One year and one day ago I graduated from college. This photo encapsulates the joy and enthusiasm I felt that day.
I am happy to report that I have carried that joy and enthusiasm with me as I embarked on what I markedly called “the first day of the rest of my life” (see planner photo below from my last semester of college).
Since graduating, I’ve moved a couple times, changed jobs, and developed a new lens through which I view life.
I sit here today with the same insatiable desire to live, learn, and take chances that has carried me through my adventures the past few years. It is this same desire that propelled me to take a gap year before college when I volunteered in Morocco and au paired in France. It is this same desire that led me to my study abroad in South Africa my junior year of college.
Through all of these experiences I learned a lot. Now that the proverbial training wheels of education and institutions have been removed and I’ve ridden off into the horizon on my own two wheels, I’d like to share ten assertions I’ve come upon. Many of the lessons I went through and realizations I had were years and countries in the making. But it has been this particular year that has allowed me see life a little more clear. These are what I live by.
10 Assertions About Life One Year Out of College
You can’t always predict when it’s going to rain, but you can carry an umbrella. Heck, there really isn’t anything you can predict or control in life.
- Don’t be the first person to tell yourself no.
There are plenty of cynical, unhappy people out there that are ready to tell you why you will fail. It is your job to believe in yourself and show them that yes, yes you can, yes you did. The belief you have in yourself is one of the greatest determinants in your ability to succeed.
- Positivity yields positivity.
There are a lot of ways you can say this. Some call it Karma, others say you reap the seeds you sow. However you spin it, the underlying sentiments are the same. Think of your thoughts like a magnet. When you think more positively more positive things will happen. Instead of being mad you are stuck at a redlight, appreciate the moment of stillness you have to stop and take a look around you.
- Staying curious is a cure for the common cynic.
One of the reason kids are so fascinating and the youth spark social change is because both continue to question life. They never settle for this false idea that things-always-are-and-forever-will-be. There are no absolutes in life so keep asking questions. Continue to knock, seek, and find.
- You truly are the company you keep.
Many great leaders have said you are the average sum of the five people you surround yourself with. Understand that people emit energy, much like the sun radiates heat and UV rays. Too much exposure to the wrong kinds of energy will leave you burnt, battered, and sick. Conversely, surrounding yourself with good energy will give you wings and make you become a better version of yourself.
- Success and failure are not mutually exclusive.
These are two sides of the same coin. Failure is one of those universal human experiences that connect us all. Everyone has experienced failure. To me, success is not accepting failure as the final result. It’s about rising above, moving forward, and figuring out a different approach. Success and failure are determined by which outcome you choose to live with.
- When you take care of your mind and body everything else will fall into place.
You would never try to drive across the country on a quarter tank of gas! If you did try, most people would label you as insane. Why do people think they can make it through the day, the week, and rest of their lives running on near empty?? When you take care of your body with adequate water, sleep, nutrients, and exercise there are immeasurable benefits that transcend all other aspects of your life. Take care of yourself NOW so you can enjoy yourself later in life. What you eat, how much you sleep, and how hydrated you are affect your mental state so much more than people realize. Taking care of your mind will make your cognitive skills better so you will be able to think clearer, stronger, and faster.
- Call your family and friends when you think about them. Don’t sit on the fact that you can call them later until they become the late…
We hold onto a certain notion that all of our siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and parents will be there to see us through to our major life events. There comes a point though when you have to realize nothing is a certitude. When you think of someone, call them. Write to them. Reach out.
- An attitude of gratitude will carry you further than any raise, job, house, car, or other form of materialism.
To me, gratitude is appreciating what you have while you have it. So many people seek outside of their own lives for happiness. A simple acknowledgement of your health, your family, and your freedom of choice are where true contentment can be found. People need to celebrate more of who they are now, not what they were or want to be.
- Happiness is a choice.
It’s a crazy concept but it’s true. I always thought that happiness was a point in life that I would reach when everything else fell into place. Now I see that happiness is a state of being. It actually is that simple. I am happy because I am healthy today. I choose happiness because it’s empowering. I choose happiness therefore I AM.