Two years ago today, the Hubbster and I loaded up our crap into his Malibu (and a U-Haul, driven by my saint-like father-in-law) and left the nest. We had no jobs. We didn’t even really have solid leads, and we only had enough money to live on for about a month. But we wanted to be in DC, and we were going to make it happen. And guess what? We did. Sometimes I’m not sure how, but we did. And it taught me a lot of things that college never could have prepared me for.
You discover so much about yourself when you’re in college. You make new friends, you find out what you’re interested in both academically and outside of the classroom, and in between keg stands you pick a career path, and come senior year you find a job or apply to grad school to make that career happen. You think you’ve got it all decided. But here’s what they forget to tell you when they hand you that diploma: You may be turning into a “grown-up” and embarking on the real world, but you still have a lot to figure out.
My age group really ’embarked on the real world’ at a shitty economic moment, so our ideal career path was probably already down the crapper even before our first job interview. So what do you do then? You get whatever job you can, and do it well. It’s okay if your first job isn’t your dream job. Just because you’re not making a lot of money, answering phones and doing busy work, doesn’t mean that you’re not talented and capable of doing more. Working hard and excelling at whatever you do will only help you when you’re ready to take the next step, and you’ll learn a lot about what you want from a job.
And it’s not just about work. You don’t stop learning about yourself and growing as a person either. I have so many friends who feel like they have to get it together and be a “grown-up,” and they wonder why they have no idea where they’re going with their lives. They look at me and say how together I have it, but they just focus on the fact that I’m married. They don’t seem to see that I’m going through the exact same things they are. Well, minus the dating part. I’ll admit I am half a step ahead on that front, but it was purely by accident. Fine, I’m married, but I’m still growing as an individual and experiencing the same “what do I want to do with the rest of my life?” turmoil that they are. All I know for certain is that whatever I do will be with the Hubbster. But the rest is completely up in the air.
What’s been really cool about this new phase has been re-discovering my creative side. After focusing on academics for so long, it’s easy to let that part of yourself slip down the list of priorities. But I’m reclaiming it. I’ve been in three community theater productions, I started writing a novel, I’m seriously contemplating buying a sewing machine to make my own clothes and/or learning to play the ukulele, I’m getting back into photography, and most notably, I started this here blog. Maybe I will end up being a writer. Or a photographer. Or a famous, world-traveling ukulele-player.
I’ve learned so much about life, relationships, and myself since we moved into that 500 sq foot studio apartment 2 years ago. I know I don’t usually write these long philosophical posts, but it’s something that’s been on my mind the last few days. Hopefully it will resonate with other 20-somethings who don’t have everything figured out either.
And if it doesn’t, sorry for the ramble, and here’s a cute picture of me and the Hubbster 🙂