The elevator arrived on the fifth floor, and I got out. It was the top level of the parking garage. There were no cars parked up there, I remembered from the last time I had been. Just one single security truck, sat parked and fuming as I awkwardly walked past. As I neared the building ledge, I stared ahead, searching for a good place to rest my eyes upon, in … My skin was hot, my chest was tight, and my muscles were knotted. I was mad, but, “at whom,” was the question I searched for in the distant skyline.
I suppose frustrated is a better contextual fit. It was Friday evening, and I had just clocked out of what seemed to be the longest week of my entire life. When I had graduated in early August just a few months before, I thought that things would go back to being exactly the same as they were before I had left for school. Now that it was March and I was a little over half a calendar away from where I had started, I realized I was largely mistaken. My mom was in the process of looking for a new home, my brother was a few hundred miles away providing for his own life, and my sister had always had a family to be concerned with and keep her occupied.
Needless to say, my support system was busy. What’s more was, I was adulting, and no longer had the excuse of school to deter what progress was supposed to be happening. I had to answer questions like, “So, what are you doing with your degree now?” and “How is everything going?” with a confident smile, reassuring the masses that my new found black hole of debt was worth the initials it bought me. In reality, all I could really think about were the lease payments I was late on, the heavy workload combated by coworker drama that did not even involve me, and the car I still did not have.
The thing that confused me the most in all of it was that I was confident in all the decisions I had made. I felt a sense of purpose larger than myself with my work. I had more bills living on my own, but with that also came the freedom and space to become me. Even the decision to not have a car at the moment was helping me save on expenses that were looming in the present tense. So who or what was I angry with?
When I took a step back from the ledge, a single tear fell. Before I had graduated, my mentor had told me to be careful of my tendency to self-sabotage. She didn’t think I bit off more than I could chew in situations, necessarily, she just thought it would be more comfortable and productive to chew less at a time. I reluctantly agreed with her, but here I was, not even aware of all I was doing with a world of outside influences affecting me. I had planned 3 months ago, to take the GRE this coming weekend, and I was not ready. A coworker, that I adored and admired, had passed away the week before and I was distraught to say the least.
Old relationships continued to resurface, making me question present as well as past decisions in an offsetting manner. To top it all off, I felt as if I was just as far from my goals as I was 7 months ago when I had graduated. What they don’t tell you in college is that once you graduate is life goes a little faster. If you don’t jump on that moving train and balance all that you can, you fall off. You fall hard, and that train keeps going just as fast. So what keeps you balanced? A good ole daily dose of self-care.
As taboo as it still seems, even with it’s greater strides made in society, tend to your mental health professionally if you can. If nothing in your life comes to mind that is of great concern to talk about, unleash your subconscious thoughts that go unsaid, but are deeply seated and felt about the world around you. It is okay to be angry, because there are many things in this world to be angry about. However, where does that anger go if you don’t let it go? To cry on top of parking garages, that’s where. If you do not take care of yourself in the process of doing all that you want, you grow to resent your lifestyle, and the very choices you made in efforts to make yourself happy.
This ultimately leads to a perpetual state of limbo. In this state, you’re trying to find happiness that is ever present, but hidden in the depths of your distracting temporary distress. So, take a few extra moments at the beginning of your day to spend some quality time with yourself, your way, or take a friend out to eat over the weekend and VENT your life away. Whatever you do, do it with regard for yourself and your own mental clarity. Then, when it’s time to do what you have to do, the world has less weight to throw you off balance with.