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Navigating the Post-grad Years

I always imagined 23 as being the perfect age. It was the age I planned to marry or at least become engaged. It was the age I pictured my career taking off and blossoming. In the very least, I planned on being fully independent, having my own place, and living somewhere new and exciting. God apparently had other plans about what 23 would look like for me.

I turned 23 in February, but my life looks absolutely nothing like I planned. In May it will be one year since I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree, and I find myself living at home with my parents, working two part-time jobs at minimum wage, and constantly debating whether or not to apply for a third. 

In January, my boyfriend of a year and a half decided to end our relationship. I was devastated because it was my first serious relationship, and I honestly thought he was the man I would marry. It’s scary to start thinking about your future with someone and then having those hopes shattered. 

I felt so lost for the longest time because the vision I had for my future was stolen from underneath me, and I no longer felt like I had any control. Friends and family kept telling me I was doing everything right, but nothing was working. 

My biggest struggle since college has been feeling settled. I’m someone who constantly strives toward for the next best thing, which in this case is a full-time job in journalism. It’s exhausting living somewhere but not having it feel like home. From the outside, it looked like I was settled, but on the inside, I was everything but settled. For almost a year, I had all these desires in my heart to build solid friendships and be involved in my church and community, but at the same time, I was constantly entertaining thoughts of moving. I wanted to be plugged in, but I was never sure how long I would be in town.

It’s a struggle wanting to plant roots but not feeling like you can. This was my battle for almost a year, but thankfully, we serve a God who meets us when we’re broken and helps us pick up the pieces. 

I realized only recently that life isn’t just about seizing opportunities — it’s about creating them. I’m using 23 as my year to start over and adopt a fresh perspective on where God has me. It is time for me to become involved and find needs in my community that my gifts can satisfy. God will allow me to move on to something else when it’s time. If all my job applications and interviews and attempts to move failed, then God specifically has me where I am for a purpose. And to disregard that purpose does not glorify God.

God has plans for me that are obviously so different from my own. My constant prayer is that God would help me be a light to those around me. Work takes on a new meaning when I recognize that above all else, my work is for the glory of God.

So it doesn’t matter that God has me working primarily as a cashier right now because my aim should be to do my job well, to love the people who come through my line, and to plant joy in their hearts for His glory. I’m still preparing for my journalism career by developing desirable skills, but as hard as it might be sometimes, I’m also working on being satisfied with where God has me. 

Even though I’ve accepted where God has me, I still have to deal with frequent comments from people at work, including, “You graduated from college, and you’re working here?” It doesn’t help my esteem any, but I always remind those people that my life is in a transition phase. I don’t want pity. At least I’m working. For some people, that transition from college to the full-time working world is almost automatic. For me, it’s not.

How are you navigating your early post-grad years? Are they everything you thought they would be, or are you finding yourself starting over and surrendering to something completely different? Are you planting roots, or are you holding back because you feel unsettled? 

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About the Author

Amy Kessler

Amy Kessler interned with the Boundless team in 2011 and is a journalism graduate from Biola University with a minor in biblical studies. She has experience in newspapers, magazines, blogging, social media and online content management. Amy lives in California where she works as a marketing assistant for a community college district and blogs about her spiritual life. She enjoys playing tennis, experimenting with HTML, and discussing marriage and relationships.

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