Navigating Post-College Life: Anxiety, Stress, and Making Moves Out of Lemons

USA

Le Sigh

I’ll be honest, I kinda hate it here.

If things went as we plan this would be a fluffy, quasi self-important 6-month update on my life in the Pacific Islands.

But life is… She’s just not here to bend to the rigid plans you set for your life.

The past 6 months have been: apartment hunting, job hunting, emergencies, friendships scattering, and bills, bills, bills. It’s been a lot.


Warheads

We’re all familiar with stress, but this is a kind of stress I was not prepared for. When you’ve spent 22 years of your life in truncated terms with clear endpoints marked by obvious endings like semesters and exams or grades and graduations, being flung into the pits of adulthood with no end in sight is overwhelmingly confusing.

It’s stress, anxiety, and self-doubt. How are you supposed to transition into independent adulthood when there’s no clear blueprint anymore? All I knew was that I was supposed to go to school, find good internships in the midst, and then find a job that leads to THE job. What in the world does that even mean? How exactly do you get there? Nobody bothered to build a Google Maps after school. Those questions are not any easier when you’re living an unconventional life.

Suddenly, the expectations you had for the life you were going to lead seem distant. There are so many other things that take priority. It starts to feel like you are drowning in responsibilities, expectations, and disappointment. Mistakes feel a lot more serious, setbacks more debilitating, and risks so much scarier. This isn’t like failing a class anymore, you can’t retake lost income.

Sour: Lost the chance to move to the Pacific Islands. Moved to a new city without a job or a place to live.

Lemonade

It took me months of drowning, but I finally sat with the stress and anxiety settle. I sat with them and myself. I realized I feared disappointing myself more than anything else. The world can already be such a disappointing place, and the transition into adulthood was so jarring I froze at the idea of risking more.

If I don’t risk anything else of myself then I can’t possibly lose anything.

I got caught up in the idea that every stage of my life had to be a monumental chapter of my dreams and goals coming true. But I’m also only 22. Not everything will or should happen right now. Where is the growth if everything you wanted just happened when you expected it would?  I guess I never expected my immediate goals to be closer to long term dreams.

When you’re in the middle of overwhelming choices and decisions just being can be so hard. Sit with your feelings, no matter how overwhelming. It helped remind me how far I had come. That no matter how far I feel like I veered off from my plans I was still moving forward. The biggest risk I took during my panic was also the best decision I made for myself.

Add a little bit of sugar: Moved to a city I’ve always wanted to live in. Rooming with my friend and neighbors with the rest. Finally secured income.

Limoncello

Once I forced myself to account for all the positive I allowed into my life it became easier to accept the changes. You can’t control everything—sometimes even your own life—and sometimes you shouldn’t. It’s not by force.

Isn’t the whole point of Shut Up And Go is about experiencing the now. I lost sight of that.

I won’t be able to grow or evolve if I’m not willing to learn from what life is trying to teach me. What’s the point of living in one of my favorite cities with some of my most iconic friends if I’m not making memories worth remembering?

A splash of liqueur: Lived in the moment. Went out. Visited friends. Enjoyed a charcuterie board or two.

Candied Lemons

No one ever said life is going to be cute, so set yourself some short-term plans that allow you to figure out (and enjoy) your long-term goals. Advice I got from a friend recently, and something I plan to stick to.

It was never easy. It hasn’t been easy. It’s never going to be easy. That does not mean you need to give up on what’s important to you.

I got so lost in the anxiety, fear, and expectations I hyperfocused on everything that was going wrong. Forgot it’s ok not to know everything all the time. Your present isn’t worth living. Above everything else, adulthood has taught me to love myself enough to admit I don’t know what I’m doing right now, and that’s okay.

Plus, the Earth isn’t even going to be habitable in 20 years. Why would I waste it focusing on the lemons? I refuse to play myself like that.

Sticky sweet: Dusted off the writer’s block. Started on long term creative projects. Planning reunions.

It might not be okay right now, but the kids will be alright.

Follow us