Graduate college, they said, It’ll be fun, they said.
They also said that you’d walk across that stage and opportunities would start knocking and kicking and scratching at your door. That you’d smile for that cheesy handshake photograph and hold your fake certificate (Sarcastic) and all of a sudden you’d feel like (and simultaneously become) a full-fledged, accomplished, educated, real-life, ducks-in-a-row adult.
But anyone who’s graduated college in the last decade knows that’s not the reality. You don’t shrug on your cap and gown and suddenly feel responsible, suddenly know how to file taxes and pay off loan debt. You don’t finish your last final and suddenly realize what you’re doing with your life. You don’t even know what you’re doing for the next six months.
Here’s the harsh reality about being a college grad right now: you’re caught in limbo.
If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ve accepted a job and you’re set for the temporary now. You have some sort of plan, but without job security, without tenure, and with a highly competitive market, you’ve been trained to not trust in the permanence of anything. Cynical? Maybe. Truth? Definitely.
Here’s the harsh reality about being a college grad right now: you’re caught in limbo. Suddenly, you are too old for college parties. That doesn’t mean you can’t attend them (by all means, do you boo boo) but suddenly your mindset has changed. You need to job hunt, you need to wake up early for the crappy part-time gig you’ve taken in the months between graduation and getting a ‘real career,’ and you have things to do that doesn’t include getting wasted on a Monday night. But you want to go to college parties.
Your friends are either still in school or have graduated, left town (or not), started their lives (or are pretending to start their lives) and you’re desperate for someone to pregame with, go out with. So you cyber-stalk all their social media , wondering who they’re hanging out with, who’s all at that party, and if they’re missing you.
But then there’s that part of you that scoffs. You’ve matured, you’ve changed, and you’ve left that college scene. You had your fun. Obligations, priorities, mature fun, and things that you could never afford or even dream up when you were that broken, tragic college seniors.
But still, you’re caught in limbo. There’s a laundry list of expectations that you’re supposed to live up to. You’re supposed to get that job, move, work, make money, be successful, date, marry, have children. Or something along those lines. And you’re nowhere near. (Which is okay, by the way. As long as you’re trying to get yourself together.)
Then there’s the realization that this is it, this is life. And you’re excited about the possibilities, the places you could go, the jobs you could take, and the potential significant others that are gallivanting around somewhere on this planet, wondering about the potential you. The future is limitless. But terrifying.
You’re caught between the familiar and the new, the comfortable and the unknown. There’s the person you’ve been for the last four years, and then there’s this new you—this post-grad you, this adult you—Are you the same person? Suddenly changed? A mix of both?
The post-grad world is strange. You’re not sure who you’re expected to be, and not really sure who you want to be. You’re trying your best to figure it out, to get that dream job, to find a place and a home and a future to claim as your own. But the naked truth about graduating college is that it’s not this paved, golden road. Yes, your education is valuable. And yes, you have a world of possibilities at your fingertips. But that doesn’t make it easier.
Graduating college, just like being in college, is another journey. And with any journey, you need faith, perseverance, hard work, a map, and your heart for when you throw your map out the window.
You’ll make it eventually. It just takes time. And a period of crappy, rough, who-am-I months. But at least you’re leaving on first food anymore, right?
I’m feeling inspired to write a post today as the cold is slowly trickling in this part of the Rift Valley . Since the December is fast approaching, I think it’s important we take the time to reflect on our selves, on our year, our accomplishments as well as our challenges, as we look towards 2018.
I think sometimes we get caught up in the fast life where we’re constantly being pressured to perform better, compete with others and trying to live up to impossible expectations. Sometimes we forget about the things that make us happy, the passion and pure love we have for them because we unfortunately live in a society where greed, criticism and hatred thrives. It’s that vicious cycle of low self-esteem, lack of motivation and inspiration, self-doubt and failures. Sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to even see any success out of constant set backs and so what a lot of us do, is we run. We quit because we can’t handle the pressure. We think quiting is the only option.
But… what if I told you that quitting isn’t the only option? What if I told you that perverseness and hard-work can get you anywhere you dream and you’ll one day be truly happy? Would you believe me?
The thing about that is it’s also a quite naive idea because nothing in life comes easy. Nothing in life is ever linear. We’re trained and educated to think linearly. But that’s not reality.
In truth our lives and the world we live in is so nonlinear it sometimes feel we’re being thrown in different directions.
The past year of my life have definitely been the hardest but my outlook on life has completely changed, and for the better.
I’ve met and heard stories from people alike and people different all with different perspectives, experiences and ideas. But what made every single story and person so empowering was the idea that in spite of tragedy, loss or hardship, the power of the human spirit and the inner strength and resilience that can be built amazed me. I no longer looked at myself as a lost cause. As someone not worthy of love or happiness. Grief didn’t define or control my life. I didn’t have to be ashamed of who I am.
