2015 was an odd year. It was a year filled with incredible highs and unbelievable lows. I traveled a lot. I celebrated others and was myself celebrated. I felt defeated. I felt incredible peace and jealousy and joy and anger and somber. At times I committed myself at levels that surprised me. Other days would take my productivity away and provide only numbness in return. It was a year filled with a number of alterations in everything about my life.
As I finished school in what seems like an eternity ago, I was having a blast. Maybe feeling comfortable is a more equitable way to describe that. I felt complacent in the people I knew, the way I attempted to (often failing) balance my time around my responsibilities. I felt content in the ways I was challenged, but of course I knew that was coming to an end at a precipitous pace. I was applauded for graduating, but I didn’t understand why. I had nothing figured out, but a lousy plan for the summer. Then PANIC. I discarded everything and moved away to another bastion of familiarity.
Before how I talk about how being unemployed has affected me, let me make a couple of things clear. I gave and still am giving it a proper effort. Secondly, the environment that I’m struggling with this issue in is completely and truly the best I can ever expect. I’m surrounded by people that project joy and sometimes for reasons foreign to me, still believes in me. Even with that stated, perhaps you may read this as another entitled young person complaining, and that may be a fair assessment. Others of course, have gone through much more and worse. And maybe for some, this might not be an unique perspective, something that you have felt and dealt with.
Have you ever been rejected? Everyone gets rejected sometimes, right? Maybe you had a crush in high school and got rejected to go to the dance. Maybe you didn’t get into that dream college you had dreamed of. Maybe someone didn’t respond to your message. How did you feel? In the past, some of the stated things above didn’t really affect me. I’d like to think I’m decent at being carefree, especially at things that are out of your reach. However, how would you feel if you were rejected, not just once, but every single day. Every single day for weeks, months, and years?
For me, this crushes me. Every single day, you fill out the same forms. Look over the words you have looked over a thousand times. Tweak the wording. Change the order. Make version 68 of that resume, cover letter, and etc. You send them in, thinking what it’d be like to be in those positions, to live in those places, and how others will think when you finally get a job. Then, forget all about it. Actually, it would be better if you can just forget about it. Afterall, your skills, effort, and ultimately, yourself don’t even deserve a courtesy letter. Go back, and do it again. And again. The list builds up. Ten, fifty, one hundred, then hundreds. Nothing. Each reminds you that you weren’t good enough. Each next day, do it again. Listen to advice from people that sends you in circles. Take off this line. Put the line back in again. Exhaust connections. Do another search. Learn new skills. Keep doing it, seem to spend weeks that leads to nothing.
This may sound silly to you, but this started to affect me in every other areas of my life. Self-doubt creeps into unimaginable areas. Do your friends really want to see a loser who can’t get a job with a degree like mine? What will new people think of me? A friend suggested volunteering to ease my mind. Of course, this is a perfectly sound and helpful advice. At the time, however, I asked myself what I can contribute and could not think of any. What do I offer my family? The thought is cancerous. I masked it out to sleep. It spreads to how you talk to people, how you express yourself, and how you internalize. It is soul-crushing and has made a mark.
Someone who’s gone through far more and knows more about life than I ever will told me that this period of time, ultimately is only a tiny slice of my life timeline. No matter how it resolves, it eventually will. And, God, I really hope it happens soon. This year really affected me in a way that I hoped to describe with this post. The last months of 2015 dominates my mind, and I’m hoping to move past it, choosing to remember the joyous moments. Here’s to 2016, another year to remember.