The Gradual

Post Grad Duck #25

I’m really thankful for friends. I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling either. Since graduating college, my definition of friend has had to change. I wasn’t thrilled about it, and i’m still not necessarily super excited about it, but it’s been good. This new definition occurred because making friends post college is way different than when you’re in college. It’s a slower process. It’s more…gradual.

 

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts or know me personally, you’ll know how important it is for me to spend time with people; you’ll understand how much I value it; you’ll know that my friends mean the world to me. Now that I live in a different state than the majority of my friends, I’ve recently found myself wishing to be reunited with them. I long to sit in a lamplit room under the background of our favorite musical artists coming through the speakers, talking and laughing about whatever our minds wish. I miss driving around the familiar streets we all came to know and love so dearly. I ache for the moments where we all yelled “YOLO” because we decided to participate in a spontaneous activity that usually meant we were putting off our academic responsibilities. Everything was fun and fast and bright. We were thinkers, but only because we wanted to be, not because we had to be. It almost seemed like life happened too quickly to really think about it fully. Maybe we just thought quickly? I don’t know. Either way, my years in college were good ones.

Those were the days—”were” being the operative word, here. It’s past tense, referring to something that used to be. Bringing about feelings of nostalgia that are thick enough bite, the days of were are helping me to be thankful for the days of now. Soon enough the days I currently find myself in will be the days that I look back on and long for. It’s weird to think about, but it’s true. Isn’t it?

The change that took place in college felt so real at the time, but now that I’m no longer in college it’s all starting to feel nebulous in some ways. What did I know of a reality where I wasn’t surrounded by thousands of people my age doing the same thing as me all the time? I had a friend tell me once that college is kind of fake in the sense that the experiences you have are so specific to college (mostly) that post grad life hits you so much harder than you’d expect. Honestly, you actually don’t know how to handle it as much as you thought before graduation.

Currently, I’m living in the days where small change feels like big change, paying rent hurts more than it should, cooking a good meal feels like winning the lottery, and solitude is easy to come by. Mmm..solitude. I never thought I would value being alone as much as I do these days, especially considering how much I adore being around people. But in that same vein, I didn’t think that I would value intentional time set aside to talk with friends both near and far as much as I do now either. Both are good for the soul.

I was talking on the phone to a dear friend earlier today and he was explaining to me all of the exciting things that are happening in his life right now. “Gosh, so much has happened since we last talked…”he said as he tried to catch me up to speed on his latest news. He’s still in undergrad. I listened to his detailed list of occurrences. How wonderful to hear of the new opportunities that lay ahead for this friend of mine, how fortunate of me to be on the other end of this phone call. It’s exciting to share excitement with friends.

 

But I didn’t have the same news to share.

Are exciting things happening in my life? Absolutely. But it’s different than I’m used to. I remember while I was still in undergrad, my campus minister said “life slows down after you graduate.” The rate at which you experience and learn and grow while in college is not nearly as quick post graduation. I thought that was the weirdest thing because college felt so normal; however, here I am almost a year out of school and I find his words to be true. While my job involves spending time with undergraduate students and spending a lot of time on a college campus, my own life is not nearly as fast paced as theirs; it’s not nearly as fast paced as it used to be. I’m learning and experiencing and growing, but way more gradually.

And you know what? That’s okay. I said earlier that I miss my friends and the things that we used to do together, but I don’t want to go back to those days. If I could repeat them, I honestly don’t think I would. At least, I hope not. I do have my days where I’d give anything to be back in undergrad, but those are lessening as times goes on. Right now and right here is where I’m supposed to be—in the slow, the often mundane, the less exciting, the gradual…

I want to enjoy the beautifully unexpected conversations I have with my roommate when we both get home from work. I want to soak up the frustration of feeling like I always have to go to the grocery store and the gas station. I want to sit in the tension of being happily (for the most part) single and spending time biweekly with married women in a Bible study. I want to smile during the random hours I spend listening to music alone thinking about my week. I want to remember the diligence behind my scheduled gym visits. I want to roll my eyes and laugh at the fact that I’m STILL not good at folding my clothes and putting them away as soon as they come out of the dryer. I want to become more of a morning person and realize that 7am can actually be a wonderful time of day. Like I said, things are gradual… 😉

I hope to look back on these days and think fondly of them. I even hope I long to return to them. But I also hope that when I reach these future days, I’ll remember writing this blog post and be encouraged to keep moving forward. One of my favorite Bible verses is Ecclesiastes 7:9-10, which says, “Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools. Say not,’Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

I love the fact that I got to catch up with a friend today, and I love that the resulted feeling after the conversation was thanksgiving.  I’m thankful for our continued friendship and the friendships i’ve maintained post graduation. I’m thankful for where I am. I’m thankful for where I was. I’m thankful for life’s current pace. I’m thankful that all of the feelings I have are okay to have.

I mean, life is hard, y’all, but life is so good.  Keep going.

[Jesus, thank You for this beautiful life. Thank you for where I am now and how You’re working even still, even in the gradual. You’re a good good Father]
❤ Amen
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