Thirsty Thursday Round One: Guest Post!

Today I have another guest post from my friend, Kelsey. She's done a post here and one here about RHOBH (ahh, remember those days?) but today she's decided to write about her life after college and what it means to grow up. I thought this was a great topic since many of you are still in school.
I have to give Kelsey a big thanks - she not only knows me in person, but still likes me enough to want to write guest posts for my blog! Now that's saying something...
She doesn't have a blog (start an effing blog, okay?) but you can follow her on Twitter.
I turned twenty-three last weekend. And, like every other year, the passage of being one age on Thursday at 11:59 PM to being ‘officially’ a different age at the stroke of midnight on Friday- never really feels any different. While yes, mathematically speaking- I am technically one year older, to the day. But compared to yesterday, the day before that, and the day before that… it all basically feels the same.

Like most things in life worth pondering, ‘growing up’ is an intangible concept that is much easier and more understandable in hindsight. There is not a predefined age where you are considered a ‘grown up’, and the age at which it happens (if it ever does) is different from person to person. Some people are forced into growing up before they are ready- because it is needed to support those around them. But, for most people I know and for myself, it is something that happens individually, and on my own time.

There are many things about me that are not, in any way, grown up. I still sleep with a bed full of stuffed animals. I wear mismatched sock on purpose.  Now, almost a year after I graduated college, have still yet to pick a path for myself in life. Or, more specifically, this path has not been made clear for me…yet. There are many things about childhood, adolescence, and my more responsibility-free young adult years that I wish I could hold on to forever- but I know this is not realistic. I understand it is time to move on. I understand that real life is not broken down into semesters, and that I more than likely won’t have a month during the winter and four months during the summer to myself anymore. I understand that it is my time to step up and make something of myself. I understand that is time for me to grow up.

Lately, I have been feeing more of this pressure to morph into a ‘grown up’ than I ever have before. After graduation and a subsequently wonderful and carefree summer, I moved away from home (sort of) and had an internship in a new city, and I became a temporary resident of a new state. The best part of this processes was that I was able to have the experience of a ‘real world’ job without fully leaving the nest, so to speak- because I was living with out-of-state family while working at this new job. In a way, I sometimes felt like a fraud. Yes, on the outside, it seemed I was ‘getting on with my life’ and honing in on my professional skills- but it was a very safe experience. While I do not, for one second, regret spending those six months in that internship- I didn’t feel the gut-wrenching anxiety and fear of post-graduate life until it was over. So, like all good things do, it ended. I packed up and moved back home- and for the first time in my life, I had no plan. I was not on vacation. I had nothing ‘lined up’. I was unemployed. And I was (and still am), like so many of my recently graduated peers, struggling to find myself.

Since I have been back, my life has been a revolving door of job searching, emailing, interviewing, resume critiquing, callbacks, disappointment, anxiety- and sometimes- even tears. But I am trying my hardest not to let it get the best of me, and to not be scared. While I do not have any idea where I will be in five days, no less five years- I trust that things will line up for me--- eventually. I have discovered that the waiting is the hardest part. Having my future be an incandescent, intangible ‘light’ at the end of this temporary dark tunnel I am walking through is a tough pill to swallow. But, that’s what growing up is about.

Dealing with disappointments, working through problems, celebrating small steps, and working towards the future are all facets of maturation. Life is not a book written by someone else that you can skim over the tough parts in the middle and flip right to the last chapter to see how it ends. You write the book as you go along; and no matter how tough it may be- you’ll get to the conclusion eventually. Maybe it will be in ten days, ten months, or won’t be for ten years. But ‘growing up’ gets a lot easier when you can recognize that it is coming, and try your best to get out of your own way and just let it happen.