Meet Martina: a 20-something, first-generation college graduate born, raised and recently returned to the Windy City.
In her own words…
“I used to think that 23 would be my year…
I’d have my own place, own car, be well into my career and finally able to keep a steady gym regimen. I’m 24 now stumbling sloppily into 25 and I’ve achieved none of the later. Fingers crossed for 32.
Compared to the average 20-something, my resume may be beefier than some but make no mistake— I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. We are told that these are the best years of our lives but they don’t always feel the best. I think we all hope that this motion of self-doubt will dissipate with age but as I inch toward a quarter-century I am learning to accept that it will be here forever.
Am I doing enough with my life? Am I making enough money? Does this outfit make me look fat…and can I really pull off this red lipstick?
This confusion around if I am enough in comparison to others is always there behind the surface keeping my nose warm and my eyes alert. I have learned that where self- doubt is constant, self-confidence must be too although it is easier said than done. Switching between the two narratives takes only a minute.
So, the next time you are stuck or unsure of yourself slap on some red lipstick and fake it til’ you make it.
I remember moving cross-country after graduation, my life consisting of two suitcases and a duffle bag. I was ready for the world and surely it was ready for me too. My collegiate success made me overly confident; I thought that I would apply for the job I wanted and that would be it. That was not it. I quickly got used to rejection without being rejected: no email, no callback, only uncertainty, and doubt.
That summer I discovered that crying in the shower is best because your roommates are less likely to hear. Instead of waking up proud I woke up thinking, what am I doing? As a kid, I dreamed of the possibilities I could have but as a college graduate, I was overwhelmed by them. One moment feeling like I am on top of the world and can do anything, the next crying in my pool because I am unsure of my place in It.
The fear and uncertainty of what to do next and what am I doing right now are constant so I embrace it. I let it excite me the same way that watching a scary movie excites me giving me the rush of adrenaline I need to get out of bed even on the bad days. It is only through fear and uncertainty that I have gotten this far and through the same that I will continue to go further.
Put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.”