I mentioned in one of those posts awhile back about how college can act as a place of accelerated growth, and I still hold to this. In four years time, you learn more than the average person knows about a particular field of study (unless, of course, you were a liberal arts major). You mature as an individual (I use this term subjectively) quicker than most outside of college. Why? Because college is sort of a hydroponics lab for human individual. Hydroponics is where they grow plants without soil, using only water. Isolated from the world, you are free to grow in and mature as an individual in numerous ways. You grow fast and with great enthusiasm.
Then you graduate, and get transplanted, and suffer transplant shock.
As I’ve said before, the real world is not like college. I’m pretty sure 90% of the population in the US acknowledges this (depending on how much of the population is taken up by frat boys and super seniors). Graduating college can be like taking a hydroponic plant and transplanting it to soil. Often, but not always, the plant will experience what is known as transplant shock, where it can die because it has been placed in a new environment it has yet to experience. Sometimes I feel like I experienced transplant shock when I moved out here. Note: I know Monday was kind of a mopey post, and this sounds like it’s going to be, but follow me here.
One of the hardest things to overcome, for me, has been depression. I’m still overcoming it, as I’ve only begun to amount a true offensive in the last couple weeks. I made the mistake of coming off antidepressants a couple months ago when I just didn’t go get the prescription refilled, thinking that changing back to my old job took care of the matter. It’s not as severe as it once was (I think), but it’s still there. I have no intention of returning to medication, though, as I feel that I have not begun to truly try to overcome.
You see, I’m very good at getting in my own way (raise your hand if you can relate, and I know you can). I can list off numerous things I’ve thought about doing, or said out loud that I’d like to do, but then opted out when I realized how hard it would be to actually do it. I blame depression for this because the biggest question I ask when I get to this point is “What’s the point?” There’s probably a good deal of laziness here, because what I’m thinking is, “But it’s haaaaaaaard!”
Don’t laugh so readily; you’ve thought it too. ;)
Obviously, what I need to do is start doing, but the wall that is my depression has a smooth surfaced, 90-degree face that looks impossible to scale, but, from what I’m told, and what I can see, even the smallest crack can serve as a foothold. The greatest thing about this (not to get preachy), is that if I place God as my foothold, I will surmount this wall by His strength.
Maybe you’re here with me; you’ve been out of college for X amount of years and you feel like your growth as a human being has been stunted. There’s no measuring stick anymore, but you’re growing more than you know. When we were leaving the reception and driving to the friend’s house we were staying at, I was pouring out my soul to the gentlemen whom I was riding with, and at the end of my long sob story, I said to them, “I don’t feel like I’ve changed at all. I still feel like the same jerk tool I was in college.” My good friend Chip, whom I thought was sleeping in the back, leans up to the front seat and says, “Pat, you’re hardly the same person you were when I last saw you. You’re wiser and better learned, not by books, but by experience.”
That meant the world to me (thanks, Chip).
So, overall, I want to encourage those of you who are out and feel like your growth has been stunted. You are growing; the measuring stick has just changed. You’re not a loser; you are wonderful, and God loves you and I love you.
Special note: I want to say a few things about depression. Depression is a legitimate clinical illness that should always, always be taken seriously. If you’re showing signs of depression, or know someone who is, speak up, and get help. Antidepressants can do a lot of good if you need them, as can therapy and counseling, but by no means should you attempt to just pull yourself up by your bootstraps and shoulder the burden alone. Doing so is un-Christian.
So, where are you?