The Hardest Transition

I groan as an unfamiliar light wakes me up at 5:30a.

What the…?

It’s the sunrise. From the window in my new apartment, that I am responsible for… on my own.

I get up, expecting to hear my roommates alarm going off one too many times from the other room. But then I remember, I don’t live in my college house anymore—it’s time to get ready for work.

For twenty plus years, we are put through a system. A system with transitions—transitions with guidance.

(Traditionally) preschool to elementary school. Elementary school to middle school. Middle school to high school—you get it.

Each new milestone is expected. Each new step is the right one. With each new entrance, we are helped, guided, held.

And this system is a blessing. This education is something we should never take for granted.

But then, we graduate.

Voila.

What we don’t foresee, is that this transition, this transition from our years in school to our years in the “real world,” is the hardest transition of them all.

And although it’s not a part of the guided system, it’s still sort of expected—it’s just there for us to “get.”

Some of us are fortunate enough to have mentors, friends and family there to help guide us through, and I never forget that, but at the end of the day, for the first time in our lives (for some of us) everything is now our decision. Completely and fully ours.

And that’s scary.

Like, seriously, really scary.

We’re at a point in our lives where we can do whatever we want, except for only within reason because we have to pay the bills. We’re at a point in our lives where we have a million different options, except how do you pick just one, the right one? We’re at a point in our lives where we know what we want, we have our majors and our values, except for we really have no idea what we want at all because again, how do you choose?

Pictures flood our newsfeeds of people traveling the world, getting promoted, living in big cities or starting families. We’re torn between what we want in the future and being appreciative of what we have now. We know that one choice will affect our lives forever. We’re scared and confused but we’re pretending like we have our sh** together because we’re “adults” now and that’s what we’re supposed to do. We miss our friends and school and parties but we’re starting to love our solitary coffee and reading time more and more each day. We’re looking for someone to share our life with, even for a little, except we aren’t because we’re young yet and have way too many things to experience first.

We are at the entrance into our lives, and it is the most scary, beautiful, heartbreaking, terrifying, exciting and insane point that we have yet to encounter.

It is the hardest transition of all.

And I wouldn’t want to be any other place.

Because with anything that brings difficulty, comes the chance to learn more than you ever thought possible.

I have talked to numerous people my age, trying to figure it all out. Trying to decide if their job is the right one, if they are living in the right place, if they can make new friends, if they are with the right person. Everyone is confused, looking for answers and trying to make the right decisions.

It’s just a weird time.

For all of us.

But it’s also a great time.

A time where we can explore our options, look to the future and focus on our goals. A time where we can realize who our true friends are and force ourselves out of our comfort zones to make new. A time where we can teach ourselves things, take initiative and make one mistake after the next while we try to figure out exactly what we want. A time where we can change our mind three times in one day (personal problem?), and that’s okay because we’re right–the world is insanely awesome and vast and possibility is overwhelming at times.

But most importantly, it is a time where we can learn to appreciate exactly where we are right this second, even if it’s not exactly where we want to be yet.

Because, if we can practice gratitude and be appreciative for our present situation and current moments in the most confusing, torn and crazy time in our lives, then we can do anything.

Then we can continue to be grateful as we endure more in our lifetimes, because we know that all that matters is our health, family, friends. We know that no matter where we are now, it’s not where we’re going to be forever, and we know that being confused is okay, that having it all figured out is ultimately boring.

And as young twenty-somethings, I think the last thing we want to be is boring.

I don’t know what is in store for later in life, because I haven’t lived it. There is probably a more difficult transition ahead, and I know I have so much left to learn along the way. But to those of you who are at this point, realize you are not alone, realize what you’re feeling is valid and realize that life is life, that each day is amazing in it’s own way, no matter if you’re backpacking in Argentina or drinking a beer at your favorite local bar, it all matters, and it is all valid.

And being confused, well… at least it’s not boring.