Your Setback Is The Platform For Your Comeback

It’s been one year since graduation, and I’m more unsure than ever of what my future holds. Crossing the stage, receiving my diploma I didn’t know what to look forward to, but after many setbacks this past year, it’s becoming more of a realization that life is just full of the unknown and it’s completely out of our control. Setbacks are a part of everyday life; whether they stem from anxiety, missed opportunity, hasty decisions, bad decisions, or the trials and tribulations of human life, they happen, and sometimes all we can do is embrace the mess and stay hopeful.

This year hasn’t exactly been easy, and at times I’ve truly doubted my abilities and worth. Anyone who has had to experience job searching post-grad can understand what I’m referring to. The time and energy we can spend applying for positions, the majority of them just being for the hell of it, usually lead us nowhere- not even a call back. So, maybe we thought finding a job would be easier, but we’ve come to know that even landing an interview can be an obstacle, or a setback.

Sometimes I’ve been presented opportunities that I’ve ran from or turned down because of my anxiety- anxiety regarding irrational things or petty fears, but if you’ve read the last two posts before this, you’ll know that anxiety is no joke and can sometimes cause self-inflicted restrictions that aren’t easy to settle. Although I’m dealing with these things day by day, it’s still caused setbacks.

Decision making can be tough, especially when it deals with life changing choices and not just deciding between which bars to go to this weekend. Making hasty decisions can lead to setbacks, because most of the time, it’ll be the wrong choice. It’s important to weight out the pros and cons of every choice before finalizing, but we’re only human and sometimes we trust our initial instincts more than we should.

Realizing you went to school for something completely uninteresting to you- setback; time to apply for grad school!

Having to live at home longer than you wished or thought you would have to- setback.

Still driving the car you drove in high school because your “adult job” salary can’t afford you to upgrade- setback.

Got laid off due to something completely out of your control- setback. 

Unfortunately, we are all just dealt a shit hand on occasion. We can work as hard as we can and still come up short. We’re put in situations that we’re forced to remove ourselves from, even when they just put us right back where we started.

It can often feel like we’re not progressing, achieving or experiencing, but that’s not true. Everyone has a different route to take, some may take longer to get to their destination, but we’ll all get to where we want to be. But guess what? I have no idea exactly where I’m going, and I’m okay with that. Life is constantly recalculating our plans with unexpected setbacks; whether it is you lose your job, the person you thought you would spend your life with ends the relationship, you get pregnant, you fail your program, someone gets sick, you get transferred out of state- the list goes on and on. But maybe that’s the point, right? Facing challenges, dealing with unexpectedness and tackling these problems every day is what we’re equipped for as humans. Nothing ever goes as planned, but that’s the exciting part of life, anything can happen- good or bad- and we just have to embrace it.

So don’t cry over spilled milk, just clean it up and pour another glass because something great is waiting to happen. But if we dwell on all of the annoyances in life, we’re just prolonging the destination.

An Insight into Dating Someone with Anxiety

For people who haven’t experienced anxiety, it can be difficult to understand. For people who have anxiety, it can be even more difficult to understand and explain. The best way to explain my anxiety is this: imagine you’re driving a car 100 mph downhill when you realize that the brakes don’t work. Your initial reaction is to, obviously, freak the fuck out. There’s a million things running through your head, you’re hysterical, and all the while the cars just gaining more and more speed, the anxiety is getting worse and worse. You’re so panicked that you can’t even think about the end; eventually this car is going to stop gaining speed and run out of gas, eventually you will calm down. I envy those who can just jump to this realization, but for me this isn’t the case. One incident, one thought is enough to cut the brakes and send me straight into an anxiety attack. I cry hysterically, cough until I throw up and usually end up sobbing myself to sleep just to make it stop. The worst part of this is trying to make others understand something that I barely understand myself. I don’t exactly know what you should do if your significant other is experiencing anxiety, but I can tell you exactly what not to do.

If someone ever confides in you about their anxiety, I beg you not to dismiss it. Part of what makes anxiety so powerful is how little it’s talked about. No one talks about having anxiety, therefore a lot of people, myself included, are scared to reach out and ask for help or support. Your partner is supposed to be your secret keeper, your non-judgmental rock. If someone has chosen you to confide in about their anxiety, it’s for a reason. When you dismiss a person with anxiety, you break their trust and drastically decrease the chance that they’ll attempt to tell another person.

Dismissal can come in many different forms, but it all stems from a general decision to not even try and understand. When someone tells you that they’re suffering from anxiety, it doesn’t mean they want you to start studying for the MCAT, become a psychiatrist and cure them of their anxiety. You don’t have to understand why it’s happening, you don’t have to understand the symptoms that come along with it, all you have to do is be supportive. It’s not about understanding anxiety, it’s about trying to understand it. Make an attempt to understand what your partner is going through by listening, no matter how long that takes. When I’m shaking, out of breath and crying uncontrollably it’s hard to make audible words, but just the sound of someone breathing on the other end of the phone makes the end come that much sooner. Be patient, don’t try to rush the symptoms away, especially if you’re the cause.

Anxiety isn’t tangible, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. How you would react to your partner being in extreme physical pain is how you should react to your partner suffering from anxiety. Anxiety is like physical pain but doubled, it affects mental health and usually shows physical symptoms as well. This isn’t something your partner can just “get over,” it’s not spilled milk.

