Upon graduating from college, I was nervous about my future. Like most graduates, I didn’t know what it would hold. I didn’t have a job lined up, or really a solid idea of what I wanted to do for a career. Nonetheless, I expected things would work out relatively quickly. I expected I would move to some big city, hopefully Boston, and have a great job. I expected I’d likely find some great romantic relationship within a reasonable amount of time as well. I didn’t necessarily imagine my life would be perfect. However, I didn’t forecast I’d living at home 3 and a half years later, without a clear career path in sight.
I guess I didn’t really plan for the unexpected. I didn’t expect my mom would die from cancer as soon as she did. I didn’t expect I would be diagnosed with bipolar and face many challenges to go along with it. I didn’t really expect it would be as difficult a transition as it has been to go from being surrounded by friends and teammates on the rowing team at UNH to living at home where most friends from before college have either moved away or I’ve lost touch with them.
Recently, I’ve had this thought in my head that it feels as if I haven’t really started any new chapter after college. Up until now, there was the chapter of growing up, then high school, then college, and then, well, there is now. I don’t really know what to call it, though. I haven’t established a career, haven’t moved out of the house to “make it on my own” and haven’t really built any new friendships or relationships for the most part. I feel like I’ve been caught in this weird no man’s land, in between college and making it into the “real world.”
Up until recently, I had a lot of nostalgia for college, and maybe that is a part of why I haven’t fully moved on and started a new life yet. I had in my head a wish I could go back to those days. That things were simpler and easier back then. I didn’t have as much worries, I would think to myself.
The funny thing now, though, is that desire to go back isn’t really there anymore. I now see even though there were a lot of great times, it wasn’t all roses. Romanticizing some part of your life is an easy thing to do. It’s much harder to analyze it objectively and think maybe it wasn’t all you once thought it was cracked up to be. Now, I’m not saying it wasn’t a great time and that I didn’t have a lot of great experiences, but I am saying I have realized more and more there is no sense dwelling in the past.
I will be the first person to admit a big reason I am still living at home is my money spending habits. I have always been a relatively impulsive person, manic or not, which has caused me to be a not so thrifty spender. Oftentimes, I have bought concert or sports tickets last-minute, usually pretty impulsively. The last impulsive purchase, which I mentioned in a Facebook post Saturday, was the meet and greet for Demi Lovato this coming March. Now, it’s not like I didn’t know about it leading up. I knew the day it was going on sale in advance, but didn’t know the price. It was, however, impulsive in that I saw the price, knew it was more than I should spend, yet immediately bought it anyways knowing it would sell out fast. After an initial surge of excitement, I knew I had made a financial blunder. Not that I am not looking forward to meeting her, but I spent money well beyond my means.
You see, even when you think things may be looking up, when you may think you have everything under control, there’s a fine line between being positive and being overly optimistic. When I started taking medications for bipolar a year ago, I thought, “Great! Now everything is fixed and my life will take off!” Obviously, that hasn’t really been the case. When things didn’t happen quickly, I became a bit depressed for a period of time. I wrote in an earlier post how I had fixed my spending habits; I’d learned the value of saving money. Well, that hasn’t exactly been the case up until now.
I’m certainly not saying I haven’t had a lot of great experiences over the last few years. I definitely have, and am grateful. However, there has to come a point where I realize I can’t keep shelling out money for things I really can’t afford. I have made that statement before in the past, but the importance of this matter has reached a fever pitch, if you will. Unless I want to live at home forever, which I’m sure nobody wants to be the case, I have to start realizing what is really important when it comes to spending money.
As much as there have been unexpected/ negative things happen in my life, the point of this post isn’t to dwell on them or say how sorry I feel for myself. There are still a lot of positives I can identify, even though my life hasn’t exactly been a smooth ride since graduating from college.
For one, I still have a chance at life. As simple as it may seem, I have to be grateful I was able to get through my mom’s death. I have to be grateful I was able to get through the worst of my bipolar when it was untreated, along with coming to terms with being diagnosed with it. I have started to run again slowly after not being very active for a period of time, which is something I can be positive about and build on.
As frustrating as it may be to not have a career path right now, it is somewhat exciting. The possibilities are still wide open. Before my dad got his current job as a paraprofessional, I told him it only takes one interview or company to like you to get a job. It turns out he only had to go on one interview in order to get hired. I have to remind myself of that, as it is easy sometimes to dish out advice and not really take it to heart in your own life.
I am grateful for the support I have received from friends and family members. There are a lot of people who really do care, even though I can tend to trick myself into sometimes thinking I am not all that loved at all. Without people caring about me and noticing when things were amiss, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Things would be far worse. I may not have the same chance at life I mentioned earlier.
The point of my post, as the title says, is life isn’t always perfect or what you expect it to be. Although things haven’t happened at the speed I initially thought they would, I still have faith the things I expected upon graduating college will come sooner or later. I have faith things work out how they’re supposed to, even if you don’t see why when you’re in the thick of things. All I can do really today is try to learn from the mistakes I have made in the past, along with being as positive as I can about the future.