There are a lot of things people don’t tell you will happen when you turn 22.
Thankfully, I skipped the I-don’t have-a-job panic but everyday is still like “holy (insert expletive here).”
Living in New York makes things ten times more scary and amazing, but I already know these few months after college are going to reign high as the most confusing.
After landing my job, I still had to figure everything else out. And so far it’s been like teaching a four year old how to ride a bike without training wheels — lots of falling, crying, (and now, swearing) sprinkled with a few moments of pure exhilaration.
There’s a distinct difference between being in your early twenties (20 or 21) and being exactly 22.
Suddenly, you’re a real human adult, far from home without your best friends around the block, and it shakes you as the phrase “Stay in college as long as you can” loudly floats in your head like someone’s told you that before.
It’s not so much the bills or paying rent or working a 9 to 5 job that is scary. What people don’t tell you is how lonely you’re going to be. Life will never be as easy as waking up, hanging out with your friends in class, hanging out with your friends after class, taking a nap, going out, rushing through your homework and doing it again.
No matter where you move after graduation, it’s going to be really lonely. You have to restart your life by yourself and hopefully with at least a couple people you know within driving distance.
Dating becomes this weird limbo of “I’m too young to date to get married” but “I’m too old to just hook up.” It’s like a weird trap where now you just look but don’t touch, because no one is looking to get tied down in a super serious relationship and you don’t want to live with the guilt (or the risks) of sleeping around.
You’re going to be really confused. All the time. Nothing is going to make sense from the new acne you’re getting like you’re 13 again to half the things your boss thinks you can do but you have no idea what’s going on.
You’ll wear nicer clothes that are bought at stores like J. Crew and the Loft instead of Forever 21 because you know they’re going to last longer.
You’ll have no idea what to make for dinner and end up crushing up tortilla chips and mixing them with a pack of tuna your mom sent you from Michigan because it was “on sale.”
Therefore to cope for all of this sudden change, and figure out the new life you’ve been handed, you need to talk to yourself. And my talk often goes like this:
Remember to call your mom. Five seconds with her will remind you what’s really important in life, even if you’re only talking about how long it takes for meat to go bad.
Fake it until you make it (applies to everything).
Remember how lucky you are to be working at a national magazine. You’re living every girl’s dream. You’re living your dream. Don’t get lost in the day and forget that.
Always call your friends from home. They’re going to be your crutches through it all.
You’re not going to remember that $30 you mistakenly spent on drinks or desperately on a cab ride to save your aching feet a year from now.
Find a mentor at work and digest everything they tell you. Never feel too comfortable at your job.
Don’t get sucked into a 9 to 5 rut and become reliant on Netflix everyday after work. (This one’s a toughie).
Don’t worry so much about boys or finding The One.
Being this poor is only temporary.
Remember how young you really are when you realize you only turned the age old enough to drink a year ago.
But the biggest and greatest, most rewarding thing you are going to learn is how to stick up for yourself. And when you learn that, everything, and I mean everything, gets a little easier.