Okay, I can admit it. I have used the #PGP hashtag and meant it. In fact, my use of this #hashtag prompted me to question it. Why do we crave our collegiate days in such a way that we can't handle grownup realities?
Of course, it’s more appealing to have limitless time to "find" yourself, parents’ money and alcohol. However, this collegiate lifestyle is like a Band-Aid, people — once you pull it off, you cant put it back on. So here we are, awkwardly scabbing (maybe this metaphor has gotten a bit out of control?) and seemingly inadequately prepared for the post-grad world in which we find ourselves.
I can't help but wonder, was it like this for our parents? Maybe our maladjustment is highlighted by our ability to #hashtag (social media overload). Regardless, we are a generation of individuals in limbo. I say we ditch this #hashtag and invert the negative association. Let’s make post-grad life something to be excited about. Check out the 10 ways to take control of your post-grad life:
1. Make a bucket list.
Okay, yes, it may be a bit depressing to make a list of things you want to do before you "kick the bucket." But, let's look at it from a different perspective: it’s a limitless compilation of things you can and want to accomplish in your lifetime. All of the things you desire not only have a space on this list, but they can also be feasibility accomplished in the next half-century or so. How awesome is that?
2. Watch your favorite childhood movie.
Sometimes, growing up means reflecting on where you have been. Never did you have a clearer picture of your identity than when you were a child. Your dreams knew no boundaries, and it was okay to sing along with talking lions and believe in flying carpets. Take a few hours to connect and visit with your inner child.
3. Go out to eat by yourself.
Yes, I am totally serious. I have actually only recently embraced this step, as it is quite challenging. I have often looked upon the seemingly lonely party of one at a restaurant and wondered how this person could be so brave. It takes a lot of courage to be able to sit down, order and eat by yourself. We cram all of our meals with the company of friends and coworkers that we forget to indulge in some alone time.
Take yourself out to eat on a date. Take your time eating — heck, even order a glass of wine and dessert. You are the person with whom you need to spend some time at this stage in your life.
4. Put yourself out there.
I don't mean go stand in the middle of a busy intersection; select one thing that you have always wanted to do and do it. As I was scrolling through my Facebook feed recently, I was impressed to see a friend had taken up knitting, another starting a blog, one writing a cookbook and another taking a trapeze class. How awesome! Now is the time to play around with hobbies and interests. Leave no rock unturned.
5. Spend time with your family.
They have known you your whole life and they still love you. Don't overlook this. They know it all and have been able to adapt as you have grown and changed. They can remind you of parts of yourself you may have lost sight of and then help you find ways to grow. It takes someone who has seen it all to truly provide you with an accurate reflection of yourself.
6. Plan a trip.
This doesn’t mean you need to go jet setting to Bora Bora, but if you want to, why not? Part of being happy means having something to look forward to. Plan something, whether it’s a weekend with friends or a full-blown vacation. The longer you have to look forward to it, the better the actual experience will be.
7. Take care of your body.
Endorphins make you happy. Your 20s are when you reach your physical peak — make the peak good. You’ll feel better about yourself.
This step will really help you to gain perspective. You want to see a real problem? Get out in your community. Lose yourself in service of others. It’s the best way to positively define your character.
9. Continue to learn.
One of the reasons college is so amazing is that you are constantly learning. You're flexing that cerebral muscle and opening your eyes to new and interesting things. That doesn’t have to end with your collegiate experience. Read a book on a topic you never before explored, download a new language app on your phone and take a class to pick up a new skill. Get those synapses firing!
10. Take a day off.
Not from work, although if you want to, you should definitely do that, too. I mean, take a day off from technology. Turn off your computer and TV. We are constantly inundated with what other people are doing, which leaves us feeling inadequate. Take a day every once in a while to refocus — you wont regret it.
These post grad years should be exciting, fulfilling and, yes, a little bit scary. Don’t let the #PGP get the best of you.
Photo credit: Van Wilder