Growing Up is (Still) Hard to Do

For a while now, I’ve been thinking of making some changes to this blog. “Musings of a Recent College Graduate” seems less fitting now, considering I graduated over two years ago.

And yet, whenever I try to think of a new name for this grouping of writings, nothing jumps out at me. I am still getting used to this phase of life not having a set ending, of not being able to section it off nicely with an end and a beginning. Before, it was always beginning of a grade, end of a grade, on to the next level of school, and so on.

Here, it is an ever-stretching land, with no concrete beginnings or endings I can clearly see, called Adult.

I still don’t even know for sure what the word “adult” means.

I think it’s how I’m supposed to describe myself now, but when I try it on, it still doesn’t seem to fit quite right. The sleeves are a little long, the shoulders a little too boxy, and the hem hangs a little crooked.

And there’s something about “Musings of an Adult” that just doesn’t have a nice ring to it.

Two years ago almost to the day, I wrote about having an Identity Trial.

Graduating from college and attempting to enter “the big kid world” has brought about significant changes in many aspects of my life (some of which I mentioned here). I’ve lost my familiar rhythms of life, the frustrations and joys of schoolwork, and perhaps one I’m struggling with the most, the label of “college student.” So although for most of my life I had a fairly strong sense of who I am, right now my identity is…a bit in flux. Not quite an identity crisis.

An identity trial, if you will.

At my core I still know who I am; my belief in God is firmly intact, and I have a sense that I would like to do something with my life that is bigger than me, but not FOR me. I still know my likes and dislikes, things I am good at and not good at, things that make me laugh and those that make me cringe.

Though my circumstances have changed—I’ve been at my “big kid” job for a year and a half and out of my parents’ house for over a year—a surprising amount of those words still feel true. When I look back at old pictures or am reminded of college in other ways, it still feels so recent, so important, and still not something I’m entirely ready to completely let go of. There’s still so much I’m trying to figure out about how to be an adult well, about how to find and create meaning and goodness in whatever stage of life I’m in.

And a still a blog name that no longer seems to fit, but that I can’t quite bring myself to replace just yet.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

p.s. What’s hardest for you about growing up?

I Am Not My Title

It’s been nearly a year since I graduated from my label of “College Student.” Shedding it…losing it…those are fair ways to describe how I feel about it too. After being out of school for only a few months, it was somewhat understandable that I was having what I called an Identity Trial. Four years I had spent in college, and many more before that in various levels of school, always introducing myself as a “student at ______.” Student. It’s what I knew. It had become who I was, and I was okay with that.

Until it wasn’t there anymore.

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Photo Credit: Flickr User matthew solle

For most of the past year I had a few titles I wore part-time due to various jobs. They were fine, but nothing I hung my identity on, nothing permanent enough to get overly attached to.

And then. A full-time job, an office with real walls and a window, and a title. One that will be printed on my business cards and gets added to the end of emails. A title that says, “This is what I do, this is who I work for.”

But I am somewhat reluctant to pull this title on fully. It is what I do, but it is not who I am.

Maybe this makes me a bad employee. It’s not that I dislike my title or my company; I’m quite honored to have a job, and I respect and appreciate who I work for and with. But I’m realizing I do not want my job to define me. I want to approach it as a shirt, one I wear proudly and well when the time is right, but not as skin. This job, this title, any job, any title, does not define who I am as a being.

Some blurring between what I do and who I am is inevitable, nor is it necessarily bad. Because of who I am, I will do the job differently than others would–who I am shapes how I do what I do.
I work at least 40 hours a week and come in contact with a variety of fascinating people, thoughts, and ideas–over time, these will in part shape who I am.

But they are not the same. Who I am remains separate from what I do.

When I was a student, I was fine letting that be both what I did and who I was. Things are different now though, and I am choosing to not be my title.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

p.s. Does what you do define who you are? Why or why not?

Identity Trial

This post is a part of something bigger—a collection of posts, written by young people, simply sharing what we have to say. We are young (but we have words). 

 

Ask five twenty-two year olds what they’re doing, and you will likely get five different answers. From grad school to weddings, apartments to travels abroad, full-time jobs with benefits to babies, coffee shops to parents’ homes. A lot of these involve mild to massive amounts of change…which I don’t tend to be very good at handling.

Graduating from college and attempting to enter “the big kid world” has brought about significant changes in many aspects of my life (some of which I mentioned here). I’ve lost my familiar rhythms of life, the frustrations and joys of schoolwork, and perhaps one I’m struggling with the most, the label of “college student.” So although for most of my life I had a fairly strong sense of who I am, right now my identity is…a bit in flux. Not quite an identity crisis.

An identity trial, if you will.

At my core I still know who I am; my belief in God is firmly intact, and I have a sense that I would like to do something with my life that is bigger than me, but not FOR me. I still know my likes and dislikes, things I am good at and not good at, things that make me laugh and those that make me cringe.

But that might be about where my list ends. For the time being, I am learning who I am outside of the classroom walls I spent so much time in. I am learning that though I am not enrolled at a particular school, I can still be a student—just in different ways. I am learning that I still have much to learn about just about everything.

It’s an intimidating, uncertain process. I never expected to feel quite THIS out of sorts after I graduated; I knew it would be a change, but I didn’t realize how deeply it would affect me. I wasn’t even aware of how comfortable I had become in the label of “student,” and how disconcerting it would be to shed it.

The type of learning I am doing now is much more frustrating. There are no tests to study for, but that is because there are rarely cut and dried right and wrong answers. There are no long weekends or snow days in the school of real life, no labeled teachers in front of the classroom.

So for the next who-knows-how-long (probably forever, really) I am unsure. Intimidated. Tentative. Overwhelmed. And learning.

I may be having an identity trial, but I am not done.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~