This is Water: Life after University
Congratulations on making it through yet another week of your life! Was it worthwhile? Was it full of adventures or did it feel on the mundane, 9-5, grocery shopping and bills, sleep-eat-work-repeat side of things?
I am not about to launch into a public service announcement, but I do want to think about something that I have been hearing lots about lately: Adult life can be boring.
Recently, I was out to dinner with some girl friends and one of them mentioned that after university, one almost has to court their new friends. Meeting people is harder when you are not working on projects and studying for exams together, and you enter a new world where there are fewer people in the exact same place of life as you.
What happens when you aren’t in a foreign country doing exotic things for a living, but are commuting to work, working regular hours, and need to be in bed by 10 pm so you can be of use the next day? Is it a resignation? A despair? A relief?
Another friend recently voiced concern over an impending graduation and the wild, open world of post-grad adulthood looming. “What will I do?”
The truth is, no matter how much you love your job, jumping from four years of varying schedule and a life in constant flux and learning to a regular routine with the mundane realities of adult life can cause you to narrow your sights, dampen some of your dreaming and scheming and quite frankly, allow you to become a bit self centred in the regular rhythms of your life. Recently, I stumbled across this video and although it is a bit lengthy, I highly encourage you to watch it. It has a brilliant perspective on this.
Thinking about what others are thinking, feeling and struggling through is a beautiful way to continue with the critical thinking that you have fine tuned through university, instead of leaning on a natural default setting of thinking about only your personal experience in a frustrating situation.
As for handling the reality of routine, both frustrating and beautiful, these are a few things I have done to help keep the forward momentum instead of settling into a default setting:
1. Set goals. I am constantly monitoring my progress in things that I enjoy and trying to grow as a person. I made a vision board in January and I set smaller monthly goals to help me achieve them. This helps me see the big picture and honestly, a vision board WORKS. I see my goals every day on the way out the door and it is the kick in the pants I need to get on the ones I am falling short in.
2. Incorporate things you look forward to. For me, I do it with races. Racing provides a wonderful seasonality for me with big races in the spring and fall with summer and winter for training. Racing allows me to network, travel and try new things.
3. Join a local group with similar interests. Again on the running thing, I am a part of three local running groups/teams/training buddies that I meet with at least once a week. Aside from that, I am beginning a book club with some of my literary friends from university to keep me reading, talking and writing about good literature. And what better way is there than on a porch, surrounded by book nerds like yourself?
4. Never stop learning new things. A lot of the most inspiring people I talk to never really left school even though they have full time jobs. In the fall, I am going to be taking some more schooling to help me get better at my job and push me a little bit further in my career. Aside from that, I try to learn new skills; this weekend I am joining a friend who owns a successful flower shop and learning how to arrange bouquets and install them at weddings. Will I ever use it again? Maybe not, but I am excited to try..
5. Don’t stop dreaming big. If there is an event/job/ambassadorship program or anything really that I think I am not good enough for, I still pitch for it. Getting used to hearing “No” with constructive criticism helps me to get better. I don’t try to manage my expectations – I just try to expect the very best every time.
This past week, my close friend sent me this quote:
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, Nor how it compares to other expression. It is simply your business to keep the channel open.
– Dancer Martha Grah
Mediocrity is NOT an option. Have a wonderful week of celebrating your routine and inserting your own adventures into it!
What do you do to keep from getting pulled into a dull routine?