Chin up! Being 22 isn’t as bad as it seems

I’ve been home for four weeks now and I think they’ve flown by – at least most days. In typical-Caitlin fashion, I set some pretty lofty goals for these three months at home; I’d have a full-time job, be able to pay off student loans, and spend all my free time reading/writing/blogging/keeping up with German. I guess I planned to just step off the plane and right into a routine, but it hasn’t really worked out that way. Nothing has gone according to the plan and all my free time has been devoted to applying to jobs and grad schools. The control freak in me is crying.

You guys remember how hard it was for me to leave Marburg, especially since I was finally feeling good about being there. There were tears, back-and-forth decisions, and lots of sleepless nights. January was a stressful month for sure, but, in the end, it looked like going home would really help me in the long run. And even though my month at home hasn’t been at all what I expected or without its own difficult days, I feel pretty comfortable saying that it’s still been worth the trip.

If you can’t laugh at yourself… have someone do it for you.

For the first few weeks, I really let the stress get to me and it ultimately took away some of the enjoyment of being here. The first two weeks I was home saw more snow than an entire winter in Germany, but I couldn’t really enjoy it. I was back in time to watch both UNC-Duke basketball games, but I was too stressed to get that into them. (Now I’m worried that my lackluster fandom had a hand in the disappointing results!) I’ve visited with a lot of friends and family members, but it was always a little embarrassing since none of my plans had panned out.

My mom has always given good advice – she has a knack for knowing exactly what you need to hear and when you need to hear it. But she’s so good that she didn’t have to say anything to make me feel less anxious. I was sitting in the living room with tears in my eyes, asking her why I can’t find a job and whining about failing.

My mom chuckled.

And I realized that if my mom can laugh at the situation – no job, no money, and no future plan – then it wasn’t the end of the world. She’s always the first to tell us that it’s taken her more than twenty years to get to where she is and she still doesn’t have all the answers. Why do I think that I, a 22-year old who’s been a college graduate for less than a year, am supposed to have it all together?

I know it all seems really obvious (because it is), but I really needed to hear it from someone else. It’s really easy to get bogged down by comparing yourself to others. But being sad is exhausting. And in the end, what do I really have to be sad about? It’s been an impressive ride. I graduated from the best school and moved to a foreign country with no solid plan and a limited grasp of the language. I made lots of new friends, traveled, improved my German, and grew a lot. I have a return ticket and a vague two-year plan.

It’s taken me a while to write this post (sorry Andrea!) but I wanted to wait until I knew exactly how to write about the last month. It’s far from a great update, but maybe it can be the chuckle that helps someone else realize that it isn’t as bad as it seems in your head. I’ve really felt so much better since I realized that.

Fingers crossed, the next two months have everything back to normal. 


4 thoughts on “Chin up! Being 22 isn’t as bad as it seems

  1. It’s nice to hear an update from you Caitlin! I’m sure being home is somewhat overwhelming, especially with looking for a job and applying for school. I hope the next two months go a little more smoothly for you!


    • Thanks Sara! I’m feeling good and trying hard not to overwhelm myself anymore. I think it’s working.. This week has been great! I think the sunny sunny weather has had a hand in it, too!


  2. Ah I can understand how stressful it can all be! Try and enjoy the time with your family. Your mom is right, I don’t think we every “figure it all out.” And at 22 you have plenty of time 🙂


    • Now that I’m trying harder, I am definitely happier. And I’m so glad because I’ve wanted to come home for a visit for a long time! It’s all very one-day-at-a-time right now and so far, so good. It’s always so nice to hear other people’s advice/encouragement, so thanks so much Marianne!


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