May and June are graduation season. All over my timeline I see pictures of people graduating, saying how grateful they are to their friends and family for their support, throwing their hats in the air and smiling ready to use their wings. This takes me back to last year, when I was the one ready to use my wings. Diploma in hand (well…fake diploma in hand since they only sent the real one months and months later) I was ready to leave montreal, where I had spent the last 4 years of my life to fly to India and volunteer before going back home, back to my little island Haïti.
While many people wanted to find stability or gain more ‘knowledge’ after graduation, I wanted to be shaken, I wanted to be tested and gain experience, I wanted life to slap me and hug me in all of the possible forms. This is exactly why I neither pursued my studies for a masters degrees and waited till last minute to look for an internship home. Instead of finding a safe nest, I flew to India to fall in love with humanity in different ways. The reason why I chose India was less of an emotional decision but belongs more to the spiritual level. Anyway, let’s not get into that in this post. Truth is, I was thirsty to learn from life. I was excited to close the books and feel, taste, be and grow. This post is for you whether you are 20 or 30, whether you just graduated or collecting your 5th diploma, whether you feel like you lived ‘right’ or not… This is a post to remind you that you should always stay young at heart and follow what your heart pumps for. I might not cover all the reasons why now is the time to be bold and free but I sure will share what I’ve learned so far. So get ready to hear some not so pretty truths and reposition yourself so you can start living.
1- You don’t have a plan for your life
Oops, I just made you realize that your “Get graduated-Get a job-Get married and have kids” plan is pretty much… a fairytale? I am sorry but truth is, you have nothing figured out. As a matter of fact, even the one who thinks differently doesn’t have anything figured out. Nothing goes exactly as planned in this life and if you are not open to getting doors closed in your face, jobs not being what you expected them to be, people not being what you wanted them to be, you set yourself up for depression. Reality is that, when you get your diploma, you are just starting a new chapter that has not been yet written. At least, it has not been written by you. In your 20s (or anytime you decide to take a step back and reevaluate your life), you are at the time when you realize that, 18 is too young to pick a career and that, knowing what you know now would probably change most of the choices you made in the past but you also realize that the journey just begins and that if only you would close your eyes and taste each step of the way as it comes, you will not only learn more but also grow more into who you were always designed to be.
2- Other people’s failures have nothing to do with your story
You are now at the time where you are stuck between knowing when to listen to other’s advice of ‘wisdom’ and knowing when to hide your ears and run fearlessly towards your crazy dreams. This is the big dilemma: Young enough to jump without fear, too stubborn to know when others are right. Let me share my point of view with you. You will meet many people who just like you, had dreams and aspirations in their 20s. Some of them gave up for different reasons and will try to tell you that you can’t change everything, that you can’t do this and do that, that you are too young, not experienced enough, too soft, too impulsive. And you know what? They might be right at some levels but never ever ever under any circumstances let your dreams die because he/she didn’t make it. Be wise enough to learn from others mistakes and bold enough to change your strategy so you go further.Don’t give up, you might have a long way to go but the dreams you have on the inside are not a random coincidence. The things you are passionate about are your calling.
3- Now is the time to be selfish
You probably don’t have kids yet or major responsibilities. Great. So why not take advantage of that now? This is the time to change jobs, to throw away what doesn’t make you happy, to book tickets last minute, to take some time off, to take a gap year, to make small money, to save up, to try 2-3 part time jobs, to change your mind, to decide you got bored of this and that, to change your hair style just because (haha) and to live every minute of your life without ever being sorry for it. Don’t get scared of instability! In a year, I have changed jobs 2-3 times. I didn’t renew my internship contract after 2 months because I was bored, worked at a company for 4 months and now I have a job that I love and that will only be full-time in September because it is a new project that is still being put into place now so I am basically helping creating it… I always made sure the contracts were short and renewable instead of long term deals. Some people might see this as unstable. In fact, at my first post-graduation internship, 2 people told me that I was not aware of the reality of life, that I will probably have to be stuck with a 9-5 for a long time bla bla bla. And this is probably the case for some people who don’t have a choice because of a baby or other responsibilities, things are not always black or white but what I know for sure is that my experiences kept getting better and better. After each experience, I found something that suited me better, that made me feel more alive. I also knew myself better and I knew exactly what I wanted and didn’t want to do.
4- You are a work in progress
Life is a constant movement. You learn every single day. Don’t be afraid to wake up one day and realize you have a completely different mindset, different ways of seeing things. This is normal because you are in constant evolution. Everything changes and nature is our perfect teacher on that topic. Sunsets are different, trees grow, clouds fade away…This is God’s way of showing us that life in itself is changing every second. So why would you be afraid of change? You realized that you didn’t want to work in the field you studied 4 years for? Ok, take a deep breath and spend time alone to listen to what you inner self asks you to do, what your heart whispers to you. It is not the end of the world.
5- You are in good shape to start trying
You have a long way to go so might as well start now. I am putting a business together right now! yes! But I know that I might not have everything all figured out right away. I know I will probably make mistakes, I know that I will forget some stuff but I also know that I will learn from it. I know that 10 years from now, I will be happy that I started my own thing at 21 years old because this is the time when I have the most energy to get back up after a failure or enough motivation to keep going no matter what.
So to all the graduates….CONGRADULATIONS! But please please please, be intentional about using your wings. Flying means not staying in one place. It means leaving one place and finding a nest until the nest no longer fits your lifestyle. I am so proud of the person I am becoming! But it is because I moved, cried, got excited, got disappointed, and laughed some more. I am a work in progress. I am still learning and I know that each experience is a part of my story. I got to inspire people who thought they were too old to start over and this means the world to me. Yes you have to start somewhere but starting somewhere doesn’t mean staying stuck. “If you don’t like where you are, move, you are not a tree”. So ready, set, Fly, this is the start of the journey of a lifetime.
A travel lover