post-grad life, unemployment & uncertain times.
On this day, two years ago, I graduated college. I barely made it to my graduation ceremony (due to ending up in the ER over an unexplained kidney issue) but, I made it. I received my diploma, took photos with my loved ones and didn’t look back as I saw the college buildings I spent so much time in, in the rearview mirror. Good riddance.
the long & winding road
Graduating college was a huge milestone for me as the four years I spent in school were extremely challenging in many ways – the stress was debilitating. By my junior year, I was deeply struggling with the overall “Christian” private school environment and was feeling ready to move on. When graduation day finally came, I was ecstatic. I was finally able to move on from everything in the religious environment that was holding me back -I finally felt free to be me, to work through the trauma I experienced in college, to take a few steps forward.
taking on the world
I had so many expectations about what my life would be like post-graduation. I would get an exciting graphic design job, I would be able to pay off my debt, move out of my parents and move onwards + upwards. *God laughs* BUT…. as the divine is well aware, that is not exactly how life works… Here I am, two years later: sitting in my bed on my laptop with no job, and, um… a “good” amount of student loans hanging over my head. I still feel the shock to my ego / pride as I type out this reality. I can’t help but think ‘this was not what I planned’… but, is it ever?
As I’m sure many graduates can relate, I have taken on a lot of societal expectations (or assumptions) & made them my own. Here are a few of them:
- After college, you have a stable full-time position in the field you studied.
- Success looks like making money.
- After college, you should live on your own and be financially independent.
- If you are unemployed, you are just lazy.
- Your worthiness as a person lies in your ability to work and be successful.
- Your societal identity lies in your career.
- I am never going to find a job.
…….. I could go on and on and on.
the ticking of the clock
Although I am actively working on detaching from these negative beliefs, they run fairly deep. I mean, seriously, these messages are drilled into us from a young age, before we even start to seriously consider higher education. Take a look at social media, “the American Dream”, every movie ever made… life is about making money, getting a stable / respectable job & being “successful.”
You do not have to keep believing those lies. I have to keep reminding myself to LET THAT SHIT GO & I have to work to continually replace those lies with these truths:
- Everyone moves at a different pace – there is no global timeline.
- Success lies in finding balance, happiness & peace of mind.
- There is nothing wrong with living with and/or being supported by your parents.
- Anyone can find themselves unemployed and it DOES NOT define you.
- Working looks different for every person, not everyone is able to work and that is OK – all you can do is your best.
- You are so much more than what is on your resume: you are your hobbies, your favorite songs, the child within, your emotions, love, and so on…
- Trust and have patience, the right job will come at the right time.
the downward spiral
I’ve had to combat the negative beliefs around unemployment (both personal & societal) and reframe those into positives. Even as I write this I still hold fear in publishing this post… “People are going to know how long I’ve been unemployed” “People will think I am a failure” and the downward spiral continues… “what will THEY think of me.” It is so EASY to submit to those thoughts and play the victim. Trust me, I was stuck in that exact cycle up until the last couple months. I mean, I was seriously taking all of those lies about unemployment to heart… I was not getting out of bed in the morning, stuck listening to a cycle of horrid beliefs and making myself physically ill. I was telling myself daily that I was a failure, what do you think that does to a person?
It took a LOT, but, I was finally able to snap out of it. I hit a brick wall, hard. “THIS IS ENOUGH”. I had to stand up and proclaim: I am NOT a failure. I am WORTHY. I am a living, breathing human being, filled with love & so much more. I have so much to offer! I am loved!
In all honesty, this period of time has not only humbled me in many ways but taught me valuable lessons on both patience & trust. I have been putting in WORK: reframing my thoughts, reprogramming my mind, tackling negative beliefs, practicing positive affirmations, inner child healing, & the list goes on. My soul is on FIRE. I have been on the receiving end of massive breakthroughs in my spiritual life. Not every day is pure bliss but I am taking it day by day, one step at a time & I am seeing progress. Even the other day, I was writing out my daily positive affirmations and as I was writing “I am worthy,” for the first time in three weeks of writing it down daily, I felt in my soul to be true. The human mind is amazing & our ability to grow / heal is mind-blowing, we have to hold onto that – there is hope.
I recently picked up The Four Agreements again and as I was reading, I felt peace in my soul: this is where I am supposed to be. I am reminded of the massive stress I went through in college… the trauma I have been working through – and I NEVER allowed myself to step back & to take a break. I wasn’t taking care of my mind, my body or my soul: I was withering. I had been weighed down by the life-altering situations I had faced over the past 6 years… the parts of myself that had broken off or been cracked away. I have to give myself a break, I was in desperate need of both a time & space to mend. Right now, I am doing just that. This period was deeply needed, I am seeing that firsthand in my personal healing process. I needed this time right now… to slow down, to allow myself to find peace in the quiet (in the stillness), to reunite with the inner child within & to just be… and you know what? That is okay.
As I head into my 9th month of unemployment, I am focusing on finding balance in all areas of my life: mind, body, soul, spirit, etc. The future is very uncertain and I have to go slowly into the next few months resting on trust & patience. I can do this. The next opportunity will come. In the meantime, all I can do is my best. I might have to read that section of The Four Agreements every week in order to keep that in the forefront of my mind but, friends, that is all we can do, our best.
“Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret”don Miguel Ruiz | The Four Agreements
Abundance is coming, I can feel it. I have to let the negative beliefs GO. I will continue to shake it off, to detach & to prioritize my healing process so that I will be able to stay grounded, find my purpose, and move forward in confidence.
keep your head up, we are in this together. peace & love. – kendall