I’ve been home, as a university graduate, for a little over six months now. Sometimes I actually still have trouble grasping the concept of not going back to school. Of all the things in life that changed as I grew older, school was the one and only constant. No matter what, September meant school and June meant summer. Until now.

It’s almost an understatement to say that I’m having trouble adjusting. Most of my friends have settled into their post-grad lives and are enjoying the days free of lectures and papers and time spent with less agreeable peers. To put it in sugar-coated terms, I’m a bloody basket-case. I genuinely miss rolling out of bed and stumbling to 10 am classes as if it were 6:00 in the morning and casually wasting time with my peers in the lobby of the theatre and stress-eating 16 boxes of crackers while I try to pound out those end-of-term papers and study for finals. I miss my apartment (roommate struggles and all), I miss my school and my town and I freaking miss my friends who mostly live on the other side of the country. Change has never been easy for me and losing the only thing I’ve ever been good at (school) and the people I feel most connected to in the world all at once has my mind reeling even though it should be a distant, happy memory by now.

It’s not like my post-grad life thus far has really been bad. In fact, if you look at it objectively it’s really been quite good. I had a rocky start, whipping through four jobs in as many months, but I finally settled on my two favourite and now I have basically my dream full-time job (professional baking) and an awesome part-time evening job (bartending and ushering at a concert hall). I do still have friends from high school here so it’s not like I’m completely alone and one of my best friends from university also happens to be from here and I even get to work with her. I live at home so I have very few expenses and I get to go to theatre all the time. See, when you put it like that it seems pretty awesome, right? Right.

And yet my life still feels temporary. I feel like I’m living in this sort of limbo where I’m doing things but they aren’t “my things” and I’m not sure when my things are going to start. I have no posters or pictures adorning my walls, I still have things collecting dust in boxes in the basement and I’m still trying not to make commitments to projects just in case I end up not being around. Something is preventing me from accepting that this is my life now and putting down the roots to make it feel permanent.

I’ve spent hours and hours wondering what’s wrong with me, why I can’t just accept my objectively awesome life and be happy with it. And really the only thing I can come up with is that I want more. I want more out of life than I’m getting. I don’t want to have to work 60+ hours a week just so that I don’t have time to stop and think about how irrationally depressed I am (because, let’s face it, I live with my parents so no matter what I say, it’s not about the money). I want to be engaged in creative pursuits that leave me exhausted just from feeling. I want to be surrounded by people who are as passionate and intense and crazy as the people I went to school with (if I can’t just have all of them back). I want to love and hate and learn and create. I want to be proud of what I’m doing with my life. When my family members ask me what I’ve been up to I don’t want to have to just brush it off and say “oh, you know, just working a lot” because I have nothing worthwhile to tell them. But it’s taking me a while, and it feels like that while will never end, to figure out how to get there.

I try to stop and appreciate the messy beauty of this time every once in a while but ultimately, when I’m really honest with myself, I can’t. Not right now. Maybe when I’ve come out of this and have finally achieved something in my post-grad life I’ll be able to look back on this time and smile with that I-made-it-out-alive sort of wisdom but right now this first year after school doesn’t feel beautiful or glamorous it just feels long, and depressing and  lonely and like I’m dragging boots caked with 20 pounds of clay behind me to a destination that gets five steps farther away every time I take just one step towards it.

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