So much has happened and changed since graduation—it’s been almost a full year already—and a core theme for myself and a lot of the people I’ve talked to is around purpose. In college, your career purpose was to basically do well in school to find a job. For the most part, we also had a personal purpose that we didn’t have time for in college that comes into play once we somewhat achieve our career purpose. Some people can make those two align if their jobs are truly reflective of their passions, which is awesome, but some don’t. We suddenly hit a point where we began the stepping stones for our career purpose, but what do we do with our personal ones? How can we make our personal lives purposeful? Wait, what even is my personal purpose? This is where you can easily fall into a monotonous and routine lifestyle—the 9-5 worklife, Netflix, and sleep. And it’s incredibly easy to fall into that routine.
It can be difficult to figure out what that purpose is, but how you end up making your life purposeful will form your identity. I’ve been looking to things I’ve always been passionate about doing and learning but always putting off; I’m looking at areas where I need to reevaluate if I’m spending my time in the right places. But it’s totally fine if you don’t already have those things, because the exciting part is that you finally have the luxury to find new hobbies or do things you’ve never thought you would try.
Time is really a funny thing here, because you technically have less time, but it becomes much more available. Your free time gets reduced to the weekend and the few hours between like 6pm-bedtime, but there isn’t the lingering studying, or clubs and working towards your resume that you can always be doing in college. You have to prioritize where you want to spend your time and who you want to spend it with.
I think I struggled with this one the most, that of relationships. Maybe its the fact that I moved to a city where I knew practically no one, but the problem is still the same. There is much more effort and intentionality required to maintain friendships, as you’re not always surrounded by people anymore and don’t see people as often. If you’re not in the same city, this can be reduced to the few vacation days and holidays. Friends can begin to diverge as your identity becomes rooted in different things. Not only that, but it’s much harder to make new friends. The people you meet at work can all vary in ages and what stage they are in life—no longer is everyone sharing the same college struggle as you where you can easily relate. And how do you even begin to meet people outside of work?
The last one is money. You’re finally in a stable financial situation, so what do you do with the spare money you earn? There’s many things you can do: save/invest, give some to family, splurge a little on yourself. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s easy to idolize money or use money unwisely. I think recognizing how you are spending your money, and what you are willing to versus not willing to spend money on helps.
These are all interconnected; the relationships you have, where you spend your time and money, form your purpose and identity. And it’s not easy to adapt to them, heck, you can know what you need to change and still fall victim to the Netflix and chill. There’s nothing wrong with that occasionally, but I’m trying as hard as I am to move away from that and find my purpose.