Since graduating college I have fallen on some hard times. I don’t actually have legitimate problems, more like the FML (F*ck My Life) inconveniences of a fortunate, college-educated twenty-something (in college I lived across the street from a soup kitchen and I never heard the people outside waiting for food say, “ugh, FML!” Though in the line at the dining hall, I heard it pretty regularly, which leads me to believe that any sort of hardship that elicits an FML is usually of the whiny, trivial variety, if I may generalize. I may have also digressed).
After college, I moved back in with my parents in the suburbs where most of my friends live at least an hour away. I do temp work that’s pretty sporadic and I can barely afford to go to the hair dresser to keep my roots looking fresh. Though I have a roof over my head and little responsibility besides saving money to move to LA, it’s still easy to lose perspective and feel like a sad loser. I went through an angsty, depressed phase right after graduation (a time I missed out on in my teen years, so I at least feel I went through an overdue rite-of-passage), but with a change of attitude and a different perspective, I’ve come to nearly appreciate this awkward time.
With that said, I’ve compiled some tips that have helped me survive my move back home.
Appreciate your accomplishments no matter how small. Make a goal of some kind and stick to it–this is a small way to keep your self-esteem up. Last month, I started and completed a 30-Day Challenge at my Bikram yoga studio. I had always wanted to try this, but I never thought I could do 30 classes in 30 days. When I did finish, I felt really proud of what I had accomplished. I rewarded myself by never going back. Another time, I went to the library because I couldn’t afford to buy new books. The librarian complimented my selection, and I took a second to appreciate that (okay, I didn’t actually hear what the librarian said, but I know it was positive because I’m a 22 year-old checking out a Nora Ephron book and a Dorothy Parker anthology for pleasure reading. Just let me have this one, please?).
Don’t think about the fun and success your friends are enjoying because though you think they’re loving their cool new jobs and their life in exciting new cities, in reality they might not be… or they could be having the time of their life. The point is, there will always be someone better off than you (her name is Bethenny Frankel and she deserves all the happiness and success she has worked for). What’s important is to worry about yourself because that is the only thing you have control over.
Create your own fun with what you have. What I have are two cool parents. We like to play the Watch What Happens Live drinking game on Bravo every week, which might sound lame to you, but I try not to over think it and just enjoy myself.
If you’re unemployed, make your own full time job while you’re in between things. I started a blog, which gives me something to obsess over while I’m not dating/interacting with anyone besides my parents.
If all else fails, get a pet. At least then you are in charge of someone else’s wellbeing, so no matter how miserable you feel, you will be compelled to get out of bed in the morning unless you’re a monster.
Savor this time no matter how bad it may seem. You might not like your parents as much as I do, but this will probably be the last time you live with them for the rest of your life, so keep that in the back of your mind. If that’s doesn’t make you cry, find something else to appreciate. Like, if you’re unemployed, remember that you will probably end up complaining about having to work 40 or 50 hours a week when you do get a job (nothing pleases you, does it?!).
What this all boils down to is remembering that it’s your choice to be positive about your situation. You can wallow in self-pity and tell yourself that your life will really start when you move out, or you can remember that your life is going on right now and enjoy the moment, not think about all the good things you could or should be doing. With that attitude you might never be satisfied.
Really, this is all just basic Oprah wisdom.