Overwhelmed by the Horizon

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Knowing that I’m about to graduate college, I feel like I’m facing the horizon of the rest of my life. I can go anywhere, do about anything (within the boundaries of my financial situation with school loans, of course).  I felt the same way in my senior year of high school. And completely overwhelmed.

These transition points we reach in young adulthood feel broad. If you’ve ever flown on a plane, you know how you can see roads threading in a grid underneath just before landing. The pilot knows where the runway is, but technically any one of those roads could be a viable for landing. Imagine that you’re the pilot, and you have to choose one of those roads as a runway. Which one do you choose? Which one looks like the smoothest? Which one will be closest to your destination?

Transition points can feel like that – whether you’re choosing a college, a career-path, a location to start independently living. Notice that I use the word feel, though. A lot of worries we have about significant decisions as a young adult are based on a feeling called fear. At times, I’ve felt so insecure about making the “right” decisions that I can’t decide anything at all. Here are some reminders I go over when I find those anxieties creeping into my thoughts:

  1. There are few life-altering decisions. My Dad told me this in high school. Few choices we make in life will drastically change the course of our lives. Deciding what school to attend probably won’t affect the rest of your life for years to come. Whom you marry is life-changing, which is why people spend (or should spend) a lot of time and energy getting to know someone while dating. When you think of most decisions being non-binding, it’s relieving and exciting. You’re free to experiment – you don’t have to have everything figured out. You’re free to take risks knowing you can make adjustments as you go.
  2. Actually, you do have direction. When I feel overwhelmed by the broad possibilities of what I could do, I have to stop myself and think about the guiding points I have. These include my desires and passions: where does my heart gravitate? What skills do I have? What dreams have been formed in me over time and where can they lead? What experiences have shaped me and given me drive for a cause? God doesn’t leave us helpless in discovering our callings.
  3. Your timeline doesn’t have to (and probably won’t) be the same as others’. It’s easy to get caught up in looking at others and evaluating “where they are at” in life. Yet it’s hard to use others as a standard for comparing ourselves because everyone is so different and doing different things. Wait for the right best things for you to come in life, and don’t rush into decisions based on where you think you ought to be. Someone once told me, “The good and the better are the enemy of the best.”

Why “In Dependence”? My Blog’s Purpose

I’m 22 years old. While I know that’s not an incredibly long time to have lived, in some ways I feel like I’ve lived through a lot already. Really, a lot! Maybe you’re around my age, and maybe you feel the same way. Sometimes I’ve wondered why it feels that way. Maybe you have too.

It’s hard to look at others and gauge whether or not we’ve been through more or less than they have. In fact, it’s basically impossible because everyone has such different experiences and stories. There are some things others have experienced that I can’t imagine going through, and there are things I’ve been through that others tell me they can’t imagine experiencing.

No matter what various experiences we go through as young adults (in high school, college, or post-college), there is one thing that equalizes us: we are all in transition. Mentally, emotionally, situationally, geographically – you name it. It all happens so fast. Many experiences we have during these years we’re having for the first time. Nothing prepares us for them. There is no handbook to guide us. Everything around us is changing, and inside ourselves we’re changing. And it’s scary!

I realize this blog could focus on nothing but a really deep, emotionally heavy, and even moody discussion of how tough life can be as a young adult. That’s not what I want it to be, though. I don’t think it can be either. Because, let’s face it, there are just too many funny moments that arise from being in new situations. Absolutely hilarious! Beyond moments worth laughing at, so many of the best things in life grow out of being a young adult. Things like joy, dreams, wild shenanigans, life-long friendships, identity, wisdom.

With the amount and the pace of change in our lives through high school, into college, and into adulthood, everything can feel overwhelming. The further in I swim into the ocean of adulthood, the more I realize I can’t make it on my own. I will drown! Yet everyone expects me to be a basically independent adult by now. I feel more dependent than ever.

But one day I realized that was a good thing.

The only way I’m going to ever become an independent adult is to learn to depend more on others and on God. I wasn’t made to do life on my own.

The purpose of my blog is to talk about what I’m learning as a young adult. About what I’ve learned healthy dependence in relationships looks like. About my relationship with God. To talk about the new experiences, the highs and lows. About the lessons, about growing pains, and about all the wonderful new joys and excitements.

For me, a large part of how I process the transition into adulthood is through my writing, especially in my fiction. What outlets do you have that help you in your transition? How can you use your talents and creative outlets to help you process?