College is a time when people decide what they want through trial and error. In the classroom, you’re subjected to different material and are shown all of the possibilities available to you for a career.
You go out, meet people and decide who belongs in your life long-term and who should be cut off after graduation.
During college conversations among friends, the details of life are hashed out and the future is discussed. People talk about how many kids they’d like to have or where they’d like to live for the rest of their lives. Whether or not you have a plan, it’s hard to say what your future will really look like.
But, as soon as you walk across the stage at graduation, life turns into a big question mark. People tend to fall into two categories: those who have internships or jobs and those who don’t.
Either way, you think you know what you want. But, as soon as life after graduation gets started, everything you thought was set in stone becomes as erasable as the answers on a scantron.
Right now, you might live at home, which is totally fine. Get a job and save up. Make a new set of rules with your parents that both satisfies your independence and is also respectful of their lifestyle.
Give yourself a deadline and an amount of money to save and you’ll be renting your first apartment in a few months time.
This could lead to greater things than you might have ever imagined. If you’ve gotten serious at work because you’re focused on saving money, chances are, your work ethic has also stepped up.
Your boss will notice your attitude and might help you out with the next steps in your career. Being proactive to get out of the house might help you find opportunities in other cities -- and before you realize what’s happening, you’ve moved to Chicago and have a secure, mid-level job.
Right now, you may not want kids, and that is totally fine. As a 23-year-old, it’s a very valid opinion to think kids smell like puke and ruin lives — because they can. They change your whole world. You can’t run off on last-minute vacations or get really tipsy on a Tuesday when you have kids.
But, that doesn’t mean you should write them off completely. Babies are impressionable and learn from every single thing you do. If you ever wanted to stick it to your parents, now is the time. If you want to raise a boy who respects women in ways beyond any man you ever met, now is the time.
Sometimes, the future is so far in advance that it’s fun to suppose. You think about things one day with one perspective that might lead you down one road for a few years. Somehow, there is always a turning point and a time for reflection.
And oftentimes, this reflection period leads to the realization that you don’t want the same things you may have wanted four years ago. And that’s okay. Humans are born with the ability to change their minds and it is a right that should be exercised at any point.
So, if the future seems daunting, that makes sense. It’s the unknown and it’s scary. But, that’s the beauty of it. Just like it’s hard to plan what you’ll feel like eating for dinner in two weeks, it’s hard to know beyond a rough outline of what you want in the future.
The more rigid you are about planning every little detail of your life, the worse it’s likely to go. Until life is actively happening, it’s hard to say what you will want from it.
So, be open. Practice openness every day, until you get to the place you think you’re going. Go with the flow and let life happen to you.
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