Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Getting Somewhere

I'm not going to lie to you: graduating from college kind of sucks.

This summer has been a weird limbo, even though I tried so hard to avoid that very situation. But I stayed in the same place I had been in, even though most of my friends moved on, some to do very exciting and important things like the Peace Corps in Madagascar or teaching English in South Korea.

Whereas I was stuck in Ithaca, in a sublet that was filthy and uncomfortable and felt rather unsafe, with a job that, let's be fair, made me miserable. I had thought that I'd be okay at letting hotel guests vent their frustrations on me, but I wasn't. Ultimately, I left that job, deciding that struggling to get more than four hours' sleep a night was not worth it. That being treated like a failure by at least half the people who came through the hotel was not worth it.

I think that, no matter what you end up doing immediately after you graduate, you're struck with this paralyzing fear that you're doing it wrong. I had a full time job and a place to live and everything, and yet I couldn't help but feel like I'd skipped a step. Like there had to be more to it, even right away - that all the hard work I'd put into school for all those years, culminating in a bachelor's degree with highest honors, couldn't possibly put me into a job where people looked at me like I was an idiot eight hours a day unless I had, in fact, made a mistake.

So enough of that. I'm going to worry that I'm failing no matter what I do, it's just my nature. But I don't need a job to reinforce that worry so very strongly.

But now I have things to look forward to. On Saturday, I'll be moving into the real grown up person apartment my roommate and I found. It's beautiful, and it's going to be clean, and OURS in a way no place other than our flat in London, perhaps, has been yet. I'm starting a new job on Monday, which hopefully will not be quite as soul-crushing as the last one. I'm making progress on editing The Long Road Home. And my school friends, those who haven't graduated yet, will be back in Ithaca in a few weeks' time.

I have things to look forward to again. Things to be excited about. I've got an apartment to decorate the way I want it decorated. I've got a job where I (hopefully) won't have to wear a name tag and get demeaned by everyone who walks in the front door. I've got a manuscript with edits that are beginning to look manageable rather than impossibly daunting.

I'm feeling a little bit more like I can do this whole "adulthood" thing, rather than feeling like I've failed before I've even begun.

And hopefully, it'll only go up from here.

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