The Waiting Place: A Year At Home
As many of you know, I am moving to Los Angeles today. A month ago, or so I booked a one-way flight in hopes of finding a job in the entertainment industry. I still do not have a place to live or a job, but it is all part of the adventure.
I applied to some grad programs back in December, unsure if I wanted to go or not. After booking a one-way flight, I found out 2 weeks before leaving that I got into the Professional Program at UCLA. It is a one year program for comedy television writing and I am so excited to get started.
Before making plans to move and hearing about UCLA, I spent the past year living at home. After graduation, I had surgery and a long bed rest period. Even without surgery, I needed to save up enough money to eventually move out. I am beyond lucky that my parents were willing to let me live back home and take this time.
Although the comforts of home can be nice, being 23 and living in your parents’ house after college is not always the greatest time. I worked two jobs, almost 6 or 7 days a week. Making friends was almost impossible in Lafayette Hill. I spent months unsure of what I wanted to do next.
I found that the more I talked to people my age, the more similarities I discovered. 22/23 is a weird age. You finish college and then have no guarantee for a job or higher education. For most of us debt kicks in. When you move to a strange city or back home, it feels like a total start-over.
I always called this year “The Waiting Place.” When you graduate college, high school or have a huge life event, people always reference “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” The one thing I am sure that the book had right was “The Waiting Place.” (You may know this part of the book where people are waiting for the grass to grow or a check to clear) For me, it is a place in your life where you feel like you’re always anticipating the unknown. It could be hearing back from grad school or job applications. It could even be waiting for the time you move out of your parents’ house. Or just hoping you can quit your current job and move onto something you are more passionate about.
The only benefit of waiting is time. As a crazy planner, I spent my college years constantly busy with school, activities and social. I never had a moment to rest. It only took one day of staring at the ceiling on bed rest for me to realize that I cannot sit still. The year did lead to some amazing things though. For one, I had the opportunity to travel again. I went back to visit Alabama, I visited some friends in Minnesota and took a trip to Switzerland and Austria. Second, I saved up a ton of money so that I could move out to LA with a lot of backup. Third, I had the time to apply to grad programs and really think of my future.
I learned so much during this year:
- “Let go or be dragged”
I heard this quote from three of my favorite regulars at Cake. (Cake is the restaurant I worked at for 9 months in Philly this year) They had noticed I was not doing well that morning and offered it as advice. It had stuck with me through the year. There are so many ways to interpret the quote, but that is the thing I loved about it.
- Just because you have no idea what you’re doing with your life does not mean you are doing nothing.
This is maybe the quintessential feeling of being in your early 20s. When I was younger I thought that by 23 I would have it all figured out, living in my mansion and going to my amazing job. It turns out that you will never have it “all figured out.” Every day you are learning and growing and taking steps to progress forward. You may just not see the bigger picture yet.
- Book the flight, worry about the details later.
This is corny, but it is true that you will regret the things you did not do, then the ones you did. Travel is so important to me, but booking a flight does not mean you have to even fly somewhere far away and exotic. Just get in your car and go somewhere close by. Go on an adventure!
- Call that friend or plan a visit to see them. There is nothing more valuable than the people in your life. (This goes with #3)
When you are living at home on bed rest, you start to realize how silent your phone can become. People obviously reached out to me on bed rest, but sitting home all day makes you realize how small our interactions are with others. Pick up the phone and call that old friend. Invite a friend to a drink and actually talk. Trust me, they will be so happy you reached out. I can sometimes be a hypocrite and bad at keeping up with friends, but I am trying to be better!
Now I am off to move to LA, exactly a year after being put under for surgery. I could not have survived this year without the love and support of my family and friends. Cherish the time you have with family and friends from home because you never know when you will be on a flight chasing your dreams.
To all my friends who are graduating or just feel lost, enjoy your “Waiting Place.”
More updates to come about LA and hopefully new photos of my apartment (still need to find one of those). Until next time please enjoy this photo of my sister’s new adorable dog, Stella…