March marks the one and a half year anniversary since I packed up two very large suitcases and jet-set across the country to begin a new adventure. The past year and a half have been filled with countless wonderful moments and periods of personal growth but there have also been a fair share of challenges. And so as I get ready to embark on the long journey back [home] to New York aka land of mouthwatering pizza slices, yellow taxi cabs, questionable fashion and overpriced trendy milkshakes that are taking the country by storm (click here if you have no idea what I’m talking about), I thought I’d take a brief moment to reflect on a few of the lessons I’ve learned since moving cross-country as a petrified and clueless post-graduate.
- Never underestimate the power of community. We as humans, have an innate desire to be connected to something bigger than ourselves. Finding a community where you fit in is essential to not only surviving, but thriving in the real world. Maybe you find community within your workplace, your gym, your intramural sports league or even your geographic radius. Community means something different for everyone – find what it means to you and embrace it.
- Your path will become [more] clear when you surround yourself with the right people. This may have been the hardest but also the most important lesson I’ve learned thus far. The old saying goes “sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince.” Making friends post-college can feel a lot like dating. It takes serious work and trial & error. Most likely you will not clique with every single person you meet and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’ve learned it’s when you fully immerse yourself into your hobbies and passions, that you will meet your people. And when you meet your people, everything will become more clear. Which leads me to my next point…..
- You will experience personal growth if you are willing to step outside your comfort zone. Trying new things can be terrifying but I’m sure that’s not news to you. We’ve been conditioned as a society to be afraid of failure. But what if the fear of not trying something new was actually just as scary, if not scarier, than jumping in head first? I challenge you to do one thing a day that pushes you to step outside your comfort zone. Maybe it’s saying hello to someone as they enter the elevator or offering to help an elderly person with a simple task. Hell, maybe it’s summiting Mt. Rainier. Whatever it is, just do it and don’t look back.
- Don’t rush your twenties. It seems as though mid-twentysomethings are in a such a hurry to grow up – to advance to the next stage in our career, buy our first home, climb the corporate ladder, even pop out a few kids! But why? We have our whole lives ahead of us to “conform” to these social norms (if that’s the life you choose). But for now, while we are young and effervescent, let’s take this time to embrace our freedom and live in the present moment. There’s no rush to be a fully-functioning adult right now because well….adulting is hard.
- Life is really freaking expensive. Most likely the most brutal awakening to the real world is the plethora of expenses that come with being a working adult. Between paying astronomical rent to live in a 10×10 room, making hefty monthly student loan payments and tending to all the social obligations you’ve committed to, the expenses add up REAL QUICK. My advice for managing money: Create a budget and prioritize the things which are really important in your life. You’ll be shocked to find how much money you can save when you eliminate the things that don’t bring value.
These are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned since moving to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I can’t wait to continue to share my knowledge and growth with you as life happens.
What lessons have you learned since being thrown into the deep end of the real world? Don’t be shy….I know I’m not alone!