My dear friend, Joy Stewart, encouraged me to blog alongside her. Since her passing in January, I have found it very difficult to do so. However, I’ve done a few things in Joy’s name since, so here you go Joy, I’m at it again.
I am uncomfortable–and I love it. Yes, I am doing a service year. Yes, to all expected struggles that come with one’s journey through a service year. But finances and all things trickling down from that are not what I’m addressing. I’m talking about that uncomfortable feeling when you’re questioning the strength of your handshake when meeting someone in a work setting that has 4x the experience, knowledge, and expertise as you do. The discomfort in knowing that you’ve tried as many dog training tricks as you can with little to no results, and you wonder how in the hell people your age are raising children. The sense of discomfort when you receive your MCAT/LSAT/GRE/Whatever grad school test score you’ve studied months for that finally comes in your inbox, and it is 10 points lower than all of your practice tests. When you claim you haven’t had time or energy to keep in contact with your closest friends and family members, and they reach out to you one unexpected night–the uncomfortable guilt you have that you didn’t make the move, but the extreme comfort in knowing they genuinely understand. That uncomfortable moment when you do, say, or act in the same exact way of either one of your parents, and caught in between realizing you’re lucky enough to have become like them and scared enough to recognize that you’re now your own adult. Or the discomfort you feel when searching for a job or grad school, reading the minimum requirements, and questioning all decisions you’ve made up to that point in time.
The reason I am all about this uneasy, restless, anxious feeling is because it is fueling my confidence and driving my motivation. Since last May when I was handed my college diploma, I’ve taken on this true feeling of independence. At first I thought, “Damn, I’m good,” when I found my apartment, bought my own dog food, filled my own refrigerator, accepted my own big-girl job, wore my own high heels to work, and made my own friends in a new city without a college connection. I quickly realized that I am not so good (my other blog posts pin point some specifics), and that’s okay. It’s better than okay, it’s a reality check and it’s the best.
Barreling through so many uncertainties–especially at a time that others my age seem to be owning these unsettling moments–makes me want to work harder and learn more. I’ve realized I don’t have the best ideas in the room, my testing abilities aren’t as sharp as I thought, my time management isn’t so under control, and my confidence is not always through the roof. By putting myself out there, by taking on various things that I have come to know I am not experienced in, I have opened a world full of questions that only I can answer. More often than not, a lot of these answers come from the knowledge my parents subtly and not so subtly taught me while growing up–much of which I was unwilling to take in at the time. Some answers come from a lot of little failures I’ve experienced recently and in my past. And the remaining are found in Google searches in the middle of writing a work email, when you’re using a term just because you think it sounds fancy, but is most likely not contextually correct.
I’ve learned more than I have ever thought imaginable in the last 11 months and I am by no means a master at this being 22 thing. Humility in the work force gets you more respect and trust than anything else. However, confidence in what you’re doing, whether you know how to do it or not, is key to producing the best results. No one is confident in a half-ass effort, so that confidence brings me to my best product. Understanding that distance from my close friends and family members doesn’t mean there is a disconnect, is crucial to being able to pick up the phone and ask for help when I just can’t handle it anymore. And realizing that all that I have created is due to my efforts, yes, but mostly due to the time, critiques, and advice so many have given me throughout my life. As my brilliant mother always said, “nothing is handed to you,” and while I work to provide the best life for myself (which should inherently benefit others as well), I will always follow my mother’s other bit of advice,”never let them see you sweat.”
I will continue to happily find comfort through my discomfort.