The here and now.

I officially graduated this past week, and it was more emotional then I thought it would be.

 I’ve been operating under the assumption that I’d already completed my degree for a while now, so convocation was just the official handing of the paper. However, the night before I found myself reflecting on how much I’ve worked through to get to now. Yeah I’ve been done technically for a while, but all of a sudden the official completeness of it hit me. This chapter is closing, and now it’s time to reveal the next page.

I’ve written a lot about transition the last little while. Fall is always a transitional time, and as I find myself stepping away from academics for a bit to develop my business and career… I’m a little terrified. The past year has been all about me doing me, and for someone who finds it easy to get wrapped up in the 5 years from now and into other people’s lives… I’ve worked pretty hard at staying true to myself and doing what I need to to further my own personal development. Now, here we are at another stepping stone. I have a paper that succinctly sums up 4 years (and a bit) of endless learning, hard bouts of burn out, low points, high points, and enlightenment. Can a piece of paper signify the amount of personal growth I’ve done emotionally and mentally? Not really.

I wasn’t hit with this wave of emotions because of the next steps I face in my career or even academically.. I think the emotions were stemming from the more unknowns that are at my door step, and the known fact that I still have a lot of personal development and experience to go through (which is something that never ends, I’m learning). The things I know right now are that I have a vision for the next year of my life. Any ideas I have for the next 5 years are hazy, and while some of them may occur the truth is I don’t know where I want to be. I know who I want to be, and what I want to accomplish within that time frame… but in what order, where, and how is still unclear. As, again I’m learning, it probably should be for where I’m at. I’m uncomfortable with the unknown. Not that I want to know my exact future. But I’m uncomfortable with the known that things as they are now are likely to change, again and again. I recognize that this is okay, and normal, and even to be expected… but the simple act of graduating unleashed all these new, somewhat unfamiliar emotions and concerns about my personal life.

I vaguely remember feeling like this after my high school graduation. In a different capacity, of course, but some of the same “fear of the unknowns”.

I’ve talked to and read about many who say the 20s are the most difficult age for this reason. Everything is always transitional. You’re always learning, adjusting, losing, gaining, and finding out who you are and where you’re supposed to end up. Life is all about not knowing when the next curveball will be thrown, but still managing to swing at it with some success. The support systems you develop are there to rebound off of as you ricochet towards the next thing. The ones you love bolster you, and/or keep you focused in their own ways.

I’ve been taking some time the last few days to reflect on where I’m at, and make peace with not knowing what comes next.. even if I have strong feelings about what is coming next. It’s really easy to get wrapped up living 5 years from now, and ignore the amount of work, exploration, learning and turmoil that has to come first. It’s very interesting to me that I can feel so confident in my education and professional life, while so confused about parts of my emotional life. Even operating under the deep sense of “it will be what it will be”, why can’t I quit pondering the “it”? I have this intuition that I always get exactly what I need, even if it is tough to process.. and that long term there is some sort of path we are all placed on. Our decisions and choices lead us towards ultimately what we’re supposed to experience, and those experiences cultivate the individual we are to be. All you can do in the process is enjoy the here and now.

On Transitions (Log 3)

As always fall brings times of change, both in the weather and in everyone’s lives. For me, this fall is my first fall not returning to school- but instead scrounging through the real world. The fun thing about being technically done school is that I’m still studying for a certification, and don’t have much way to change my income abilities until that’s done. So I’m living the lifestyle of a student.. without being a technical student. That includes the regular stressors a student would have in the finance, stress, living, and figuring out how to “adult” departments.

The rebuild project has been coming along nicely. A couple weeks ago I started riding again, a horse at the old barn that needs some exercise. That plus sticking to my 20minutes of exercise a day rule and keeping my eating on track for the most part. I’m happy to say I’m back down to a weight I’m content with for now, and I feel much better physically. Mentally I am very overwhelmed a lot of the time, and have been working on finding ways to de-stress throughout the week. The past few weeks I’ve found that by the time I got to a Friday I was experiencing headaches, lots of fatigue, and prone to tearful outbursts. Pretty much what I used to get like during midterm season! When you work long days and don’t see huge financial income, it’s easy to start feeling like all your energy is being drained and not much of it is being replaced.

This past week I worked to hit reset a bit, for myself. I took a mental health day in the middle of the week because I was feeling what I usually get to on Friday’s, on a Tuesday. A day completely off, not thinking about anything stressful, was very much needed as I’d been working 6 day weeks for a while. Plus working on a move, and adjusting to different living areas. That day off in the middle of a busy week did make a huge difference and for once in a long time I didn’t get headaches on Friday! Unfortunately now as the next week approaches I feel the overwhelming stress coming back.

The thing is, I know this will pass. It does every time. This fall is full of it’s own unique changes and transitions, and navigating them is a part of figuring it all out. It’s not productive to want constant affirmations on if I’m doing the right thing, working hard enough, and achieving what I should. The constructive feedback I get from study sessions, and support I have from loved ones comes in different ways but it’s always there. My confidence about my exam is increasing, and I’m finding ways to manage my stress levels.

I know that the next month probably won’t get easier with the certifications approaching, promoting the business, football nearing playoff season, other jobs as usual, and getting used to new living situations. However, I also know that what I’m working towards is exactly what I should be doing.

My goals for the next week are to dedicate some more time for myself, and work-outs. The start of the new month gives opportunity for another reset and more opportunities to continue working toward my goals!