The Icing on the Cake

I want you, my dear reader, to visualize something for me, here are some vital elements:

Setting: Collegiate atmosphere (Private, Public, Ivy League, Community College, Grad School, Law School: your choice)

Schedule: Class, athletic practice: club or for the school, extracurricular activity (fraternity, sorority, social club), and of course the evening free-for-all’s (bars/house parties/girls nights)

Accomplishments: Sky is the limit

The scenario I’m envisioning: A student, well-rounded, driven, social. College can best be described as a bubble. It’s a bubble that protects you from full responsibility, allows you to play as often as desired, requires focus & drive, and is used as a resume builder. For me, I went from having a job I loved, a campus I felt comfortable with, positions in social and athletic activities, & friends that were the icing on the cake. Graduation came & went, friends separated & Facebook’ed often, and the jobs began. A year and a half later, I’m still trying to place where the time went. I spend my days in a cubicle, learning more about the realities of the world daily than I did in 4 years.

I have a secret that I’m going to share, in a way I’ll be exposing one of my biggest flaws. I, like many I’m sure, have a tendency to take my life and downplay it by looking at the accomplishments of those around me. Instead of bringing positive thoughts to the forefront, I instead dwell on what I don’t have, what I should be doing, and of the things that would make me happier as a result. I’m so proud of all of my friends but I’m going to be selfish and complain that sometimes I envy them. And I honestly don’t want them to look at me and think “she should be doing something more.” Well for those of you who feel as though you are settling, here’s a little bit of advice my Mama sent me the other afternoon after one of those days. It’s from Slate Magazine, found at slate.com, and goes a little something like this:

“What “could have been”? You’re just starting out, so your life is still in the “hasn’t happened yet” phase! I agree that launching a career in this economy is a challenge for your entire generation. But an important transition you must make is to stop being obsessed with measurements of your worth that no longer apply. Once you get out of school, the rest of life rarely comes with such clear appraisals as a weighted GPA… you were drilled that your value comes from being labeled the best and collecting memberships in prestigious organizations… You have a job, so congratulations. Get everything you can out of it and think of it as a pit stop, not a final destination. Although you’re living through a recession, you may have fallen into a depression. If so, appropriate treatment could help you realize you’re only at the beginning of your big adventure.”
http://www.slate.com/id/2303854/

20 something’s: you aren’t settling. We can’t make our careers happen within a 24 hour period. Yes, make the changes over time to lead to your ultimate happiness. Your friends are there to support you, but you, the individual who once had it all, can rebuild your life and make it what you want. Don’t stay in your comfort zone, make the challenge to stay positive and you’ll get there eventually.

For anyone whose read “The Secret,” the book shares of the empowerment that one finds when they decide to switch their thinking and make more of an effort to focus on positive energy, versus the negative it can become so easy to dwell upon. Figure out what you want, the details and the lifestyle you wish to lead & trust that you’ll make it to that point. You’ll look back & realize that you had to struggle to get to your ultimate goal. Keep your chin up, everything happens for a reason.

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4 thoughts on “The Icing on the Cake

  1. Shawna – I read a really interesting article that had similar info as the slate article, but also applied it towards social networking – discussing how facebook makes it easier to compare ourselves to each other than ever before, and how that can negatively effect self-image for twentysomethings…if I can track it down I’ll send it your way. Food for thought.

  2. Shawna-
    Stumbled across your blog on Facebook today and wanted to check it out. Thanks for posting that quote from Slate! I know what you mean- my job can be so boring and I never feel like I am doing a great job at it. This was exactly what I needed to read tonight. Thanks for sharing!

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