Life Directions

Allow me to introduce to you Stress Reduction in a Jar (SRJ): A highly ineffective treatment to relieve serious symptoms of stress, emptiness, and severe cases of ‘whattheheckdoIdonow-itis.

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It was just me and this bad boy last night.

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Thank goodness my friend got back to me ten minutes later and got me out of the house to hear some live music. Otherwise I likely wouldn’t have had any SRJ left to expand save my derrière during the next bout of ‘oh woe is me-ing’.

 

I can tell you though, Stress Reduction in a Jar, Box, Pan, Carton or Bowl… they’re all equally ineffective. Not for one moment of my chocolate-y peanut butter bath did I feel better, happier, stronger or more mentally clear.

 

Since finishing school a week ago I’ve been a little lost.

Okay, very lost.

I always figured once school was over there were a million different possibilities and directions to go and the world would be my oyster. This is true in a way…I certainly do have a new freedom now that my undergrad career is complete. But when you have a million different roads that you could turn down coupled with a poor sense of direction, a inaptitude for concrete decision-making, and no maps in sight, you get quickly lost and quickly nervous.

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Thinking about one day having the freedom to pursue the next exciting steps of life is one thing. Actually living it is a whole different game.

Figuring it all out is a one-step-at-a-time process. But one of the hardest parts is knowing where to place that first step or two. Right now I feel like I have twenty feet all tangled up in a giant knot. They can’t do much stepping like that, now can they?

My difficulty with making decisions has led me to put things off.
My stubbornness and fear have led me to forgo seeking help in so many instances when other people’s guidance and wisdom would have made so many things so much easier.

And now I’m a little stuck. One entire chunk of my life has essentially met its end and I’m not sure how to begin the next. I feel like the uninspired writer staring blankly at the screen, too familiar only with the backspace key, not a single page to speak of.

Except my blank screen is life. What is my problem, what am I waiting for? Inspiration? When it comes to writing, the advice I hear isn’t to wait for the inspiration but to just write. Write, write, write and repeat, and only then will the inspiration come.

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So what does this mean for me? I guess I just need to step. Step, step, step and repeat. Maybe I’m spending too much time trying to figure out how and where to step when really I should just start stepping until I stumble across the signs along the way that will guide me in the right direction.

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Bravery has never been my strong point, and I’ve too often avoided venturing into the unknown when I don’t feel fully prepared. I know I need to get over this and just move. Shuffle, tiptoe, or skip, it doesn’t matter really. Any movement is progress. Thinking, planning and preparing are all great things, but too much of anything can knock you right over.

 

So where DO I go now? I’m still very unsure but right now I’m working on the tiptoe…you have to start somewhere, right? I’m hoping someday soon I’ll be running right at it, with a few skips thrown in to keep it fun and interesting along the way. It might take some time. Until then, the tip toe tango it is.

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How did you deal with big life changes and deciding on next steps?
Did you know exactly what you would do after school ended or did you take some time to figure it out? (Or are you in the midst of it like I am right now?) Did you tip toe or start at it running?
Did you ask for help? Where did you go, who did you turn to, how did you figure it all out? And where are you at right NOW?

One things that does help – talking to others. I’d love to hear how you’ve gotten through/are getting through some of those big in-between and unknown moments in life. Written about it already? Feel free to send me the link!

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18 thoughts on “Life Directions

  1. I just finished my sophomore year of college, so I’m not where you are just yet. But I have thought about it and talked to my parents about it. It seems like a scary thing! Just trust in your gut and go with your heart. That is what they tell me :)

  2. Congrats on finishing College. What are you leaning towards doing now that you’re done? I wouldn’t recommend a PhD in your field (Psych, if I recall) unless you’re interested in Academics. Even though it can be done with relatively out-of-pocket cost, it’s a big commitment. GL!

  3. oh! talk it out girl it’s the only thing that helps (well besides giant jars of chocolate & peanut buttaz).

    what are you thinking you WANT to do? or what were your post plans while you were in school? if you need to chat don’t hesitate to email me! <3 you girl! you'll figure it out! we all eventually do ya know

  4. I know exactly how you feel! I was a little lost when I graduated last May, but ultimately I decided on…more schooling! And that’s where I am now. Who knows where I’ll end up once I get my masters!

  5. Girl I already graduated and still don’t know what I want lol I mean I’m pursuing a career as a Physician Assistant but once I started blogging it made me take a look back and realize if that’s what I really want to do. Lots to think about :)

  6. I completely know how you feel girl. I’m graduating in 3 weeks and I’ve been going through those emotions all quarter. Ahhh. I know you’ll find the right path though :) just be patient.

