When I encounter someone in their thirties and discuss the conclusion of my college career, many times I am given the unsolicited advice of:
“Move away after college.”
While this has always been my plan (a symptom of the urge for new experiences), I never quite understood the importance of moving away after college. Now, I am one month from doing so–at the brink of a new chapter–staring at stacks of packed boxes piling my room. Finally, I feel like I understand (although I will never really know until possibly years from this current moment).
But here’s my thoughts.
Most of us are aware that we hold the power to change our lives at any given moment. We can quit our job. We can tell those toxic people in our lives to screw off. We can change the way we look or pick up a new hobby.
Yet, many of us don’t do this. I coach many young individuals who are still stuck in a life of unhappiness and dissatisfaction; motivated by the disconnect between their ideal and current self. And when prompted about why, the reply always seems to follow the lines of
Which we have established is a false statement, at least from a realistic point of view. But the argument isn’t about realism, it is about practicality. Many young individuals do not have a strong sense of self, and social media has only perpetuated this issue. However, I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. It is a natural thing.
A 21-22 year old student cannot be expected to have this strong sense of self. They have lived their whole lives being told who they should be or what they should be. They have spent the majority of their life up until this point being simply lectured at. Therefore, we begin to look externally for validation and a sense of belonging. As a byproduct of this, many of our perceptions of ourselves are shaped by those around us. We are confined by the limits of our inner and outer circles–by our social perception. It’s not practical to go against this.
Thus, it’s hard to flip a switch and become a new person. Because our close friends (and subsequently ourselves) only know of us to be a certain way.
This is why the next chapter of moving away is so important.
By doing so, we are relieved from the shackles of our past selves. We are granted the opportunity to reinvent ourselves. We are then allowed to fail in this process. We are free from judgment from those whose opinions we care most about. You see, we are forced in a place of uncomfortability. No longer can we hide behind the tranquility that our close knit group of friends provides for us.
And even more so, change breeds adaptability. Adaptability fosters growth. Old environments of comfortability do not breed change. That doesn’t mean it isn’t possible, but it simply means there is an extra barrier standing in the way during a moment where the least amount of resistance is ideal.
Finally, moving away allows us to gain new experiences and meet new people. In our short time as a young individual, I believe it is tremendously important to have these types of experiences before settling down. Because we all want stability in the end. But the worst kind of stability is one where you look back and wish you hadn’t settled for it so soon.
I say this all before having done it. Perhaps I am wrong about these ideas. But regardless, the testament of moving has already begun this process for me.