Post-college life is one of the strangest time periods in our lifetime. It’s probably the closest thing to a real-life limbo that there is.
There is a reason people joke about going through a “quarter-life-crisis”. Up to this point, we’ve spent our whole lives on the conveyor belt of where we were supposed to be: preparing for high school, preparing for college, preparing for graduation. We knew where we were, who we were and where we were going. And everyone around us was in the same boat and sharing that experience with us.
Our tunnel vision never really went past graduating (unless we decided to just extended our tunnels with grad school). The years after graduation, however, become the unsettled time period where we are no longer kids, but don’t quite feel like real adults yet.
Every decision feels completely weighted with the importance of how the rest of our lives will unfold. Which job will we take? When will we decide to leave for the next one and how will we know it’s the right move? New York, L.A., Seattle or Austin? When do we make our bold quarter-life-crisis move of dropping everything and backpacking Asia? Everything from long-term relationships to first dates feel weighted with the realization that future marriage with that person isn’t impossible.
Taylor had something with that whole “miserable and magical” twenties thing. The highs feel higher—we have the freedom to come and go as we please and spend our time and money how we want. And the lows feel lower. We feel paralyzed with seemingly endless options for where to go next and can feel the pressure of each decision we make.
But now those lows are felt alone. Before we were in our lows together with finals or big term papers. Now, paths split as one friend gets married while another one earns six figures as an investment banker. Meanwhile you might return to hometown friends that are stuck in the past, not ever really moving forward or out.
The best part about being halfway between our college selves and not yet our family selves is that we still get to take advantage of that youth—we’re not tied down with families yet.
We can pick up and move to another coast without having to move an entire family back if we fail. Unlike our pre-career years, we can spend on concerts and trips with friends. We can spend our weekends hiking, binging on Netflix, brunching or learning something new.
It’s not that we won’t be able to do any of those things as adults, but now is the time where the only person we need to ask what they want to do is our self. And just like how we look back at our college days and miss them, we will look back at these crazy, uneasy, adventure-packed years with the same nostalgia.
So go to festivals, learn a language, go on first dates, decorate your small rental on your smaller budget—and enjoy the ride.