It’s not all that easy, but it’s more how you navigate this time in your life.

Flashback to 4 years ago. “The world is your oyster!” Right? That’s what I thought. Living with about 8 guys my senior year of college left me with the feeling of being on top of the world. There was always someone going out, hanging out, or simply someone to talk to. It’s times like these that I really took for granted my senior year of college and the three years prior. I guess it wasn’t until I moved away and didn’t get to see these people everyday like I used to, that I realized this “Real World” life is over and it’s time to navigate on your own.

Fast forward to 2 years later. I started graduate school for counseling psychology and my grades were perfect. School did not stress me out, however socially, I had nothing. My life was filled with meaningless relationships, nights out until 2am pretending that I was still in college, and stress from being financially unstable. I tried it all though; therapy, working out, meeting new people. However, just as fast as a new friendship began. It ended. And just as fast as some new romantic relationship started, it ended. I often wondered why, but I had no idea. This was all around when I was 24–25. Finding out how to navigate life on my own was not as easy as I had expected. I often displaced my problems and own struggles on other people in my life, which pushed them away. No surprise there, but at the time that was hard for me to realize. The truth was, I had no idea who I was. I was angry, confused, and lonely for the first time in my life. I found no pleasure in anything in life, although I could fake it pretty damn well that everything was great.

I hid this from everyone around me because I didn’t want to create more stress in other peoples lives, and I hated the idea of people “worrying” about me. That’s the funny thing about hiding or denial, it’ll often come back and display itself in a really ugly fashion. And it did. Smashed iPhones, self harm, and blacking out was more of a norm for me when I was 24–25. I thought I could figure it out on my own and it turns out, I couldn’t.

I started thinking to myself about what I was studying in school and how it related to my own life. I never thought of myself abusing alcohol because I did not depend on it, but I was. That was probably the hardest fact I needed to face in my life at 26, but also the best.

I feel much better mentally, physically, and emotionally then I ever have before. Working full time and having a consistent workout routine is how I spend my days now, but I’ll never forget the days of who I used to be, or those who helped me when I needed it most.

I wrote this article not only for self reflection, but also for others who may be in a similar situation as I was.