The Elusive Idea of Proving Oneself

The Elusive Idea of Proving Oneself

Most of the time when I sit down to write for That First Year, a similar string of contemplation unravels. Contemplations include:

  1. What have I learned since graduating?
  2. Which goals have I achieved since graduating?
  3. How much wisdom, clarity, etc. have I gained since graduating?

All problematic for a number of reasons. Reasons include:

  1. The more I learn, the less I know, the less I find out as I go (howdy U2, I love you).
  2. My goals are changing every day. Consistency is not my strong suit, causing the great “goal” quest to be a little slippery. I envy those of you who have a clear vision, but I also don’t believe you.
  3. Sounding like a real asshole.

What it boils down to essentially is this pressure to prove myself. But prove what? I’m not even totally sure. This pressure is entirely self-created; I’m lucky to have family and friends who support and believe in me despite my wishy-washiness. Sometimes I feel like they trust me too much. I realize this is a good problem to have.

Since graduating, I’ve taken some time figuring out which direction to go. I’ve done the nannying thing, then the traveling thing and now the retail thing. None of which are relevant to my major (which I’ve learned is in itself, irrelevant), but I can also say with 1000% confidence that my interest no longer even lies in that field. I’ve criticized myself every step of the way, but it is comforting to know just how many people are in that same boat.

This time has allowed me to realize where my biggest passion lies, and, frankly, where it always has: art, specifically illustration. This is something I feel confident and excited about pursuing. And it feels DAMN GOOD to finally be able to say that.

Now, come with me to a New Year’s Day that consisted of basically nothing but the most delirious hangover I have ever lived through!

My roommates and I eventually removed ourselves from the vast pit of darkness called six hours on the couch and drove to our friends’ house for spaghetti. The topic of conversation over dinner covered the ways in which we saw each other grow in 2015. Something you should know about my friends and I is our shared need to give and receive words of affirmation. It’s not unusual for us to sit around and praise one another literally in list form. I think it’s important to let the people you love know what you admire about them. God knows we don’t speak to ourselves that kindly.

I loved how unapologetically bold Savannah had become. I learned through Shannon how to be more open and transparent. I saw Aly begin to make decisions for herself without losing her genuinely selfless nature. I would continuously look up to Palmer’s unshakable confidence.

What Savannah had commended the most about me, as it turns out, was that thing I had been beating myself up over all year. She admired that I took this year as an opportunity to go the odd job route, not marketing/PR, because it would have had made me miserable. It helped her realize for herself that it’s okay to not have it all figured out either, and that jumping into your typical 9-to-5 isn’t necessarily the answer for everyone.

It seems to me that “proving” yourself is nothing but an elusive idea ingrained in each of our heads. We feel this pressure to go a certain direction because of the time and money we invested in our degrees, but the reality is if you know that certain direction isn’t for you, then just don’t fucking go there. There’s more than one way to survive in this post-grad jungle; I think a little reminder is all we really need. 

[Photo by Juliette Kibodeaux.]


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