About a year ago, a friend of mine told me, “Out of all the people I know, I feel like you’re the most ready for postgrad.”
I smiled and shrugged.
At the time, I was just a wide-eyed 21-year-old hopeful, excited for the opportunities my last year in college would offer. I was hardworking, chasing after the stories and interviews with people who inspired me. I fearlessly fought for the opportunity to be just a little closer to my “dream” (whatever that was). I loved music; I loved writing; and I wanted to write about the people who made the music I loved.
And I did that. I did just that. I chased those “dreams” and I got them. I’ve seen dreams unfold and things happen to me that I still question, “Why?” or “How?” because I often feel undeserving (but immensely grateful).
I’ve found that it becomes very easy to get caught up in your professional life. The fast-paced life of constantly working and doing things–of chasing the stars and stories of high-profile celebrities, living the blur of an OC-LA lifestyle–is addicting. I remember becoming so obsessed with chasing and doing things and trying to do more than I already had, that it was like I developed this unhealthy obsession of trying to “outdo” myself.
When I realized that, I started to feel ugly inside.
This past summer, I’ve had the chance to return home and “get away from it all.” Transitioning from the busy lifestyle of college to my small town suburban life was a little unsettling at first; but, as most kids have lamented returning home, I’ve found it to be really healthy.
In A Return To Love, Williamson reflects on her Course in Miracles, in which she discusses how our sole purpose in this universe is to use our love and talent in order to spread more love into the universe–to heal it.
That idea has been very comforting to me.
For so long, I’ve felt that the work I had been putting out within my music articles and interviews served no meaning. Writing stories about other people and producing snippets of concert recaps have been unfulfilling. I’ve found that they serve no purpose to you or to me or to anyone else, except to merely share information that would soon be forgotten in the grand scheme of our lives.
I’ve realized this desire in me to put work out there that means something–that can spread love into the universe, to teach others to love just a little more openly; to teach others that a genuine heart and a genuine soul can do good things; to teach people that when we believe in a good world, we receive one; and to encourage people to find their story and not be afraid to tell it.
In the weeks leading up to graduation, I felt as if I had done everything I had wanted to do in college. For the first time in my life, I felt ready for something more–apart from my dreams, aspirations, work and career. I was ready to let love into my life.
But, I felt as if I needed to ask for permission to do so. I gave myself excuses that I wasn’t ready. “I need to work on myself more, and then I’ll be ready!”
Let’s admit it: we all want to feel important. We all want to feel significant; to do things that matter; to make our marks, whether in our relationships, work or the world.
When we do ourselves the disservice by telling ourselves that we shouldn’t want those things–that we shouldn’t want to feel important or have significance–then we won’t. Our fear of owning up to our desires limits us from getting them–and thus limits ourselves to be our best, most brilliant versions of us.
“The reason so many people want to be actors is not because they are truly called to the art, but rather because they want so desperately to create something beautiful in their own lives. Show up! Be enthusiastic! Put some energy into the life you’re living now! How will anyone ever be impressed by your starlike quality if you’re waiting to cultivate that quality until you become a star?”
I’ve outlined a couple of ideas I have taken from Williamson’s book. Do with it what you will, but they are definitely transformative.
I’ve found that, especially during this postgrad time when all my friends are lamenting postgrad life, I’m actually feeling excited. Why? Well, for the first time in our lives, we have the opportunity to choose and decide to live our lives in the way we want and see fit. Is that not wonderful?
The single most important thing I have found though, is that when you exude warmth, love and kindness into everything you do, that comes right back to you.
On writing a story for the right reasons–for the joy of creativity, rather than merely being creative:
“The problem most people have is that they’re more concerned with the mode of their expression than with what they’re seeking to express. That’s because they don’t know what they want to express. This generation, this culture, is full of people who want desperately to write a story, but for all the wrong reasons.”
On finding motivation–inspiration in a healed world rather than ourselves:
“The journey to a pure heart can be highly disorienting. For years we may have worked for power, money and prestige. Now all of a sudden we’ve learned that those are just values of a dying world. We don’t know where to search for motivation anymore. … There comes a time, not too long into the journey to God, when the realization that the world could work beautifully if we would give it a chance, begins to excite us. It becomes our new motivation.
On knowing who we are and why we are here:
“Knowing who you are and why you came here–that you are a child of God and that you came here to heal and be healed–is more important than knowing what you want to do. What you want to do is not the important question. The question to ask is, “when I do anything, how should I do it?” And the answer is, ‘kindly.'”
For any of you wanting to do a little soul-searching, or even if you’ve been feeling like a little rut in your life, I highly recommend this book. I picked up this book more than a year ago and haven’t got around to reading it until recently. Why? Because I couldn’t find it relevant at the time.
Now, as I’m much older and transitioning into the “real world,” I’ve been doing a lot of reevaluating–what I want to do, where I see myself fit, what I find my purpose to be, and what my heart really calls for.
And here we are: the recent college graduates who are expressing their sorrows and nostalgia for that independent college life they will so miss, back to our infantile state of mom and dad’s cooking, no Thursday night party and waking up next to our Netflix-binge hangover while spending more time with our parents than we remember as babies in the crib. We’re more bored and restless than ever as the job hunt gets real.
This book saved me. It gave me clarity. And in a time like this, I feel we all could benefit from it.