About this time last year I had spent the previous night seeing my final family member off to the airport. The weekend was way more trouble and less of a celebration than I had hoped. It was the Monday following my graduation from college and even though I was headed to work, I felt directionless.
There is a lot of identity and culture wrapped up in the "student" season of life. No matter how much you look forward to it or have been planning for graduation, you will have an adjustment period when transitioning into the next phase of your life.
- You are at a natural crossroads in life and many people desire to weigh in and hear what's next.
- You shed many of the labels that have been familiar to you, for better or for worse.
- You have the opportunity to entertain dramatic life changes. You are forced to shift your priorities and the roles that people play in your life.
- You face pressure to take on more responsibility in many areas all at once.
- You take stock of what you've done and where it has gotten you.
- and maybe You are trying to course correct in a few areas.
That's a lot for anyone. That is the essence of transitioning. SPOILER ALERT: It isn't easy. It's rarely all fun.
This past year I've found the following books to be an incredible help in navigating the different stressors that come with increased levels of adulting. I'd encourage you to check them out from your local library. If that's not an option, I've included a link to them as well.
Am I There Yet by Mari Andrew
Someone sent me this book via Amazon with no gift message (although that could have been Amazon's mistake). This kind and timely package was one of the loveliest gifts I received for graduation. If I could only find the sweet person who sent it, I would hug them and cry. Mari Andrew is a godsend in this chill-toned, relatable exposition of early adulthood. Her humor helped me to deconstruct some stress reactions I had to the questions in my mind surrounding my shifting circumstances. Bonus: this book comes with all the illustrations. It's amazing. 10/10 young adults should read. See more info.
Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
Although I haven't finished this book personally, I have several friends whose lives were changed by its contents. It's a career and life-changing book. Burnett and Evans show, with design thinking, what steps we can all take to design a life that gets us moving in the right direction. I frequently send this as a gift and would highly recommend it for anyone at a crossroads. Find out more.
Twenty-Two by Allison Trowbridge
Trowbridge writes reflective letters in this coming-of-age book that is intended for female audiences. Her perspective and grace was a guide to processing some things that had played out or were actively playing out in my life. I needed time to mourn and heal. There were a number of heavy defeats weighing over me. There were also great opportunities ahead that required me to part with my comfort. Both of these things require mourning and growth to move forward. I generally found the book to be the cathartic support I needed for conversations I couldn't find the energy to start on my own. Find retailers here.
Money and the Prosperous Soul by Steven DeSilva
Money and the Prosperous Soul spoke to many of the areas of my heart that felt disoriented by the big transition out of college. This faith-based perspective on the human heart and a holistic view of finances challenged and encouraged me. Was my heart in the right place when deciding where I should work and what my market value is? Am I growing in the right areas to be worthy of the life God has called me to? And am I unwittingly walking down broken roads that have crippled many that go before me? I know, super light stuff. Give this one a turn.
It All Turns on Affection by Wendell Berry
My senior year of college one of my professors assigned the lecture "It All Turns On Affection" to us. I enjoy the challenges and critiques Berry presents to the development of our modern society. In the months following my graduation, I found myself coming back to this lecture (in video format) several times. Several of Wendell Berry's works have been compiled in a book of the same name. I appreciate his thoughts as they challenge my ideas of what kind of world I want to work to create. Are you up for it?
This post is part of my Adulting 101 Starter Kit series. You can find more posts in this series here.
Cover is an excerpt from Am I There Yet by Mari Andrew