I was going through growing up and experiencing so many new and overwhelming things for the first time in my life and that made me very fragile and vulnerable. I struggled with wanting so bad to be normal but trying to grasp that this was reality and the hard challenge of coping with this .
And trust me it hasn’t been easy and I know that I still have so much more to discover and grasp about my loss. But I got a whole lifetime and heck if I learned this much in a year I wonder where I’ll be 10 years from now? And yes, if you haven’t noticed already I am a dreamer. I am a hopeful and very cliche person but all that I’m sharing is from experience.
And finally, I simply just want to live. Live ,to finished school, follow my dreams and be apart of change in the world. I want anyone out there who may be struggling, I want you to know that you have a purpose. There is only one of you and your uniqueness is what makes you beautiful. You don’t have to conform to society’s social norms and stereotypical boxes. You don’t have to feel pressured be like anyone else or live up to any standards. You set the standard and the goal for yourself. You know your ability and limitations and don’t ever let anything hold you back.
Lastly, remember your story and your voice matters. I’ll leave you with this question: Now, what would your story be?
I spent so long hating you. So long entwined with the idea that you were running at a pace three steps too fast, laughing at me as I buckled over in a desperate attempt to catch my breath. I resented the way I couldn’t control you, the way your busy hands outreached mine and changed everything I wanted so deeply to remain the same. I was infuriated by the way the past always seemed so much prettier, but you never stopped stealing it. It tore me up to know that there are places in life I would already have been to for the last time.
You were kind of like that word that everybody else knew the meaning of but me. One I waited too long to ask about, so eventually I just began to play along. Like it’s a game of broken telephone and I was the last one in line, my message got mixed and I’ve been looking at you differently than the rest of the world ever since.
I goggled your name in a sea of others and regardless of what the dictionary spit out all I heard was that the happiness that belongs to today will soon belong to yesterday, and to be honest that broke my heart.
Yet everyone else seemed to flow with you. People kept looking forward to milestones as if they could afford to shake off the day that clutched desperately onto my pant leg. “I can’t wait until December, I wish we could just fast forward” as if the space that stood between now and then was nothing but sand stumbling through clumsy fingers, emptying hourglasses like they could be flipped over and restarted.
I always thought of myself as an optimistic person, but damn you shook me. No matter what angle I analyzed, you were still just the lingering shadow in the rear view mirror that I was trying to outrun. The truth is, I never even wanted to get along with you.
As I got older, things started happening. Big, terrible, heartbreaking things, but you and your one track mind just kept on passing. I saw pieces of people around me’s worlds being torn apart but you still didn’t slow down, not for a second. I watched as you threw loved ones off your cargo as if someone’s son was disposable or like some fathers simply didn’t need a tomorrow. The world kept on turning and you just kept on moving blindly like nothing happened. I decided then that nothing wholesome would ever refuse to pause for the broken, and that you in all your disregard were a force to be feared.
So I’d sit down at night and pray to God like I didn’t know I believed in, like He could protect me from your greedy hands. I’d pray I could be like the children or the animals that had no concept of your passing, they seemed so free from your grip.
But somehow, something changed.
I was told once that butterflies only lived a few weeks. I never understood why they didn’t seem to care that they were cheaped out of time. I wondered if maybe you seemed to pass slower for them out of sympathy, or if they looked the way they did because they had to try to pack all of the beauty of life into a matter of days. I wondered if I knew I only had twelve days left, how beautiful my life would be.
Then I took a second look and realized I didn’t recognize you anymore. You didn’t look harsh or forceful, of all things…you started seeming kind.
See I’d been blaming you for the very thing I should have been thanking you for. And it’s ironic that time had to pass for me to see the value in passing time, but overnight you became the most valuable thing I’d ever claimed.
I started opening my eyes a little more. I started noticing things that I’d kept overlooking in my pursuit to preserve you. I found the truth in ‘time is money’, but instead of saving you, I cashed out and started spending.
And I spent exactly what I wanted, where I wanted it. I spent more of you with my family, the people who built me. I spent more of you on myself, on all the things I forgot I loved. I spent more of you on taking risks, on things that threatened the fact you’d still keep coming back. I discovered that although I couldn’t control you, I could control everything I filled you with.
The truth is, I needed you.
I needed you for when I discovered my passion for music and writing and that all of those things couldn’t be done without you.
I needed you for when I realized what love is, when I told a girl that I’d rather waste my time doing nothing with her than doing something with anybody else.
I needed you for when things got dark and I felt lost, I needed you to keep pushing forward so I could find my fresh start.
I needed you for when I moved across the world, for when I almost turned around until I remembered how much of you I’d invested to get here.
