We’ve all got a milestone to hit.
You know, the one in your head about the ideal person you’d like to be.
By 25 I’ll have my own apartment and a dog.
When I’m 25 I’ll have enough money to go travelling.
When I’m 25 I’ll be halfway to 50.
I’m 25 this year…
MY POINT IS this: we set ourselves goals in life, they might not even be things we write down, or even say out loud (or write on a national blog for thousands of people to read because you have no shame). Whether it’s something like “get my first full time job at 23” or “I’ll be married before I’m 38”, these goals are usually ones that don’t work out, or, at the very least, don’t work out right on schedule.
Setting these major life goals can be tricky, because you don’t know what life has planned for you, and while having aspirations is great, make sure you don’t set these expectations for yourself to heavily in stone – allow yourself the breathing space to let life take its place. Ride the wave. Let it be. All those clichés.
Now I certainly don’t mean that you shouldn’t set goals, there are definitely some things you should have nailed by certain points in life, but these aren’t difficult tasks – they’re more like basic adult behaviours that you should have adopted. If you’re coming up to graduation, here are a few life skills to have nailed before you get there.
Stop pretending you’re not sick
Adults are the most guilty of this. When we get sick we tend to power through and pretend it’s not happening for as long as possible until the influenza takes hold and you find yourself clutching your pillow with a fever that makes you hallucinate – deep breath. You’re not superhuman; you’re not about to overcome your sickness by pretending you’re healthy. Allowing your body to get sick and recover is important – rest is one of the most important parts of our lives that we neglect when we’re busy and stressed out, and when we get sick, ignoring the necessity for rest can just make it worse. Slow down, accept that you’re sick, drink tea and go to bed.
Know how to cook at least one thing
None of us have to be stellar sous chefs in this day and age. Most of us live near a handful of restaurants that deliver, and takeout food is the staple diet of any uni student who can’t rub two $10 bills together. I get it, I’ve been there. I’ve eaten the weird ramen that gave me food poisoning and returned to the same restaurant that same month. I’ve done the mileage to know that having one solid meal you can cook for yourself is a skill. Master a stir fry dish that incorporates some vegetables and some meat, whip it up once a week and you’re feeding yourself for at least a few days. It’s cheap, it’s healthy, and if you’re heading toward a new job after graduation, it saves on time.
Stop making spelling mistakes in your cover letter
Come on man. You just did a university degree where they no doubt cut marks off your grade for each spelling mistake they found in an essay. Spelling mistakes at uni cost you marks, but a spelling mistake in a cover letter costs you a job. The job hunt is hard – believe me I know. It took me 8 months and 236 applications before someone hired me – and that was without spelling mistakes in my cover letters. Slow down, read the job description, write a tailored cover letter to that employer and proof read before sending. “Great attention to deetail” isn’t a good look, and you’re more than capable of landing the job if you take your time to get it right.
We’ve all done it – we all have some idea of where we’d like to be at the age of 50, who doesn’t? So it’s understandable that we set these expectations of ourselves to hit a milestone when they come around. Goals like these are great, it means you’re ambitious and you know what you want, but it can go one of two ways: either you reach your goal and give yourself a big high-five, or you see the deadline looming and start to panic about how far you really are from the person you wanted to be. The sense of urgency to meet these deadlines puts a lot of pressure on. This pressure is entirely self-inflicted, and it can lead to some pretty bad quarter-life crises if you don’t happen to be where you thought you’d be at this age. The important thing to remember is this: you owe it to yourself to let young adulthood take its place – you’re not meant to rush it.
I mean yeah… definitely make sure you know how to iron a shirt and cook a halfway-decent meal for yourself, but these are things you’ll learn in time. And if you’re headed straight toward graduation you only have to keep moving forward to hit that nail on the head. You’re graduating, and that’s what you came to uni to do. It’s a great big world so enjoy the victory and look forward to the next one, regardless of how old you are when you get there.