Around this time of the year everyone seems to have some sort of hack, trick or game changer on making the transition to school life easier and more manageable. From organizational techniques or makeovers on drab dorm rooms to beautifully colourful fresh out-of-a-magazine dream room. This advice is all very well and good unless you’re done with school; whether it’s high school, college or university. Having recently finished my dream university experience, I was naïve to think that life after university would just come together, maybe not elegantly but eventually like pieces of a puzzle fitting together one by one. I would either go into a postgraduate program or find a job that one could make into a promising career. Life had other plans for me.
Like many of my fellow academic students, I was average. I passed my classes, some on the high end and some on the low end. After accomplishing 4 years of gruelling exams, papers, projects and dramas both in and out of classes, I felt that I was ready to face the world outside of our university bubble. After getting my fancy title in my field, I was at a crossroad. I could try and find a research position that I was qualified for or I could go back into the educational system and attempt to increase my grades, extracurricular activities and network with influential professors to improve the likelihood of furthering my education. Both of these choices didn’t interest me so I decided to take a gap year to figure out what I truly wanted in this afterglow of graduating postsecondary school. I decided to apply for another program that would secure a job once graduating. I took a one-year online course and finished it in 3 months to qualify for the applications, while emailing various professors to attain an academic reference. While juggling 2 jobs, the tedious online course and enduring a lovely Canadian winter, my thoughts began to stray to my friends travelling. How glamorous and carefree their lives seemed to be, as I was bombarded by their lavish social media presences. I believe it was the uncertainty of waiting to hear back from my applications, the brutally cold weather and the agonizingly long days of one job starting at 5:30am and the other ending at 7:30pm that made me ready for change. I booked a ticket to South East Asia, planning to meet up with a friend already there and suddenly there was an excitement in me again. The mere thought of planning a trip sparked joy in my seemingly grey life and as quickly as I could, I jetted off to have what I thought would be a happier time.
Don’t get me wrong I had an amazing time but there were some hard times as well. It wasn’t as carefree as I expected and it was definitely more work than I realized. After traveling through many spectacular countries and seeing sights I never thought imaginable, I came back to life in Canada. I came back, feeling different, a new colour added to the monotones of life before. I was excited to come home and see friends, family and the beautiful sights of the seasons changing. I expected the clouds to have parted and I would finally know what I wanted in life. I knew what I didn’t want and what I did want generally but from this trip I realized that it’s ok to be unsure. It’s ok to not know and to start with some small things. I realized that this is a big world, with many beautiful sights to be seen and experienced. I knew that I no longer wanted to waste time waiting like I had before and that it’s ok not to constantly be on the move or to be living an extravagant life.
Find something that brings you happiness, whether it’s having your morning coffee in your favourite old, cozy sweater or using a favourite pen or indulging in a piece of jewellery that you can’t seem to stop thinking about, to complete that perfect outfit. Personally, I’m all about anything that brings a pop of colour to an outfit, preferably with a hint of blue. One of my personal favourite items that brings me joy is the Sodalite Drop layer necklace by Monoxide (I had the perks of living with such a talented being and occasionally borrowing her pieces). It’s amazing how something small can alter your mood and change your whole day. If you can, you should take that piece of joy you’ve created and spread it. Try and give it to someone else to make their outlook just a little brighter, hold a door open or compliment someone because you don’t know what they might be going through. Remember to bask in your small moments of happiness because they remind us that big or small, a problem will pass. It’s normal to feel lost after going through four years of having constant structure and although it’s daunting to see friends getting married, pregnant or having careers, you’re only young once. Enjoy it and find things that bring you little moments of truly blissful happy dances or goofy smiles because life is too short to be stuck. There is no stencil or easy guide to happy living; as long as you acknowledge how you’re feeling and be brutally honesty with yourself although it may seem impossible, there will always be choices. If you’re unhappy with something change it or find something that makes you happy. Obstacles will always seem to stand in your way to the top but only you truly stand in your way. You can only do your best and learn from any mistakes along the way. Live while you can, unapologetically, undeterred and more so, to your best self.
-Dash of Blue (not certified to be giving advice but does it anyway)