  7. Oh my goodness, you just spoke what I have been feeling this entire year. I know I am only a junior, but my future has changed so many times this year – and in quite large ways. “My difficulty with making decisions has led me to put things off.” = My current way of COPING. Instead of seeing it as a bad thing, see it as the answer. For example, at first I was thinking grad school for research and then I decided med school for endocrinology but I dont have any experience with either of those things and I cant just GO to grad or med school without being 100% sure that that is what is right for me. It entails so many classes and tests and work and it would be ridiculous to go through all that only to find it wasnt right. So I am taking my sweet time. Im just going to do what I need to graduate, all the while trying to get various internships to figure out what I should do with my life. Once I figure out what somewhat what I want to do, I will go back and take the extra classes I need and take the MCAT or GRE. And yeah, I will go a couple years late to grad or med school (or neither), but that is okay. We all need to just slow down and enjoy life before it passes us right by.

  8. This is beautiful, thank you for sharing. First of all, congratulations on finishing school! Secondly, I FEEL you. I think it’s totally natural to feel stuck sometimes and not be sure about your next step. But it sounds like you are on the right track. Simply just by talking about it and acknowledging your “stuckness.” Whenever I feel lost or stuck, I just take it one breath and one step at at time. Like you said, any movement is progress. Sometimes you just have to trust. It may not feel like you know where you’re going or what you’re supposed to be doing, but I think the universe knows! So just simply surrendering to the unknown and trusting is what is helpful to me during times like this. Good luck love!

  9. My husband and I got married really young (he was 22, I was almost 21) and the husband went back to school shortly after that. He finally graduated last June and while he has a decent JOB right now, he’s still looking for a CAREER in his field. It will happen for him and it will happen for you too, just have faith and take that first step :) xoxo

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  11. Kristie! :) I understand how you feel. I’ve been there a million times in various situations, painted on my own canvas called Life. :) You don’t have a problem, Kristie! It’s simply life and some people think more about their choices than others. This is absolutely normal. It is a wonderful thing that you are so thoughtful- that means you are looking for a meaning in your days, in your life.

    Don’t get discouraged that you need to spend more time searching for the right path, and don’t expect to get on the right path at the very first time. There is a quote that I love: The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. – Elbert Hubbard

    So, go out into the world, don’t postpone anything, just try the things out. Don’t be afraid to talk to anyone you can about how they went through similar situations- you’d be surprised that others had it even worse -struggling, searching, finding, losing… But I suggest not only reading, but talking in person too, because that just gives out a different kind of energy and makes you want to act!

    I suggest you do some internships, maybe not the full-time, so you can work and get some money, if you need to, if it’s an unpaid internship. Also, do informational interviews with friends of your friends, or acquaintances of people you know. Find people older than you too, to see how it all seems when you look back. They’ll be happy to share what they know.

    This feeling of being lost is absolutely normal when you start a new stage in your life. Just trust that you will find your path eventually, but only if you search! :) Remind yourself, that you will make mistakes and you need to make them to figure out which way you need to go! Trust your heart. Write your dreams in your journal to connect with yourself better and to get the deep insights! :)

    Wish you the best! A big hug to you! :)

  12. I’m about to graduate as well :) Congratulations girl!

    As for the life change that is going to happen.. I’m really excited about it. One thing for me that helps is trusting that whatever happens is what is suppose to happen. I’ve got some things in the work, but I’m waiting till my very final critique till I focus on my next step. I’m definitely going to ask for help. There are a lot of wise people in the faculty in my department that I know have some wisdom to share. Not to mention, as an artist it’s important to network so asking for help is something that’s a part of that :) you never know who may be listening!

    XO, best of luck! Think positive, girlie :)

    http://www.ohonemorething.wordpress.com

  13. This sure sounds like me right now too, I know exactly what you’re going through! A million “what if’s” are running through our heads, a constant weighing of pros and cons, and feeling a lost sense of control. There are so many possibilities, and it is super overwhelming! But remember this is one of the most exciting times in your life so enjoy it and take it little by little! You don’t have to know, you just have to trust yourself. Trusting, I think someone mentioned it earlier, is the best thing to here. Embrace the unknown. Follow your gut, and if you are seeking loads of advice (which is good too), seek some space to listen to what your heart is telling you.

    Watch Steve Job’s 2005 Commencement, he has a lot of eye-opening messages.

    Good luck! :)

  14. Oh my goodness, I feel like these were my thoughts, exactly! I finished undergrad last Friday, and I had an emotional breakdown over the weekend. Actually, I’ve been in an over-emotional mood for awhile, just trying to figure out what my next step should be. I live at home with my parents, I don’t have a job lined up (yet), and I really don’t know what to do next. It’s scary and (kind of) exciting all at once. I’m kind of jealous of those people that “just know” what they want to do/what they’re supposed to do. I’m still figuring it out. I’m glad I’m not the only one :)

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