Like many young American women, I totally do not fit under the category of "the people who surprised everyone and really did something with themselves." That's because I just graduated and I don't know how anyone expects recent graduates to have the CV of a seasoned elder when we're all still so insanely young.
I don't believe that anyone straight out of University should feel like they need to have their lives perfectly in order. It's unrealistic and (can I be honest?) seems kind of boring. The idea of having my entire life set out for me at this exact moment is highly unappealing. I want to try a thousand different jobs! Have different experiences! Accidentally buy a ticket to Ireland and then be forced to go by myself because I'm impulsive and don't think anything through!
Life is good right now and I'm extremely thankful for the place that I'm in at this very moment. I'm healthy, I'm making money, and I'm able to wake myself up early enough that I can do my makeup before going to work (at least most of the time).
If we act like we have our sh*t together, eventually it's bound to happen, right?
But up until recently, I still didn't feel like I was a real adult, which is an insane concept! I am an adult! But this is totally a millennial thing. I'm not the only one of my peers who feels this way. Employment for recent graduates is dropping and it seems like no one can move out of their childhood bedroom. These are two major life events that we associate with adulthood, and millennials just don't have as good of a chance at either of the two as our parents and grandparents. And even for those who have accomplished getting a job and moving out, there's still a good chance that we're going to be calling mum and dad for some extra cash come the first of the month.
But hey, I believe in the power of manifestation. The law of attraction tells us that if we send positive vibes into the universe, we get positive vibes back. Now, the only positive vibes I concretely believe in come out of a battery-powered piece of plastic, but this law of attraction thing might just be onto something. If we act like we have our sh*t together, eventually it's bound to happen, right?
1. Stay productive
Don't let yourself get stagnant. OK, so you didn't get a job right out of Uni. One will come. I can't tell you when, how, what it will be, or how much you'll love it, but you'll find a job eventually. And hey, maybe it has absolutely nothing to do with your career path of choice, but at the end of the day you need money and there will be someone out there willing to give it to you.
But if it's not what you want, you have to stay productive. It's easy to let yourself become stagnant in a job you aren't passionate about. But you have to pursue your interests outside of work. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Freelance. Bake a cake.
2. Adapt healthy habits
Adults give a hoot about their health. It's amazing how much of a difference adding healthy habits to your life can make. When I started cooking for myself, I swear to God I went from broke graduate to frugal young professional. Nothing else changed other than the fact that I made my food instead of hoarding it from the dining hall. And get in a total of 30 minutes of structured exercise a day for your endorphins.
3. Track your expenses
I avoided doing this for a long time because I hated admitting to myself that I spent too much money and was living beyond my means. Then I opened a savings account because I figured, well, it's the right thing to do, and suddenly I loved seeing money stay put. I loved seeing the number go up. So I started tracking my expenses and doing so makes me a lot less tempted to spend.
This doesn't have to be hard. I just have a spreadsheet in my Google Drive with columns for what I spend money on, method of payment, how much I deposit, and the level of necessity. It's a lot easier to stop spending money on useless things when you have to evaluate each purchase by how vital it is to sustaining your life.
4. Discipline yourself
Maybe you don't do the laundry often enough. Maybe you always forget to pack food and end up spending too much money on lunch. Maybe you have been putting off cleaning that one pan for a solid two weeks because you don't want to face scrubbing away burnt quinoa. Just do it already.
5. Get rid of your bad friends already
It took me a total of one hour to cut out a bad friend earlier this month. And it was both the hardest and easiest decision I had to make. It makes absolutely no sense to hang on to people who you know just really suck the life out of you. Ankle weights are the only kind of weight that should slow you down.
Guided meditation and practicing mindfulness has made me super focused. I'm lucky that I'm the first one to the office in the morning, because it gives me some time alone. I get to work a little early and do a five-minute guided meditation. I literally type "five min guided meditation" on YouTube and pick one to get my day started.
I've also been reading You Are Here by Thich Nhat Hanh. He talks about the impermanence of everything. Just think about that — everything is temporary! Unemployment, feelings of doubt, life in general. It's easier to move forward when you know you have somewhere to go. If you know you aren't where you want to be, figure out what the right direction is and do something about it.