying to let things unfold as they’re supposed to instead of forcing myself to be the master puppeteer of my own life (save that for the Bye Bye Bye video).

3.) Your circumstances don’t own you: I saw this little sign while I was reading DreamChamps and it got me thinking.

 

It’s so easy to make a decision out of fear or desperation without even realizing it. You stay in a job that you hate because you’re afraid you won’t get another job. You stay in a relationship that’s dead because you fear you won’t find love again. You don’t try something you’ve always wanted to try because you think you might fail or be horrible at it. Yes, sometimes you have to make a decision based on a problem or pressure. Life is not all rainbows and unicorns. You need a job so you have to take what’s available, for instance. But that doesn’t mean you just have to give up and accept the current circumstances. While you’re in that job so you can pay bills, look for another job. Have confidence that you’ll find something you really want to do. Don’t be afraid of being single. Put yourself out there and take that class you’ve always wanted to take. It doesn’t matter if you look ridiculous. No one is judging you as hard as you’re judging yourself.

There have been times in my post-college life where I have literally felt completely powerless. I felt like I was just a cartoon character with someone drawing my actions and thoughts for me. But then I realized that I do have control, even if it’s not absolute. It feels good not to feel like a prisoner in your own life. As soon as you regain power over your own situation your mood changes and you feel much more optimistic. Take control over as much of your life as possible, even if it’s something small. Take a class. Get back into a workout routine. Start applying for new jobs, even if it’s a slow process. As Joan Baez once said, ” Action is the antidote to despair.” This couldn’t be more true. Taking action (no matter how small) will instantly make you feel a million times better about your life.

Have you ever felt like you weren’t in control of your own life once you graduated college? What did you do to regain power? 

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