By Kaitlin Perry
I failed, and I’ll be the first to admit it.
I expected me, of all people, to step off of my college grounds right into an entry-level position at a magazine, newspaper or other artistic corporate office. But, nope. I’m still an itty bitty hostess at a super shitty restaurant, short a raise and a timely promotion to, gasp! server.
Many tell me this is normal and not to be so hard on myself. That I’ve only been a college grad for three months and I just need to keep looking for something every so often. Others tell me I lost my sass and need to work harder when it comes to the actual job hunt (i.e. walking into the offices and asking to speak to the HR people). But what do I tell myself?
I tell myself, on a good day, that this was meant to be, that the reason I’m technically unemployed is because I deserved a break this summer and, now that it’s September, a job will find me when it’s ready. On a bad day I tell myself that I truly did fail myself and my family, my teachers and friends, because I didn’t get an internship and I didn’t make the right kind of connections in college. I tell myself that I let myself get weak and that I’m forever destined to be penniless and destitute. I might as well allow myself to become that cat lady everyone keeps saying I already am.
But today I’ve decided to shut up (after the above rant, of course), because I’ve finally been inspired by what I like to call the Early Twenties Crisis, which primarily concerns itself with the meaning of existence and the importance of money. My summer has essentially been an extended version of this crisis, with panic attacks and complete breakdowns that occur every couple of weeks, and, frankly, it blows. I wish I could have been 100 percent happy and satisfied solely with the fact that I actually graduated from a four-year private university, and on time at that. I wish I could have listened to my mom and written a novel (she’s positive that’s why I don’t have a job to occupy all of my time). But mostly, I wish I could have been more respectful and considerate of the situations of those around me, who are not as lucky as I am.
I feel like I was born to be a student. School has always been easy for me because I love doing research, I love writing and I love making to-do lists. School gave me the opportunity to do all three of those things, and for that I miss it dearly. Now that I don’t have school I haven’t used my planner in months and I feel like I have nothing substantial to research, and no real purpose. The easy solution? Grad school, duh. The big problem? Funds.
I feel as though I’m slowly sinking into a dark, barren place full of broken hopes and dreams.
Or should I say, felt.
When Facebook-chatting with a dear (and much-missed) friend about my post-grad “life” a few days after I wrote everything up to this point, I expressed to him how little purpose I thought I had now that I didn’t have school to hold me up and give me responsibility and attainable goals.
“No no no, now you have more purpose,” he wrote.
“I mean, yes,” I wrote back, “as in I have more time to define my purpose. But I have no idea what that is.”
And then he sent me, through the wires and waves (yes, that’s a Rilo Kiley song) of the internet, the most powerful, thought provoking, challenging and honest words anyone has ever said to me about my new life as a college graduate:
“Your purpose is you.”
Whether or not he realized how powerful his message was doesn’t really matter. The power of a message depends on the way it is received. For me, this message made me feel like a brand new person, full of hope and instantly abandoned by my old frenemy, depression. I was inspired to get myself out of the grave I was slowly digging for myself and focus on my health and mental well being. I slept easier that night, had less disturbing dreams, didn’t feel suffocated by the weight of evil and the thoughts it had been bringing about on a nightly basis. Life finally had new meaning, and, at last, I felt true and organic inspiration.
Enter, the Inspired.