I have only been a graduate for a few days, so alumni-hood is still new and I haven’t quite settled into it yet. That said, I am grateful to the throngs of articles, friends, and family reassuring me that the full decade of my twenties are simply about figuring out what to do next. At this moment I stand jobless and filled with anxiety, but also filled with hopes and dreams about the future, and so, so much gratitude. That is not to say I am not aware the road will be tough. Specifically, I must negotiate my desires with the harsh realities of an eating disorder, bouts of depression and nagging anxiety. One of the ways I am keeping the beasts at bay is by establishing a modicum of structure in my life through a part-time job, dates with friends, and a soon-to-be workout regimen while I continue exploring what my “calling” is. My hope is that this summer will see a rejuvenation of my inner self as I take care of my body and spirit, and that this will result in a clearer focus for my career goals.
In my recovery process I learned that having a clear sense of what I am doing that day translates into reassurance about my life in general. Something as simple as setting up weekly hours with a part-time job makes me get up, get dressed and face the world. It forces me to get face time with people when I feel the desire to isolate and hide, and at the end of the day, I am happy for the pocket money I received and the smiles I shared. Unfortunately there are days when I feel a panic attacks coming on at the mere thought of showing up at the retail gig, but I have been lucky enough to work through these with deep, steady breaths and a strong desire to persevere. For the times that it has worked, I am grateful.
The reigning advice from my alumni friends has revolved greatly around pruning and maintaining a network of friends who provide comfort, inspiration, and unforced smiles. If keeping up with friends while there was an entire campus rooting us together in one area wasn’t hard enough, we are now spread all over the city, country, world. Still, setting up the occasional dates around DC for those still around, or Skype dates for those who are away, is one of my most coveted and dreaded goals. This is definitely an area I will have to work hard at, but that I know will have great returns.
Re-appropriating the right to work out is something I have not fully done since my recovery journey began. When I think of this, a TED talk from a woman whose name I do not recall, but whose journey stayed close to my heart, comes up. She says one of the most crucial stages of recovery from her illness revolved around “getting her body back”—not in a sense of attaining a certain figure, but of literally feeling at one with her limbs. This is where I am. She was able to do it through yoga, and maybe I can too, but my goal is simple: I want to feel at one with the legs that move me, the core that supports me, and the arms that reach out to create the vision in my mind’s eye.
In all, my post-graduation plans center on a wellness plan. The last year at Georgetown was an emotionally difficult one, and I am prioritizing my health so that I may fulfill my career potential.