This conversation really happened yesterday:
12-year-old: What did you study in college?
Me: I majored in Communication.
12-year-old: For babysitting?
Okay, ouch. But admittedly that’s how it feels sometimes. I’ve been applying for full-time jobs, but in the meantime I’ve got a steady part-time job and I do a lot of babysitting and housesitting. For the record, this was not the purpose of my degree. And I hate that. Especially given how hard-won my college experience felt, it can feel super anticlimactic to just be doing odd jobs.
To be fair, I have a plan and am doing all of this right now to save up so that when I land that full-time job in my field (notice: didn’t say dream job) then I can actually afford to, you know, pay rent.
When everyone’s paths are diverging and moving at such different paces, this setup can feel a lot like I busted my butt for years only to be launched back to square one. I imagine anyone reading this can probably think of a time they felt similarly. Here’s the thing: We all go through it. It may look different for some than others, but the fact is we all feel like forward motion is easier said than done.
The thing that has probably helped me most — besides a good laugh, which is the best short-term solution to any problem ever — is to remember that every morning is square one. Today I have the chance to start over and make the day better than the one before it. It’s not a do-over, but it is a new page. And maybe in enough time, the residue from all the days I’ve spent will add up to enough that instead of starting at square one every morning, I’ll be starting at square three. The catch is then that will feel like square one.
See, progress is a perspective game. You can go further than you ever imagined, but it takes a lot of awareness and effort to both be proud of how far you’ve come and motivated by how far you still have to go. I’m looking forward to working on that, even if some days I have to start my progress all over.
P.S. If you want a song for this kind of a mood, I highly recommend “Forward Motion” by Relient K.