Do You Have to Have It All Figured Out?

I found this on Tumblr a little while ago and found it highly accurate. It feels like once you graduate college, you’re on this uphill battle to accomplish everything in just a few short years.

When in reality, you have the rest of your life to get it all done.

Maybe it’s just an American culture thing, that you have to be successful, happy, married, and with your 2.5 kids and a white picket fence by 30. But who decided that you have to figure it all out in your 20s? Why do we put pressure on ourselves to get our forever job and find “the one” so shortly after we were all clearly blacked out and pulling all nighters in college?

That seems like a 180-degree turn if I’ve ever seen one. I know that “adulting” is cliche now, but it honestly feels like you’re pushed out into the world, tumbling until you’re heads up. Hopefully.

In college, it seemed like you were all on the same playing field for the most part. All just trying to get by until graduation and walking across the stage. Now it’s a free for all. We’re all at different stages of our lives now, and we’re only two years out of college.

People have gotten married, people are in law school, people have master’s degrees, people are on their second jobs, the list goes on. I’m happy for my friends who are kicking butt and being successful, but it makes me wonder if I’m doing it right.

But what does “right” even mean?

I see friends or old classmates post job updates on LinkedIn, and I see others posting engagement or wedding pictures on Instagram. I’m still in the same job I’ve had since graduation, and I’m the furthest from getting married anytime soon. All I really have is 2 years of professional experience and a master’s degree.

I hope that’ll get me something sometime soon, but right now, I feel like I’m not where I should be. One of the girls at the ice cream shop graduated last year but started her first real job a few months ago. I’m happy for her because she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, and she likes her job, but she’s having trouble adjusting to the new schedule and the fact that all we’re doing for the rest of our lives is working.

I’m grateful that I have a job that I like and that I was able to get a master’s degree (hey, thanks mom and dad!). I know that my hard work will pay off. As I scroll through social media, I have to remember that I can’t compare myself to others. It’s really the oldest story in the book—or I guess the e-book nowadays—but it’s hard not to wonder, what am I doing wrong?

Maybe stability is a good thing right now. I’m able to save money by living at home, and I actually feel comfortable doing what I do at work. So for right now, maybe the plateau is okay. I’m not going to stay on it forever, and I’m sure there are bigger changes coming my way.

So I guess it’s okay to not have it all figured out right away.

9 comments

  1. To quote “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”

    “Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life… the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The idea that all we’re doing for the rest of our life is working, is so daunting. I never realized until it was too late that being in school was kinda like being in an alternate world where you didn’t have to know anything except what to memorize for the next exam. I haven’t known what I’m doing for 5 years now and on some days it feels like I’ll never figure it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s like in college you’re in this little bubble and now you’re not and you have this whole world in front of you. Which isn’t a bad thing at all, but it’s overwhelming. But I think this is something everyone our age struggles with.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Definitely. I miss that bubble. My first year out of school, my friends that were still in university were saying how lucky I was and I’m like, “Stay in for as long as you can!”

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is definitely a relatable post. I graduated in 2011, and haven’t found a job I feel like I belong at since then. I’ve had “career” positions, and I rocked some of them, but I left because the pay was terrible, or the people sucked, or the hours were treacherous. I am the only one of my classmates not married, I swear! Lately, I’ve felt a lot of pressure to figure out “What I’m doing” with my life – and to be honest, just reading that you think that sometimes too, is helpful. I think we are all WAY too hard on ourselves. Being in our Mid to Late 20’s is young. We have nearly double (or even triple) our life left. Cheers to enjoying the plateau! PS. Congrats on a Masters! 🙂 .xo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Part of me feels like I’m young still and have time to figure everything out but the other part of me feels like I should have it all figured out. But the path is different for everyone. Seeing what other people are doing and thinking, I should be doing that, doesn’t help. I feel like comparing ourselves to the people we graduated with is natural, and that’s what can hurt us in the end. It’s kind of scary but kind of nice to know that we have so much of our lives left. And thanks! 🙂

      Like

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