Entering the Real World

I’ve worked on multimillion dollar events. I plan affairs with thousands of dollars at stake. I process six figure expenses. But how much of a business badass can I really be if my dad comes in my room at 10 PM and asks if I’ve brushed my teeth yet?

Not that badass…

I always thought I knew what I was doing, hell I KNEW I knew what I was doing. Especially academically. College was difficult, but it was a measurable challenge. I knew what I was getting myself into. I had studied the program before I applied, and I was ready to make myself the best I could be. There were tests, and if you did well on them, you got a high GPA, and were in “better standings” than your peers. It’s all very calculated and systematic.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the real world and figured out I knew nothing. Not zip. Zero. After years of excelling through school, extra-curricular activities and internships, I suddenly found myself lost. Not in the work sense, but in the life sense. Suddenly, there weren’t any ways to see how I measured up against my peers.

There are no tests, no finals, but every day feels like a pop quiz.

The work-life balance can’t be taught; but it definitely has to be learned. It hasn’t been easy. I went from seeing my friends every single day to maybe once a week, if I’m lucky. And those plans are scheduled far in advance. My life is no longer spur-of-the-moment doing what I want, it’s more like planning a month in advance for a simple cup of coffee. I want to be successful in this business, but at what expense?

Living at home has been best situation for me financially, but not socially. Making the 3 AM train is hard when you first go out at 1 AM. I feel like a 6 year old stuck with the responsibilities of a 35 year old, and nothing prepared me for it. I just want to have fun again, but if I do, it might jeopardize how successful I can be. I’m so thankful to have a family that is generous enough to have me live at home as long as I need to, but the longer I work at such a fast-paced and intense firm, the more my need for independence has come to light.  I guess college was pseudo-independence. For the first time I planned my own schedule, and had the freedom to do what I wanted, when I wanted to without much consequence. Living back at home sort of feels like I am regressing, even though I am trying to be as savvy as possible.

"What I have learned is true happiness cannot be measures or quantified. Are people who make more money automatically happier? Before I started working, I would have said yes without hesitation. How could more money not equal more happiness?"

Now that I have to plan my life in advance, I can only schedule in what makes me happy in my free time. I have never valued my family and friendships so highly. I am much more in tune with myself, and whether something is good for me, or if I need to move on. Sure, certain people or activities that no longer suit me may fall by the wayside, but I am learning to let go and become who I am supposed to be. Having such responsibility at such a young age has given me insight what’s important to me, and what I can live without. I am discovering just what it is that makes me happy, and not to sound totally cliché, but it’s overwhelmingly been the people I surround myself with. It’s not the money, or success, but the people that have made the biggest difference in my life. It’s been an amazing journey, and though I am excited to [eventually] not get texts from my parents at midnight saying “When will you be home, its late,” I might stay for the free laundry just a little while longer…

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