Recently, I’ve been feeling out of sorts. I feel lost, unsure of what my next move is. Unsure of the path that I’m going to take. Hell, unsure of the path that I want to take. This uncertainty has led to a whole host of other issues- desperation, sadness, laziness, apathy, defensiveness, and jealousy, just to name a few. I feel like I’m stuck and like I’m wasting time. My anxiety has reached an all-time high. To sum it up, I’ve had a rough few months.
I graduated from college almost three months ago. I earned two bachelor’s degrees. I have my teaching license to teach secondary social science in the state of Illinois. However, since I finished my student teaching I have been working full-time at the small grocery store where I’ve worked since I was 16. For the most part, I enjoy my job and it makes ends meet. Since it is a grocery store in a small town, I see a lot of the same customers every day. Many of them have taken an interest in my life, as I have in theirs. Lately, I’ve been hearing the same question from my regular customers day in and day out: “Have you found a job yet?” They aren’t trying to be rude or pushy; they’re genuinely interested and concerned. But, every time the question is asked, I shut down. I am instantly irritated and I feel my anxiety start to creep up. I cringe telling them “Nope, I’m just working full-time here for now.” I feel the need to justify myself by saying “I’m gonna get a teaching job for next fall” or “I’m moving out of state in August so I’m not looking for jobs here.” Some of them tease me about procrastinating, several of them suggest openings for me or substitute teaching jobs that are available. Some of them ask me every. single. time. they come in. Even though they all mean well, I let it bother me way more than it should.
I was complaining about it the other day and my mom said to me “You’re just a little sensitive about it.” I knew she was right. When I complain about it to my family or my friends, I hear myself being over-sensitive and defensive. I know I’m being silly. Since my mom made that comment, it keeps coming back to me. Why am I so sensitive about it? And I think I’ve figured out why. It’s because I am so uncertain when it comes to my future plans. It’s because I am insecure about the fact that I am a college graduate still working at my high school job. Its because I see classmates that I went to school with coming in to the store in nurse’s scrubs or professional clothes, knowing they have started their careers and I haven’t. Its because I see people my age on social media who look like they have their life figured out and my life is kind of a mess. Its because I have two degrees and a teaching license and I’m not sure I even want a teaching job anymore. I have all of these feelings of insecurity and uncertainty and when people point out that I don’t have it together by saying things like “Oh you graduated? You haven’t found a job?” it brings up the anxiety and disappointment I’m feeling in myself and I blame them for those feelings. I’m making them the reason for those emotions instead of looking to myself to figure out why their questions upset me so much.
I know that I’m being a little ridiculous. Instead of continuing to let it bother me so much, I’m trying to keep reminding myself of a few things:
- I am 22 years old. I have a lot of life ahead of me. I don’t need to be in a hurry to start a career or figure out my entire life.
- Most people do not have it as together as it appears. I see bits and pieces of peoples’ days. I don’t see the parts that people don’t want to share. Usually on social media, people share their successes and accomplishments, not so much their failures or their breakdowns. No one has a perfect life. I am not the only one struggling. And, I’m much more fortunate than many people.
- Most importantly, what I do or don’t do with my life is essentially no one’s decision but my own. It doesn’t matter if people judge me for working at IGA for nearly 7 years. It doesn’t matter if people think lesser of me for not having a big girl job yet. If you’ve read my past blog posts, you know I struggle with over-sensitivity. Truly, I know that most people aren’t judging me or thinking down on me. Truly, I know that I am judging myself much too harshly. All I need to do is be happy with myself and my decisions, and if I am truly happy, the opinions of others won’t bother me.
The main thing I’m working on coming to terms with, and what I want anybody out there who is struggling to hear, is that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to not have your shit together. It’s okay to not have yourself figured out. It’s okay to not feel like you know the direction your life is headed. It’s okay to have breakdowns and anxiety attacks. It’s normal, it’s human. What is not okay, is being too hard on yourself for not being okay. It’s not okay to give up or quit trying to figure it out, just cause you feel desperate or hopeless. It’s not okay to continuously compare your life to the lives of other people who may not be in the same place as you. I am so happy for people who are happy with themselves, people who feel at peace with who they are and what direction their life is headed. I’m sure it is an amazing feeling and I love that I’ve seen so many people recently who seem to be in this position. That will be me someday, I know it will. It’s okay that I’m not there yet. I’m working on it.
“Don’t worry about finding your “passion.” Instead, start by acting on the small things that excite you or spark your interest each day. These are the threads that will connect you to a path of fulfillment.”- Ruben Chavez // IG: thinkgrowprosper
I read this quote several days ago and it has really stuck in my head. Something that I’ve always struggled with is finding something that I can consider my “passion.” Something that would lead to a career that I love. My goal for the next few months is to quit worrying so much about the future and start doing things each day that I enjoy and that excite me. Eventually, I’ll figure it all out but for now, I’m going to embrace the mess and work on accepting myself for the work in progress that I am.