gradIf I had a penny for every time someone asked me what I am going to do after I graduate in May, I would have a decent amount in my checking account right now.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate people asking what my next big plans are, it’s that I don’t have an answer for them, and that scares me more than people realize.

It’s so funny to me how nervous I am about graduating, mainly because I did the “real world” life already, and survived just fine in it.

I had decided to take a year off after completing a semester my freshman year of college. That was about ten years ago. Needless to say in the meantime I worked full time in corporate America, lived on my own, and adulted my way through life.

Years later I decided a college degree was something I truly wanted, not to mention I found myself chasing a career that required a degree.

So here I was, back where I started, only much older and more sure of what I was getting my education in. I didn’t declare “undecided” for my major, and I skated my way through my classes. I thought, for the first time in a long time, that I had it all figured out.

I was wrong.

I say this because here I am, college degree almost in the can, and I am feeling as though I’ve never gone through a graduation ceremony before. That I never had to leave the comfort of my school, and never had to adult my way through life.

Perhaps my fear stems from the fact that this time I feel the stakes are higher. At 28-years-old I feel behind where my friends are at this point in their lives.

I don’t own my home, I’m not engaged, and I certainly am not close to having children. I’m just now getting my college degree and starting over in the career process.

I’m just now having to adult all over again.

Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to be back on my own fully, and no longer living the broke college life anymore. But at the same time I feel this is my final shot, my last “re-do” and I have to get this right.

I have to start making money, I have to set up a 401-K, buy a home and enter my thirties where I always imaged I would be. Granted this will most likely not happen, but the process needs to be in motion, and I need to gain some stability in my life again.

I know this sounds hypocritical, especially because I have written articles about not putting an expiration date on yourself, and remembering that getting “derailed” in life can be a good thing.

But even though I have given that advice, it doesn’t mean I fear having to start over any less.grad1

My fear is I won’t find myself loving the career I thought I was so sure of. That I would have wasted all these years on a degree I won’t end up using. Or perhaps finding success, whatever that may be, will never fully find me.

My fear is I’ll find myself starting all over, again.

But perhaps that’s really all life is, a journey of starting over. It’s us finding our way, and hoping along the way we find some adventure and a few really great stories to tell.