I needed you for when I sat around a table with my best friends singing songs we used to love when we were 13, and I needed you to realize everything is different- but everything is good. I understand that all the happiness and sadness, the loneliness and excitement of passing time have become packed inside of us – and they make us who we are. I realize now, I was never losing, I was building.
I am a sum of you and all of our shared yesterdays.
So thank you for pressing on. Thank you for setting the sun on my rough days and rising on my good. Thank you for the clean slates and the heartbreaks, the healed wounds and the promising plans. Thank you for giving me more of yourself than I probably deserve. Thank you letting me live more at 21 than some people do at 81. Thank you for being patient enough to wait until I fell in love with you.
I apologize in advance for the future. I’ll probably curse you again someday when I have kids and they start growing up with every blink. I’ll wish more than anything you would slow down and let me take it all in. When I grow old and end comes to end I’ll feel greedy and long for more, but know now that I forgive you for the day the sun rises without me, because of all the beautiful days you let me wake up with it.
Please accept this apology with pride and know that I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all of your time.
The world might be sunny-side up today.
The big ball of yellow might be spilling into the clouds, runny and yolky and blurring into the bluest sky, bright with cold hope and false promises about fond memories, real families, hearty meals sitting on a plate in a world that doesn’t exist anymore.Or maybe not.
Maybe it’s dark and wet today, whistling wind so sharp it stings the skin off the knuckles of grown men. Maybe it’s raining, I don’t know maybe it’s freezing it’s hailing it’s a hurricane slip slipping into a tornado and the earth is quaking apart to make room for our mistakes. I wouldn’t have any idea.
I don’t have a window anymore. I don’t have a view. It’s a million degrees below zero in my blood and I’m buried 50 feet underground in a training room that’s become my second home lately. Everyday I stare at these 4 walls and remind myself I’m not a prisoner I’m not a prisoner I’m not a prisoner but sometimes the old fears streak across my skin and I can’t seem to break free of the claustrophobia clutching at my throat.
I made so many promises when I arrived here.
Now I’m not so sure. Now I’m worried. Now my mind is a traitor because my thoughts crawl out of bed every morning with darting eyes and sweating palms and nervous giggles that sit in my chest,build in my chest, threaten to burst through my chest, and the pressure is tightening and tightening and tightening.
Life around here isn’t what I expected it to be.My new world is etched in gunmetal, sealed in silver, drowning in the scents of stone and steel. The air is icy, the mats are orange; the lights and switches beep and flicker. It’s busy here, busy with bodies, busy with halls stuffed full of whispers and shouts, pounding feet and thoughtful footsteps. If I listen closely I can hear the sounds of brains working and foreheads pinching and fingers tap tapping at chins and lips and furrowed brows. Ideas are carried in pockets,thoughts propped up on the tips of every tongue; eyes are narrowed in concentration, in careful planning I should want to know about.
But nothing is working and all my parts are broken.
I’m supposed to harness my Energy,It’s said. Our gifts are different forms of Energy. Matter is never created or destroyed, the said to me, and as our world changed, so did the Energy within it. Our abilities are taken from the universe, from other matter, from other Energies. We are not anomalies.We are inevitabilities of the perverse manipulations of our Earth. Our Energy came from somewhere,they said. And somewhere is in the chaos all around us.
It makes sense. I remember what the world looked like when I left it.
I remember the pissed-off skies and the sequence of sunsets collapsing beneath the moon. I remember the cracked earth and the scratchy bushes and the used-to-be-greens that are now too close to brown. I think about the water we can’t drink and the birds that don’t fly and how human civilization has been reduced to nothing but a series of compounds stretched out over what’s left of our ravaged land.
This planet is a broken bone that didn’t set right, a hundred pieces of crystal glued together. We’ve been shattered and reconstructed, told to make an effort every single day to pretend we still function the way we’re supposed to. But it’s a lie, it’s all a lie. I do not function properly.
I am nothing more than the consequence of catastrophe.
Events have collapsed at the side of the road, abandoned, already forgotten. I’ve taken up residence on a bed of eggshells, wondering when something is going to
break, when I’ll be the first to break it, wondering when everything is going to fall apart.I should’ve been happier, healthier, sleeping better, more soundly in this safe space. Instead I worry about what will happen when if I can’t get this right, if I don’t figure out how to train properly, if I
hurt someone on purpose by accident.
We’re preparing for a bloody war.
That’s why I’m training. We’re all trying to prepare ourselves to take down The enemy and his men. To win one battle at a time. To show the citizens of our world that there is hope yet—that they do not
have to acquiesce to the demands of The Reestablishment and become slaves to a regime that wants nothing more than to exploit them for power. And I agreed to fight. To be a warrior. To use my power
against my better judgment. But the thought of laying a hand on someone brings back a world of memories, feelings, a flush of power I experience only when I make contact with skin not immune to my own. It’s a rush of invincibility; a tormented kind of euphoria; a wave of intensity flooding every pore in my body. I don’t know what it will do to me. I don’t know if I can trust myself to take pleasure in someone else’s pain.
