If you lived your life according to every blog post you read about twenty-somethings on Facebook, you would be a very lost and confused individual. “Make mistakes, take advantage of your young, hot bodies, don’t worry about growing up,” they all say. But then there are the other posts (obviously written by older people) that tell us that our generation is taking longer and longer to go out on our own and become independent from our parents financial safety net. I don’t deny that this last one isn’t true for a majority, but it definitely isn’t the rule.
When I think about my own life and my current career path, I get anxious and almost feel ashamed. I’m currently finishing up my second internship within intercollegiate athletic administration and have applied for dozens of full-time positions with no leads. The only position that I have been called back about is…yep, you guessed it, another internship! Anyone that has lived outside of their college campus or their parents house for an internship knows that it is basically impossible to completely support yourself on an intern salary alone. For one, you don’t get benefits as an intern. You don’t have health or dental insurance and most importantly, you don’t have vacation or sick days. Not that you would be able to use any sick days anyway since you wouldn’t be able to afford to go to the doctor or get medicine with no insurance. I mean even if they did provide insurance for interns, they basically would be making $20 a paycheck after all the taxes and insurance were taken out of the already crap stipend they get a month. I did the math one time and during the months when I was working out of town and a lot of extra hours, I was making well below minimum wage. When I worked the normal 8-5, it comes out to just below minimum wage after taxes.
But once I settle down and stop beating myself up about only being an intern for the rest of eternity and not getting off my parents tit till they eventually hire someone to marry me, I realize I’m still young. Not to mention that I am still working on my education. Not that I feel like my masters degree will contribute to my getting out of the intern-zone in any way, I’m still going to work on my last two classes and graduate in December. Even though I am convinced that working is a mild form of cruel and unusual punishment, I am still very anxious to start earning my own money and be able to spend it on things like, oh I don’t know, getting my nails done for once, chips with my burrito bowl at Chipotle (I obviously don’t sacrifice the guac), or actually going to see a movie in theaters at night and not as a matinee. I mean. It’s the simple things. But the simple things are also the things you can’t afford when you don’t have a real full-time job.
One thing I’m starting to learn is that you can’t compare your path to anyone else’s. While some of your friends may have already found their dream job and bought their first new car, others may still be living at home trying to plan their next trip overseas in an effort to see the world before 30. And that’s okay! Like I said, everyone takes a different route, and some take longer than others. The one thing I know for certain is that my path is uniquely mine. And above all, I’m being guided through it by and with the Lord. Wherever I am is right where He wants me and, even though I don’t see it, it is a part of the big picture. That’s what it takes sometimes. It takes stepping back, taking your death grip off of the situation and admitting you don’t have control of it. Hand it off and watch the big picture unfold.