Like most people, I spent half my senior year trying to avoid feeling anything if I could, but there's one emotion I was always making a conscious effort to steer from: fear.
There's a reason college seniors spend more time at the bar than in class. Those 20-somethings are drunkenly saying goodbye to the last bit of a socially acceptable time they have to be completely irresponsible.
Living out your final college days is your prerequisite to real life, and this is where we start to hyperventilate.
This innate fear stems from the unknown of life after graduation. Will you be interning at your dream company or trudging back to your part-time high school gig?
How long will mom and dad let you bum off them before they start asking for rent (and noticing they’re still paying your cell phone bill)? Why did everyone collectively decide that 21 is the appropriate age to get married?
Breathe in; breathe out.
I'm here to tell you that you can be scared; it's normal and completely okay, but do not, under any circumstances, let the fear paralyze you. Your 20-something years are your most motivating years, so don't waste them!
When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful. -- Eric Thomas
Okay, yes, that sounds a bit intense, but if you listen to the entire metaphoric story, it'll collectively click in your brain.
I promise, for the ambitious beings out there, you'll love it (and might even be idiotically inspired to sign up for a half marathon -- like me!).
That short speech made me realize that your 20s are scary, but they're also the most motivational years of your life. Why? For the same reason they're scary: the unknown.
Don't believe me? Yes, we graduated, have a shiny new degree and might not know what to do with it, but it's also liberating.
The world is whatever you create. You just have to go out there and do something! Anything your little heart drives you to do (granted it's legal and morally ethical) is the right direction.
I have friends who landed their first jobs with HUGE companies, friends who are going to Korea to teach English and friends who are focusing on training for a marathon.
Could you do this in your 40s? Maybe, but who wants the ball and chain or kids to drag you down? (I swear; I'm maternal at heart.)
Your 20-something years are about exploring yourself. You fall down and pick yourself up again, but you keep going because you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe.
Whether you do this through your career, hobbies or even dating life, your 20s are the years when people expect you to do the unexpected because you're still figuring it out.
I know people who found their passion and motivation completely outside of their majors or jobs and are now headed in a totally different direction. I always say if you find your passion, you’re halfway there.
Once you're finished rolling your eyes, hear me out. In high school, we're motivated by our peers. Sad? Yes, but that's how hormonal teenage years go.
In college, we're motivated by our grades (and our parents' right to kick our ass if we don't do well). We balance a social life and a stress-filled academic schedule because mom and dad are scary enough to motivate us.
What about after high school and college? What motivates us in real life? Here's the key: You get to choose. Whatever you choose, make sure it's right for you. Make sure you want it as bad as you want to breathe.
The beautiful part of entering the real world is that you're naive to the rest of reality and can focus on your core motivation: your passion.
Life, the man or whoever else is responsible for turning our adventurous college grads into self-loathing work machines hasn't touched you yet.
If spent correctly, we can harness our 20-something motivation to guide us through life. At least, that's what I plan on doing.
Who's with me?
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It