Me, Myself and Post-Grad Growing Pains

It would be incredibly ungrateful of me to act as if I haven’t been extremely blessed over the past three months. The type of things that I’ve been able to do could have only been orchestrated by God.

I had completed my undergraduate wish list and done everything I wanted to do in college.

I had graduated in four years after being told I couldn’t.

I had finally made a name for myself and my brand.

I walked across the stage and into the arms of my family who had been rooting for me since day one.

Then, out of nowhere, I had miraculously been chosen to work at one of the best companies in my field.

I did what they all do in the movies: moved out of my apartment in a week, packed up two suitcases for a one-way Southwest flight, said goodbye to my best friends and parents and relocated to one of my favorite cities in the entire world.

I did that.

I did that.

And yet, with all of “that” that I did, for the first month I was nothing short of miserable.

What they don’t tell you about graduating and moving all on your own to a new space, city and environment is that a lot of your time will be spent alone. Your friends are no longer up the street and around the corner. You won’t walk into a party or a function and automatically find someone that you know. Unless you were fortunate enough to live in the same city as your significant other, you will be sleeping alone as well. A large part of post-graduation life is becoming extremely intimate with not only your own space, but who you REALLY are in that space. And I, being the busy body and social person I was in undergrad, had spent many of my years running from what everyone who cared about me had told me to do:

Spend some time with yourself.”

“Get to know who you really are.”

“You give so much to others, why don’t you give yourself some of that?”

I ain’t wanna do that because I was very much afraid of what I would find when I did. But now, I literally had no choice. I had to get to know me because I had no other place where I could run from myself. I’d put myself in a corner where I could no longer escape from what I needed to do.

Slowly, I found out that I am not the person I thought I was. I’m more bold than I thought, but still very stubborn. Ambitious, but afraid of conflict. I’m passive AND aggressive, but not both at the same time. I have a problem with forgiveness, especially with myself. A list of traits that I either didn’t know I had or was unaware I needed slowly grew. I been reflecting back on situations and their outcomes to find how things could have gone differently. And for weeks, it overwhelmed and scared me. Why had I not realized this before? Is this why I was such a mess in undergrad? How would this situation have played out if I had been more self-aware before jumping in?

I had been running from myself and covering it up as being a busy person for years. I filled my time with meetings, outings, visits and rendezvous so that the time I spent with myself was only dedicated to sleeping. Now, when I had no one else and nothing else to occupy myself with but myself, I realized how much personal growth I had stunted from running so much. I was an accomplished person, but not a growing one. And as the weeks went on, I realized how much I NEED me. I needed to not only love, but acknowledge and understand myself so that I could grow. When you know better, you do better. I couldn’t become a better person because I simply hadn’t taken the time to know myself.

Now that it doesn’t cripple me anymore, I’m more accepting of the growth I need to do and who I am in this part of my life. I still have moments where I look back at my undergraduate career and cringe, but rather than wallow in that disappointment I recognize the mistakes that were made and vow not to make them again. I think that it was God’s Plan for me to be where I am now; He had to remove everything I was using to run away from myself in order to get my own attention. And now that I have that, I can’t wait to see the peace and growth that comes next.

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