I found this photo on Pinterest and I’m pretty sure the credit goes to these guys. It seems to perfectly encompass what I feel these days. The time in between.
Slow motion. Blurred. Still and alone.
There’s this weird period a lot of us go through where we’ve finished college or school or whatever it is but don’t have our next step lined up yet.
If we’re lucky, we get to live at home with good parents while we figure it out. Or maybe we have a significant other we move in with. If not, it gets a little harder.
We apply to jobs, ones we really want but don’t get, and ones we don’t want but need. We apply to entry-level positions and we reach out to any connection we might have. We scour LinkedIn and Indeed and job search sites.
We look for cheap apartments. We draw out pros and cons lists of different cities we could live in. We pray for friends in these cities because all of our college buddies are married or they have kids or they’re living it up in the big city with the job of their dreams. Or they’re living at home too, but their home is five hours away from you and neither one of you can make that drive very often.
It’s weird because you’re okay and you’re safe and everyone goes through with this but you don’t feel okay and you don’t feel safe and you feel alone.
And people are watching, waiting for you to make a decision, but the job thing isn’t working so you entertain other ideas.
Maybe grad school? Maybe traveling?
But what do you study? Why do you go? Where do you get the money?
And you’re getting rejection letter after rejection letter. You’re ghosted by companies. You may get one offer but you are filled with dread because no part of you wants that job.
So you lay down, cross your legs, and watch the world blur by while you’re there, still and alone.
Here’s what I’ve discovered through how I feel and how my friends in similar places feel:
Depression hits even though you’re totally okay but you also aren’t for some reason you can’t pinpoint.
You hate when people ask what your plan is because God, if I knew, don’t you think I’d tell you, Sharon?!
Your day is completely free but you don’t have time for the little things. You have hours of time but you still can’t work out or read your bible or apply for more than two jobs.
You have time and you’re terrified of that time.
You remember a month ago when you were in the best days of your life and wonder how you don’t still feel like that because not much changed, right?
You don’t feel like yourself and you don’t know how to find yourself again.
You’re scared that people are judging you.
You’re scared when you finally have a clear next step you’ll miss it. Or you’ll take it but it’ll be the wrong step and you’ll waste two years of your life.
You don’t know if you’ll ever find a group of friends as great as the ones in college.
If you’re single, you don’t know how you’ll ever find someone now that you’re not in college anymore.
If you’re in a relationship, you’re either dealing with commitment issues or you’re fully ready and scared your partner is dealing with commitment issues. Or neither of those apply and you’re worried your partner doesn’t truly know you because you don’t even know yourself anymore.
You’re terrified and you’re alone.
But you’re NOT alone. And you’re not frozen in time. And you’re not missing it.
This blog might seem like I’m freaking out online but I promise you, I’m not. A recent conversation with someone I love who is in the same stage of life actually set my mind at ease. He is feeling the same things I am and I’m so alone anymore. I’m normal, feeling this strange depression when nothing awful has happened in my life.
I’ve had some or all of these thoughts and that’s okay. Because this weird, awkward stage of life, that not enough people talk about, is normal and temporary. It will pass and the next step will be taken and it won’t be easy forever but I also won’t feel still and alone forever.
I’ll continue to discover myself for the rest of my life and I’ll go through hard times, harder than this, and that will come to an end, too.
Because this stage of life is weird and it’s hard and it isn’t discussed enough but we are not alone. We keep going, we keep trying, we keep learning, we keep loving, and we stay.