First of all, happy cinco de mayo! Part of me really wants to continue this whole post in Spanish, but honestly and sadly, I don't remember much of it after my two years of high school and two years of college classes. Conjugating verbs was never my thing. I hope you will be celebrating today with some tacos and maybe a fun drink or two. At least have chips and salsa.
Yesterday marked four years since I graduated college. Four, you guys. Four!! I absolutely cannot believe it. And next year will mark 10 years since graduating high school. I absolutely cannot believe it's happening. Some days, I have a hard time believing I'm actually an adult. That, however, is another post for another day. Today, I want to share with you four things that I've learned since graduating college. One for each year that I've been gone from The University of Alabama.
1. Take risks and have adventures | The fall after graduating college, I packed up my first apartment and packed a bag. My stuff went with my parents and my bag went with me to California. I knew no one and I flew across the country by myself. I partnered with the North American Mission Board to be a semester missionary in Tahoe City, California. It was the farthest I had ever been away from home, but one of the greatest decisions. I met some wonderful friends, got to visit some wonderful places, and spent most of my time with kids and outdoors, two of my favorite things. It wasn't the typical first job after college, but it was a fun one and I was using my degree! California is where I learned to kayak, how to engage people in the community, attempted to ski, and learned to make friends with people different than me.
2. Moving home isn't that bad | As graduation kept creeping closer, I knew that moving back home was a possibility. I wasn't sure what I was going to do after walking across the stage and I didn't know if I wanted to stay in Tuscaloosa. Then, California happened. And as my time there started winding down, I knew that moving back home was absolutely going to happen. I wasn't the most excited about it, although I know mom was! That year of living at home again was honestly one of the toughest for me. I felt stuck, unprepared, and unsuccessful. I didn't know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go, but I knew that home with my parents was where the Lord wanted me. So, I got involved with my church again, I became a barista (another risk and adventure), spent time (lots of it) with mom and dad, and poured myself into the Word and prayer. Those were the two constants that I could rely on that also gave me comfort. Living at home also helped me save money, which is always nice! Being at home was that moratorium time that I needed, to spend a little time just figuring out who I was and what the Lord wanted me to do.
3. Cultivate good habits | While living at home again, I started making my bed more, drinking more water, going running, paid my bills on time. I started taking care of myself better. And these are all things that I'm still doing (for the most part) today. I love making my bed in the morning, because when I come home it feels like my whole room is clean. Drinking water and running are just things that make me feel better. Even though I don't want to do them half the time, I always love it after. Paying my bills on time is just responsible and I've become obsessed with my credit score. Student loans hang over me like most graduates nowadays, but it's the monthly bill that I hate to love to pay. I hate that I have to pay it, but I love watching the balance go down. Another good habit that I've been practicing since moving away from home is faithfully tithing. My first year in Mobile was a year where the Lord continually showed me His providence and how He is my daily bread. Tithing faithfully is just my small, sacrificial praise to Him for being my daily bread and all that I need.
4. Find community | This one has truly played a huge part in my life, especially the past year. When I moved to Mobile, one of the first things I started doing was looking for a church. My college ministry was one of the things that made my college years so great. I wanted that to be true for my post-college, adult life too. I knew that I needed a place to grow spiritually and a place that could put me in the path of making new friends. Let's be honest, making friends in the real world, as an adult, is tough! And sadly, and as much as I hate to say it, the best friends you were surrounded with in college may not be your best friends four years later. There are people I wish I would have never lost contact with and I don't even know where or how to begin those friendships again. Which makes me so thankful for the college friendships that I do still have. Community is something that we need. And the best community for me is found through those certain college friendships, my church family, and my grow group. They are the people I can look to for encouragement and they are the people that will speak truth to me, even when I'm being stubborn and don't want to hear it.
These four year after college have shown me a lot, the biggest being that life may look a whole lot different four years after graduation than what you imagined. But, these things are the greatest lessons learned so far. And they are lessons I try to think about every day. I'm not sure when the adult thing will truly feel real. It may take another four years. Or like my time at Bama, I might need an extra year, a victory lap, just so I can fully comprehend it all. I don't want to miss anything. Roll Tide.
What were some of the things you learned your first few years after college? What lesson would you pass on? How is your life different than what you imagined it would be when you graduated or left home for the first time?
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