By: Abbey Clark, Regular Contributor
We spend a lot of our lives waiting: for the perfect job, the perfect guy, our morning soy latte, for that expensive dress you love in the window of your favorite boutique to go on sale, for dinner to cook, for our favorite television show to come back on from the commercial break, for the ever elusive public transportation to arrive…the list goes on, and on. While some things are worth waiting for, I can’t help wonder what things are wasting our time.
Let me start off by saying, I am 22 years old. I have lived in three places that will forever be home to me: two on the eastern end of Long Island, and a university and city that fostered my intellectual, mental, emotional, and physical growth for four years. I have lived, but I am certain that I haven’t experienced everything. I’m waiting for all the things you’re waiting for too, but most of all, I’m waiting for clarity.
In response to the looming question that all college graduates today will be asked at one point or another: “What’s next for you?” I recently answered one of my favorite college mentors, and my advisor on the day of graduation, “I am waiting for my life to start.” Her response was enlightening at the very least. She told me that my life has already started. “How depressing it would be,” she said, “if everything [I] learned in the past four years wasn’t life.” It was true. Think about that phrase for a minute: “I am waiting for my life to start.” We often say things that are oxymoronic, or that we don’t really mean, because we avoid the answer of the unknown. I should have just answered her more intelligently. Her logic was undeniable, but my answer should have been: “I know what I want, I’m just waiting for it all to happen.”
So, I challenged myself to think a bit further. What was the point of waiting “for it all to happen?” Was I putting too much pressure on myself? Wasn’t half the battle knowing what I wanted? It came to me in a holy encounter: I wasn’t waiting for my life to start, I was waiting for the perfect post-grad life. So not only did I decide that I wasn’t waiting “for my life to begin,” I also made amends with my ego: the perfect grad life wasn’t going to come immediately.
The truth of the matter is that while some things are worth waiting for, some are not. This could seem cynical, but hear me out. Everything you do is a judgment call: what jobs you decide to apply to, what coffee shop you decide to wait in line at, the person you decide to fall for, the recipe you decide to make for dinner, and the way you try to make your way home. Some of those judgment calls inherently waste our time: but the time wasted leads us on a truer path. The blips of waiting around for things that are simply not worth waiting for make us stronger, wiser, and more enlightened, but only if we pay attention to them, and most importantly, if we learn from them. So no, I’m not waiting for my life to begin. Nor am I waiting for the perfect job, apartment, and relationship to fall into my lap. While I would still like to have “the perfect post-grad life,” I’m not going to wait around for it; I’m going to make it happen and enjoy the ride.
I remember a speech that was given at my college orientation. As an 18 year old, my answers were much different than they are now, but again this tells me that I’m that much closer to all of the things that I thought I was “waiting” for. The man giving the speech, a respected professional and Jesuit, begged the class of 2014 to ask themselves a few important questions:
1) What gives you joy?
2) What are you really good at?
3) What do the people around you really need?
I strongly believe that once you feel like you have the answers to these questions, you will no longer be waiting. You will be living your life surrounded with a belief in love: self-love, love for others, and love for the world all around you. And if I have learned anything from the concept of waiting from writing this article, asking yourself some difficult questions, and waiting for the answers to come to you, is definitely, definitely, DEFINITELY, not a waste of time.
When your eyes are on the horizon, you can miss the path right in front of you!
- Try to honestly answer each of Abbey's questions. What do your answers reveal?
Abbey recently graduated from Boston College where she received bachelors degrees in both English and Human Development. She is a certified yoga instructor, and a strong believer in the daily morning cup of coffee. She is obsessed with all things marketing and social, and has loved creative writing as long as she can remember. She loves shoes, vegan baking, traveling, and trying new things. She is an advocate of healthy living, real beauty, and is so proud to be part of such a beautiful organization that is changing the world for women and girls!
Image via eraticblog.com