Graduating college is a monumental moment that brings up many feelings, including grief. Grief is the cousin of love. If you choose to love anyone or anything (which we all do), there will always be a possibility of grief present. When I was a little girl, I had this idea that everything lasted forever and even if it didn’t, it should. Little ole’ me couldn’t comprehend why a great moment, person, thing, habit, etc. had to have an expiration date. Many of us think about grief in the biggest term – death. But grief comes in many forms that are just as valid.
May 9 was the day of my graduation and I was in disbelief, but ecstatic and excited for life without school. I was so proud of myself for what I accomplished and couldn’t wait to kick my feet up and relax. What I wanted the most out of the post grad life was peace and freedom. I knew that slowing down and intentionally taking care of myself would be the best thing for my mental health and the future version of myself.
A week later, reality started to kick in and I began to have deep realizations that didn’t have the space to come through before. It was just me and me – in the house, chilling. A part of my self care routine is journaling and I went into a rabbit hole pondering about what wasn’t working in my life anymore as well as what I wanted to exist in my life. The list of what wasn’t working was absolutely gut wrenching. It ranged from destructive habits to my closest relationships. It was as if someone told me something completely opposite from what I expected to hear yet my body, mind and soul knew it was 100% true.
I wasn’t ready for that level of awareness mostly because I thought it would take away the joy I felt from graduation. I also wasn’t ready because it opened up a new level of responsibility to face, accept and embrace the truth of what is. Duality is always a concept in my mind that I understand yet face frustration and resistance when it shows itself. Some of the thoughts that entered my brain were “Am I EVER going to be happy?”, “Is middle ground even possible?” or “Why does my heart feel like a home for heartbreak?”
The grief that I felt over acknowledging what wasn’t working was a moment that kept me in bed all day, tears gliding down my face and my heart sinking in my chest. It was a flashback to that little girl that couldn’t comprehend why some of the things we enjoy come to an end or take a different form. However, I realized that as much as I didn’t want to face the truth of what was changing, I needed to so the next doors would open for me. In order for new blessings to emerge, there needs to be space for them to arrive. And still, I am grieving all that was, is, and could have been.
When grief is present, it’s not just about the person, the thing or the event. It’s also about what role that presence played for you and the symbolism you attached to it. You now have to reassign that and it can feel extremely confusing and isolating. For me, the grief I mostly faced was my outdated self-image, change in passions and close relationships. For you, it may be something different but it is likely to come up because life changes. Sometimes it’s a drastic change and other times it’s a mere uncomfortable shift.
Coping With Grief After Graduation
Change shows us that something different, and most of the time, better – is on the horizon. You know what they say; life tends to fall apart before it comes together. What they don’t tell us is that we don’t ever truly know how long the “falling apart” period is. I have come to the conclusion that there will always be something external happening around us that impacts us either positively or negatively. The goal isn’t to control what’s happening around you, but to embrace it and find stability within yourself. You are the only constant in your life and that’s a damn great thing as well as an honor. Sometimes the best way to have stability is to create it yourself.
Life is gonna look hell of a lot different after you graduate. It’s okay to miss the old you, your old life, your old friends, your old job, and your old relationships. Those moments gave you something that felt good in your soul and it’s valid to miss that. The beautiful thing is that you decide where you go from your moments of grief. You can grieve the loss, reflect on what it taught you, reminisce on the happiness/comfort that was provided, and honor yourself by moving forward in whatever way you know how. The more waves you ride, the better you get at surfing.
Affirmations for Change
As you embark on your new journey, here are a few affirmations to take with you:
- I am open to receiving all things of my highest good and have space for joy.
- I embrace my emotions for what they are without needing to change anything.
- I am grateful for my past experiences and I honor the lessons and knowledge that was provided to me.
- I am compassionate and gracious with myself as I experience change.
- I am worthy of abundance and I open my heart, mind, body, and soul to experience it.
Until next time,