don’t stick to the rivers and lakes like you’re used to
I don’t like to think of myself as someone who make’s brash decisions, but I honestly have spent my life, in a sense, chasing waterfalls.
I don’t know how many people know this, but when I decided to finally come to Pepperdine, it was without ever seeing the campus in person. I knew the area and had been to Disneyland, San Diego and all the other places sad, rain-drenched Oregonians go on vacation, but I had no idea what the actual campus was like. All that I knew about Los Angeles I had seen in movies like Crash and Big Fat Liar. I just figured if my life was going to completely change when I went to college, I had to make a bold move. In the end, I came because I just knew.
It’s only fitting that I’m taking another gigantic leap of faith after college. These long, sun-baked Los Angeles streets are getting too familiar. I feel- dare I say it- comfortable going eighty miles per hour down a mid-city highway in the dead of night or eating street tacos from a foodtruck with a “B” health and safety rating.
So here I am, paging through Craigslist ads in search of a room in San Francisco and wondering why I’m moving to the nations most gentrified bay. I’m getting ready for another shot in the dark and really have no solid reason as to why I’m taking such an awkwardly timed opportunity. However, it’s progress towards my end goal of moving to the Netherlands. Yes, I know it’s random but it’s what keeps me up at night and gets me up in the morning. I’ve been thinking about it ever since I knew I would soon be done with school and didn’t quite know what was next. It’s weird when you run out of years of school. It’s like a train running out of track or finishing all the cheese before the crackers in your Lunchable, but I digress.
For the most part, our lives are governed by the school calendar until we finish college or high school. We’re use to the cycle of Fall usering in new friends and classes as well as the same stresses we get accustomed to. We get good at school. It doesn’t matter what academic level, we can handle it. Some of us, not me, with our eyes closed. School becomes our whole life. Then one day, you put on a silly polyester robe and funny hat, take some pictures with your family and get handed a piece of paper that says it’s over.
It’s then that we’re faced with the possibility of truly making our own choices. Where will I live? What do I want to do with my life? Who am I actually going to make an effort to stay connected with? It’s all up for debate and unless you have no aversion to marching boldly into the cold and expensive reality that is adult life, it can get you down.
Honestly, I wish I could tell you that adult life is an expressway to your dreams coming true. I also want to paint a beautiful picture of my life that supports my own decisions but that picture would only portray alternative facts. Adult life is being caught in the wide inbetween where you no longer fully relate to your friends in school and the guy in the cubicle next to you is 8 years, 1 marriage, 1 dog, a house and 2 kids your senior. It can feel like there’s no space for you. You’re out on your own and only tethered to your own self perception rather than an institution or immediate goal, like finishing school.
But slowly, oh so slowly, you start to see glimpses of how life may just come together. Projects trickle into your day and fill in the gaps classes and homework once occupied. Coworkers make up for the classmates you use to wave at on your walk across campus. You really liked your college dorm? You’ll learn to appreciate the peace and quiet of your first apartment. It’s all part of learning to trust the process of growing up because it’s not done yet. Ultimately, it’s never done if you’re doing it right.
But here’s the real beauty of the process.
You need to think of this time as a space to workshop new material, try new things and work very very hard. It’s time to scare yourself and go out on a limb. So take the time to work on your passions and use your energy to make the rest of your life something to look forward to. No one else is going to the put in the time or know exactly who you want to be. Know what makes you happy and follow it. Follow it to a dream company that does amazing work. Follow it to stay close to the people who matter the most to you. Follow it to another city where you don’t know anyone. That is why we have this space. Life isn’t trying to make you feel lost- self doubt is and it won’t do you any good. There are too many people in the world who will say “No” to you. Don’t let yourself join in.
So that’s what I’m thinking about as I traverse the large, dull void that is an entry-level job. Each day you wake up, do your best, trust yourself and stay ready for your next opportunity, because it is coming to you as soon as you’ve earned it and are ready to leap again.