The Art of Getting Off Your Ass After Graduation
In reflecting on the one year I’ve spent in the “real world” (vom), I’ve come to realize many things: no one actually knows what they are doing, actually having money to do things is bomb, drinks in the real world do not cost $3 (but they do taste better), and getting yourself off the couch requires effort.
Getting off your ass is possible, but indeed, a true art form. From elementary school to college, you’re pretty much set on having your day scheduled for you—you have allotted times for classes, sports practices, club meetings, extracurricular activities (i.e. budgeting in three-hour-long happy hours at your favorite on-campus watering hole), and homework time. But just because college is over doesn’t mean personal milestones have to be. Yes, you now have your work day to factor in, but after that you likely don’t have other pressing responsibilities or anyone but yourself to care for. Take the time to figure out the things you want to do. Learn something new. Be selfish.
If having a schedule is what gets you to feel like you have your life together, stick with it. Pick a time to do laundry, go grocery shopping, and exercise. One of the biggest things that give me anxiety is wondering how I will fill my weekend. There’s nothing wrong with binging on Netflix all weekend every once in a while, but if spending Saturday laying in bed makes you feel like you’re not living your best life, make yourself get up; call a friend for brunch, or go on a walk in a new neighborhood. We often stumble across the best finds when we’re not even looking for them.
I know I personally wanted to learn a lot of things I didn’t have the time for in college. And while I may not have gotten around to doing them all (I mean, I did say it was an art form), I recognize that I have the chance to now. Want to learn the drums? Do it. Have a manuscript you’ve been pushing off forever because you’ve been “too busy”? Challenge yourself to return to it. Thinking about volunteering at a homeless shelter? Go for it.
One of the most freeing things I’ve found about being post-grad is that you have the time and the opportunity to try new things. You just need the drive to push yourself to do it. Don’t settle for going to work and coming home everyday. Seek out a new coffee spot that will become your go-to. Force yourself to attend post-work events and make new friends. Sites like the skint (for New York) give insight into free or cheap things going on in your area. Who knew NYC’s Battery Park has free yoga on Wednesdays? Who knew art gallery openings let anyone in (and supply you with copious amounts of wine)? Exploring is especially great if you’ve moved to a new city. And if you’re in the same place you were before graduation? Still go sightseeing. You’d be surprised how much there is in your own hometown waiting to be discovered.
The trick to getting your shit together post-grad is channeling positive energy and going after what you want, big or small. It can be as minor as dragging yourself out of bed in the morning to go on a jog before you change your mind, or ambitiously showing your boss why you deserve a promotion. That being said, there will be some days when getting off your ass just isn’t going to happen. That's okay too.
Allow yourself to feel confused and lonely and unsure and every other emotion that comes with being 23 and freshly thrusted into “adulthood.” It’s important to get out there and get going, but do it at your pace. The couch may be comfy, but you can’t crash on it forever.
Feature photo: Francesco Gallarotti/ VIA Unsplash.