Cosied up in the corner of a local pub/restaurant in our town, sipping coffee (because what else does one drink in a pub?), my friend said something which really stuck with me:
“This is such an exciting time in our lives!”
I couldn’t help but smile and agree.
Because while most people my age seem to be in a right tizzy about what they’re doing and where they’re going, I feel moderately calm in the midst of this post-uni storm.
As graduation loomed just a few months back, people I knew had never, ever wanted to be teachers, were suddenly wielding letters of acceptance to do their PGCE, gasping and spluttering relief. I was happy for them, I really was, but all I could think was, ‘Is this just your way of staying out of the real world for one more year?’
University can be gruelling at times, but at its core, it is the ultimate safety blanket. At least, for me it was, anyway. It kept me busy, meant I could convince my parents that IT was the reason I didn’t have a part time job, and meant I could be over 18 years old, whilst doing the least amount of adulting possible. Living the dream, right?
And while I know that seeing people head back to Belfast and beyond is going to make my heart throb with pangs of jealousy, I know that I’m glad I’m not going back this year. I’ll miss the people, the craic, the independence of living away from home, the city life, and being close to le boyf, but I won’t miss the stress, the all nighters, and the extensive reading lists. No sir.
I can’t lie- there are moments when I think to myself ‘What the heck am I doing?’ There are people I went to school with who are now teachers, others who have amazing scholarships or graduate programs which mean they’re earning twelve bazillion pounds every year, and here is Amber, living at home running between two part time jobs. I mean, it’s not the story people want to hear when they pose the “Just graduated eh? What’re you up to now” question, right?
But I don’t really care, if I’m honest. Last year was a rough one for me, and I need a break from education. I’m comfortable- I’m so lucky to be working, and I’m enjoying learning to drive. It’s nice to be here with my parents, because as an only child, we’re really close. I love waking up in the morning, cuddling Alfie, who sneaks into my bed once daddy wakes up. And I know that there’ll be a day in the not so distant future where this will all change, and I’ll not be in this familiar place any more.
This is an exciting time. Because I know I’m on the verge of something big. I am teetering towards my future, and I don’t know what that is, but it’s all there, it’s all before me.
The future isn’t working in a tourist office one day, and folding clothes the next. Something big is on the horizon, and I know that where I’m at now is just the warm up area, the relaxation before reality, the calm before the storm.
My future doesn’t have to start at the exact same time everyone else’s does. If you don’t have a plan either, don’t sweat it- not many people do, but the plan is not for us to have anyhow. Our “plan” is bigger than us, and less malleable than we think.
It’s all going to be alright. I’m excited to embrace the future, but for now, I’m content.