Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm a Big Kid Now....Right?


Even a "big kid" still needs some support
When you're naturally uncoordinated and struggle to even get through a beginner yoga class, finding your balance can be somewhat of a very difficult challenge. Add in character traits that gravitate towards perfectionism and self-reliance, and suddenly the path to balance has become an obstacle course. If my post-college bubble hadn't already been popped, this reality certainly would've done the trick.

The longer I'm out of school, becoming less of a "recent" grad and more of a working professional, finding and keeping my balance has become a series of trial and error. There have been interviews that have fallen through, job opportunities which fizzled out, a bipolar bank account and so many "what-am-I-really-doing" moments that it makes my head spin. But there have also been the unexpected adventures, the countless new friends and the introspective moments where I remember that things have a way of working themselves out. Through it all, I've realized that my family--and my parents in particular--have been a backbone of support I've needed just as much now, being a "big kid," as I did in years past.

Before graduating college, I used to have an image in my mind of what my life would look like upon setting foot in the "real world." I certainly wouldn't have moved home and I would be integrating myself into a full-time job that was in my desired field. Was this naivety on my part? Perhaps. But perhaps it was also a necessary frame of mind in order to learn from my actual experiences since graduation. If we didn't have those moments of realization or altered expectations, there would be no perspective gained. 

No diapers in the big kid zone. It's all about the pull ups
That being said, my uncoordinated melee towards achieving balance in my life owes much of its success to the support of my parents. Of course I've always known I could rely on them, but I never anticipated just how much I would need that support once I was on my own. Grateful doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about the motivation and advice they have dealt me. Is it going against the norm, having this support structure, considering that I'm supposed to be a "big kid" now? I don't think so, especially when you consider what people are saying (such as the New York Times) about our generation of 20-Somethings. As the author notes, we're in the middle of the "changing timetable for adulthood."

This isn't to say that recognizing and appreciating your parents(or any individual who has provided support and guidance) guarantees a 'get of jail free' card. There are still those everyday low points, instances of falling down and career-related meltdowns. They are part and parcel of discovering yourself in your twenties and are to be expected. It is nice to know, though, that in picking myself back up I have my parents to lend a helping hand if it's ever needed. That simple knowledge is enough to turn any stressful situation into a more manageable one. I might be 23 as opposed to 13 nowadays, but I have no shame in admitting how a late-night phone call from my mom can turn the worst day into one of the best.

So whether you're still a college student, or are stepping out into the world on your own, I hope you can take a moment to appreciate those who helped you to get where you are. A good piece of guidance can take you far, even if you don't recognize it right away. We may have outgrown the diapers and even the pull-ups, but the "big kid" learning experience is far from over. What you take away from it is entirely up to you.