Different people experience different types of anxiety for different reasons. Try and help your partner to understand what the cause is and possible ways to help. For myself, a lot of my anxiety comes from my relationships. I allow my significant other to hold a lot of power over me. It’s not rational, but that’s anxiety. I 100% believe that anxiety is something couples can work though, but the key word in that sentence is “work”. Overcoming anxiety isn’t something that happens overnight, sometimes it’s just managing one symptom at a time. If you suffer from anxiety and find yourself in a relationship with a person who won’t even try to understand this beast, I urge you to end the relationship as soon as possible. You deserve someone who wants to see you through dark times, rather than insisting you just flip on the lights already. If you don’t suffer from anxiety and find yourself in a relationship with a person who does, I encourage you to support them through it. Whatever form support may be, find it and use it. Don’t lose someone that you love because you’re too lazy to put the work in.

Finding Your Identity

One thing that I think about often, is people who struggle with transition out of college and finding out who they really are. Let’s be honest, the four, sometimes more, years you spend in college do not shape you as an individual. They basically equip you with time management and social skills, if you’re lucky. So it can be eye opening to join the real world and not have any idea the type of person you want to be. Do you want to make as much money as possible? Do you want to help as many people as possible? Do you want to develop certain relationships with some more than others? Who do you want to be and what legacy do you want to leave?

Let’s slow down a little.

Just know that you don’t have to have the answers to any of these questions and most of us won’t know for quite some time. I still struggle with having sociopathic tendencies on a weekly basis. A lot of my free time is still spent wondering why I was such a dick in certain situations and why I have little to no filter. BUT I work at it every single day and compared to college where I was a full blown sociopath who didn’t care about anyone but me, I’ve come a long way. And that’s what it’s all about post-grad. Developing yourself little by little consistently every day until you look back, and after a year you’re able to think “Wow look how far I’ve come when I thought I was making no progress at all.”

It’s also important to understand that a lot of people will always see you as the person you were in college and their image of you may never change. It’s something that you have to accept and dismiss. If you live everyday with the drive to be better off today than you were yesterday, then there is nothing that can stop you because the only person you’re competing with is yourself. Don’t compare your jobs, don’t look down at others jobs and don’t put yourself down about your own job. Most people hate their first job right out of school and the “real world” is not like it’s made out to be where it all happens at once right after graduation. Some people will hit their stride out of the gates and others won’t hit it for a while. So live on the grind, compete against yourself and give positive enforcement to your friends. Some people will shit on your dream, or your job, or your decision to take a year off or whatever it is, but that’s because your vision isn’t theirs. You’re seeing everything through a different lens than everyone around you.

Just because you’re trying to find yourself and get control of the reigns doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Go out on the weekends- you can still even drink on Sundays, you’ll be surprised at how many people do. Go on trips- you have a steady income now and are able to do what you love. I love to write, so this is how I’m spending my Thirsty Thursday writing and watching the Yankees. Just have fun with it, whatever it is you do.

“Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in 1 year and underestimate what they can accomplish in 3.”

Substance Vs. Stability

As someone recently emerging from college, it can be hard to find a job you love, let alone a gig within your desired industry or field. There’s a constant, external pressure from society, or more specifically, your family and friends, to “get a job, any job”. And although this decision of settling for something will serve its primary purpose of paying the bills, it may not have substance, or any rewarding feeling for that matter.

It’s obviously far fetched to obtain a job within your desired field, or a “dream job” right out of college, but does that mean you should necessarily settle for something that will have you working 40+ hours/week with no substance in return? For some, this situation will be content for them, and kudos to them, truly. But for those of you who feel like they’re wasting away in front of a screen eight hours a day, performing jobs that hold no value to them, feel like they’re gaining no experience relating to where they wish to pursue their careers, and leave everyday feeling like their position holds no meaning, I understand. However, it’s hard to draw the line between when enough is enough since we do have hefty bills to pay and lifestyles to fulfill, but when do they paychecks become irrelevant in regards to your happiness?

It’s easy to keep a mindset that involves daily reminders to yourself that “it’s just my first job, this isn’t permanent, and I’m making good money”. And although I do think those are crucial prompts to keep in the back of our minds, the anxiety surrounding the mundane position you hold may still have the potential to effect your mood outside of work, take a toll on your own, personal happiness and leave you feeling empty and undervalued.  So, when do you decide to leave and find a role that fulfills you both financially and emotionally? That’s up to you to decide, because really, it’s all circumstantial to each individual’s life.

Some people want a conventional work life and are content with whatever 9-5 job pays them enough, and I appreciate those people for their determination and ability to subside with a role that they don’t necessarily have a passion for. But others may find that they’re not cut out for this lifestyle, and may have to turn to something more unconventional while waiting for something better to come along that will provide them with both substance and stability transpired in one.

Just because society has instilled this ideology of “getting a job, any job” for so may years, doesn’t mean we’re required to follow this road map that was laid out for us long before we were even born. We’re categorized as millennials and our role in society is to shake things up and change the precedent-ed way of thinking surrounding the working world.

I’m not saying quit your job if you hate it, that’s up for you to decide. But what I’m trying to convey is that there are other options aside from what you’re doing right now and it’s okay to be somewhat unconventional fresh out of college. If you relate tot his post in any way, think about what you’re passionate about, find a way to incorporate those interests into a profession and make a plan. We all have to start somewhere and we’re placed in a society where opportunity is all around us.