When I converse with young college alums, we often discuss the life between their parent’s home and their own. Whether the transition is from their parent’s home or from college to the workplace, our talks about handling the angst in transitioning are engaging.
Most of them were told to go to college, major in something they like, and then get the job they would love. Some of them said they fell for it hook, line, and sinker without being prepared for the seeds of discontent. Others said life is what you make it so adjust through the unexpected and learn from it:
When you love someone and want the best for them -- whether it’s a familial relationship or a friendship -- it is sometimes hard to draw the line between caring for them and carrying them.
Parenting is a challenge in itself, but savvy parents know that you can’t parent the child the same way at every age. The pre-med grad taught her father the difference between trying to influence her decisions versus controlling her. The unmotivated grad’s parents hadn’t drawn the line between teaching her to fish versus providing the fish. The businesswoman’s daughter learned that sometimes life is about the bigger picture and that getting what you want requires sacrifices.
Claiming the person you want to be is a lot harder than just wishing for it to happen. You can’t have all the advantages without the responsibilities or sacrifices. Frank A. Clark said, “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere.”
In life, there are many bridges in the form of people, jobs, and unforeseen circumstances that will carry you to some good, bad, and insightful places. Claiming who you want to be is the longest bridge to cross because defining yourself, while trying to live up to others’ expectations, requires self examination, hard choices, and perseverance.
In the end, you have to live your own life, because no one else can do it for you. “Do not look where you fell but where you slipped” is an insightful African proverb to use throughout your life experiences. Whether it is acceptance, rejection, or something in-between, life’s transitions will come with some angst. Learning to face and resolve it is simply part of the journey.