All I know is that The Enemy ’s last words are caught in my chest and I can’t cough out the cold or the truth hacking at the back of my throat.
You have no idea that The enemy can touch me.No one does.
He was supposed to be dead because I was supposed to have shot him but no one supposed I’d need to know how to fire a gun so now I suppose he’s come to find me. He’s come to fight. Happy Mashujaa day.
Remember how good God has been. Remember how faithful He was when you couldn’t turn to anyone else. Like that time when you didn’t know how you were going to pay for college that year, or how you would find happiness again after a breakup or how he healed your heart when it was broken. Do not forget how you felt useless, worthless, less than, empty, crazy, embarrassed, ashamed and absolutely depressed. How no one else had any idea what you were actually going through, but God knew, and He was patient. He waited until you were ready to open up and deal with that heartache.
Remember all of the holes He dug you out of. Despair, unforgiveness, loneliness, and abandonment. He not only took you out, but He filled every hole and made you stronger.
Remember His surprises. That time that you didn’t even pray for it, but God sent someone to give you exactly what you said in your head that you wanted.
Remember worshipping Him. How you didn’t even expect worship to be that amazing, yet it ended up being the greatest worship session ever. How simply not saying a word but just knowing He was there ended up being everything you needed and more.
Remember when He said your name. When you heard His voice audibly and it absolutely shook your bones and satisfied your soul entirely.
The moment that you prayed and God unexpectedly responded.
Bring back to mind when that person walked out on you, but God never did. Even when you ‘deserved’ it.
The times that God had every reason to be mad at you, but He wasn’t? Like when you abandoned Him for your friends, or for a relationship?
Remember that He is your hero, that He has NEVER failed you and He never will.
He has been your protector. He protected your heart, your mind, your body, your family members and friends, your finances and so much more. He has protected you from making the choices that you knew were wrong. From those wrong turns and toxic relationships that would have left you empty.
He has hidden you from the eyes of the enemy yet has made you a powerful warrior, fearless, perseverant, long-suffering, unrelenting and brave. He has made you an all-time VICTOR by eternally defeating the enemy.
Most importantly, remember the foundation.
Jesus Christ was God but came down as a man, just like you. Perfect and blameless, yet He took up your sin and the sins of this world. He died with your sins and rose with your victory. He released you from the chains of this world and gave you freedom and eternal life in Heaven. He has made peace in the midst of your chaos. Freedom when all you felt was powerlessness. Identity when no one else accepted you or made you feel seen, heard or known. He has been your refuge, your hiding place, your shield in time of pain and your sword in time of war. He exchanged your weakness for His strength, your sickness for His health, your fears for His courage.
So, remember. Simply remember.
To hold on. To not walk away even if it looks like life would be easier without Him. You always know He’s worth it. This that you are feeling is a temporary trial. It is a momentary thought that is tricking you into dropping all the progress you’ve made and the mountains you have conquered.
God is ready and waiting for you to decide that yes, this too, shall pass. Decide that you will not walk away from this covenant, this life, these promises or this wonderful God.
Isaiah 46:9 “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me.”
Remember your beginnings. It will guide you to conquering your end.
God said ‘NO’. I wanted a road without humps and edges, just a smooth and straight one, but God said ‘no’. He set a rocky road full of obstacles, humps, muds, missing pieces and sharp edges. I asked why, but I received no reply.
I wanted a high paying job without giving out any effort. I asked for it, but God said ‘no’. He let me struggle. I asked why, but I received no reply.
I wanted someone to be my partner, to be my other half, but God said ‘no’. He let her love someone else. I asked why, I received no reply. God said ‘no’, but I wanted to push it through. I let my emotions control me more than I control them. And so I was broken.
I was broken and I thought God didn’t want me to be happy. I thought God wanted me to suffer. I cried. And I prayed. I asked why. Then I received a hug from heaven as I slept. A peaceful whisper and a slow melody. ‘God loves me’, I said. I could feel it.
Struggles come and you might doubt yourself. But going on and moving forward, you’d realize His ‘NO’s’ are never a rejection. It is either a redirection of your path or reassessment of your faith. God always want you safe and sound, but He also wants you strong and bright. He didn’t give you a rough road to suffer, he gave it so you could be trained.
He wants you fast enough to dodge thee rocks that life will throw you. He wants you to learn. Learn from your experiences, and from your own mistakes. He will allow you be wrong in order to know what is right. He will show you life in black and white, so you can appreciate the colors of the rainbow.
He wants you to do things on your own to realize that you are more than what you think you are. And when you are ready, God will know exactly when you are. The bottom line is that, God never says NO for no reason. It’s just NOT THIS or NOT NOW. Trust Him, because He is forever faithful