After 16 years of studying and testing, you finally walked across that stage. It’s such a short walk for such a long journey, but now you are a graduate. You are an adult. So… now what? The last 16 years of your life have been planned out for you; however, a short walk later, you are now in charge of the direction of the rest of your life.
Here are some tips and guidance to make the rest of your life mean something.
1. Be intentional
You are now the primary author for your life’s adventure. This is a tremendous amount of responsibility to land on your shoulders in a matter of days. Hopefully, you have been actively preparing for this moment, especially over the previous four years, but there is no way to be completely prepared. Life is a vastly complex series of situations, circumstances, choices, decisions, and the resulting consequences. To have a fulfilling life, you must actively and intentionally pursue it and craft it. A mediocre life doesn’t require anything of you – an excellent one does.
2. Get a mentor
After graduation, you realize just how little you actually know. You don’t have it all figured out, and you certainly don’t know how to answer all of life’s questions (why else would you be reading this article?). Seek counsel. Ask for advice. Surround yourself with people who are smarter and more experienced than you are. Find at least one person with whom you can meet to talk through tough situations or decisions. Nobody is meant to handle life alone because no one person knows everything. Draw on the wisdom and experience of those around you.
3. Make choices and stick with them
With a new world of infinite choices now at your disposal, you have to make choices with tact. However, sometimes you just have to make a decision. Wisdom does not usually come knocking at your door – you must pursue it. Experience also goes a long way (and much wisdom can be gained from poor decisions), but don’t find wisdom only at the end of your life of poor choices. Instead, make wise choices now. That being said, with all of the options in life (just look at the chip aisle!), sometimes you just need to make a decision and stick with it. Be decisive. Be persistent. Have conviction.
4. Be bold
Here’s a maxim: “Life is spelled R-I-S-K.” How about another: “Boy, I wish I had played it safe more often”, said by no one ever. You have to be risky in life. Life itself is a risk – so play along. However, don’t be stupid when it comes to risk-taking. Learn what risks are good and bad. Play life’s game like you have nothing (and everything) to lose. Do hard things. Find a job that challenges you. Take on some heavy responsibility. Life is not made full by taking the easy way out and choosing the safe options. Life is abundant outside of your comfort zone.
5. Give everything
If you spend your life investing in yourself, when you die, the investment is completely lost. When you spend your life investing in others, that investment echoes into eternity. How you spend your time doesn’t matter as much as who you spend your time on. Let’s be honest, life is bigger than little old you. It’s best to learn that now before life slaps you clear across the room with it later.
6. Write a journal
Journaling is one of the greatest discoveries I have made in my personal life. There’s a lot that goes on inside my head, and it often gets overwhelming. When I started journaling, my head cleared up. A whole new level of focus and drive opened up in my life. Journaling brings depth – of thought, character, and purpose in life. I won’t spend any more time talking about it. Just do it. It’ll surprise you.
Featured photo credit: Alan Light via flickr.com