(ORIGINAL POST DATE: Monday December 20, 2010)
I have been out of college for 7 months and still am not used to not having anything to do other than go to work. You spend all of this time in college (well I didn’t, but I know a lot of my friends who did) excited about graduation and no longer having homework and exams to study for. I guess I may have been guilty of this at points – ahem FINALS – but only because I severely disliked reaction kinetics and process control and calculus. Then when you are free, life gets… well it can get a little boring. Maybe it’s just me.
I have since moved to a new city, but I will be honest, my days in Pittsburgh weren’t that full either. Though I blame this on the awful neighborhood I moved into when I left Oakland. Not awful as in dangerous, but awful as in hard to get anywhere else from here without a car, awful.
Then I moved to a new state. I knew a total of 2 people in my new city. Life goes on.
I have too much free time. You think that when you graduate that you will do all sorts of amazing things when you are only working! Oh the things you’ll do and the places you’ll go! In the real world, those extra things, well.. they cost money. Clubs? Clubs and social organizations have some sort of associated fee that isn’t buried in the ‘additional fees’ line of a tuition bill that is paid by a loan. That money comes straight out of your paycheck. If your transition is anything like mine, you don’t really have any money to spare. In fact you have negative dollars to spare. It’s like a game! I guess that is what you get for moving to one of the most expensive cities in the United States. (Update: For those of you who said, Yeah, but you’re moving to CALIFORNIA, I would like you to know that it’s much cheaper to rent/live in San Francisco than it is in DC. WAY cheaper.)
So you think, well it’s OK. I can come up with other things to do. Those other things, they usually lead to money too. And then you just have time to think. Endless time to think and plan. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my problem. I am so used to planning what I will be doing in the next 4 months, that I can’t actually stop that overwhelming feeling that I need to be planning for, well, the next 4 months. I have this feeling that just keeps nudging the back of my mind and whispering, graduate school, going abroad, traveling, visiting people, graduate school, going abroad, visiting people over and over again. I don’t know how to stop it, I just know that I need to. It’s not really healthy.
Here is my letter to you, voice!
Dear Nudging Planning Obsessed Mattie,
Please stop. You are only 23. You just finished college. You DO NOT need to do these things right away. There is plenty of time. What you do need to do is sit back, go to work every day, go home, and enjoy your free time. You don’t need to think ahead more than a day or two at the most. All that stuff you need to plan for? Well you don’t really need to plan for it right now. You can think about it. Write a list. When you get information, stow it away for later when you can think about it. And just enjoy the fact that FINALLY after 18 years, you no longer need to think about school and homework, and classes, and registering, and work study, and sorority, and any other organizations. You just need to think about you. Frankly, you can’t afford for these things to happen right away. Just go with the flow and see what happens.
Why don’t you go hit the gym? I think the beer and hockey are starting to show, just sayin’.
Do you remember that feeling? The feeling of not having anything to do? You knew it briefly when you were on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic. Hell, you didn’t even know what day it was most of the time. It was a feeling you had when you needed to go to class that day. Or knowing that tomorrow, whatever day that would be, you would be in a different country. Going somewhere at some time…maybe… and you still had days, weeks, months, before you actually needed to know what day of the week it was or what day of the month.
Get that feeling back. It’s a good feeling. (Just don’t get it back enough that you forget to go to work or go to work on a weekend… that wouldn’t be good.)
Remember that feeling of not needing to know what was going to happen or having anything planned for months ahead. Just roll with it. Life is good.