We Just Are
It’s been 2 years since graduation. It’s also been 2 years since I started working. If I didn’t make that conscious decision to pursue other pastures, I wouldn’t have noticed that 2 years had already passed. Of course, you might ask, “what’s 2 years compared to those who have worked a decade or two?” Some of you might even say, “it was just 2 years, there’s no way you’ve achieved anything significant.“
Back in March, the university program I was enrolled in invited me to share my after-college experience with existing students and/or alumni, namely how I got my first job and what I’ve achieved thus far. When the committee approached me, I didn’t consider myself qualified enough to be one of the speakers.
At that time, I’d just left my previous job (how was that an achievement?) and accepting the invitation seemed hypocritical… However, with a little encouragement from my folks and some friends, including the lure of food that would be available at the event, I accepted the school’s invitation.
In the last 2 months of almost blissful unemployment, there was time and opportunity to reflect on many things, including that event in March. It turned out to be a close-knit session for all; each speaker had something valuable to say, even if they may/may not have yet succeeded in their individual fields. In my case, I focused on why I’d left my previous job, even without having first secured the next one.
This is where I’m afraid I’ll need to refute your argument from earlier. It has never been critical for someone to first succeed in order to “qualify” as a “speaker”, what more as a speaker of their own experiences in the field. In fact, the endpoint we often call Success will always be complicated by many things such as varying personal goals and benchmarks, what the majority of society considers to be “success”, and other deceptively simple factors.
While my past 2 years in the field might be shorter relative to those of others, the point of that session wasn’t to come out to the world and “boast” about my “achievements”. For me, it was about being human, and sharing that with everyone at the event, just as I do with my posts here at Solo Wandergirl. Life after college, or after a year or more of work, or during anything at all shouldn’t be about what we’ve achieved. It shouldn’t be about the material and social indicators of wealth.
Instead, it should be about the troughs and crests of everyday life and emotions, the family and friends/co-workers we love/know, and even the strangers we encounter on our daily commute. It should be about us and our accumulated wealth of experiences that come with every decision we take. When all has been said and done, we shouldn’t doubt our place amongst the larger social fabric; we shouldn’t ever feel unqualified to be who we simply are.