I won't go as far as saying I'm learning more now than I did when I was still in school...but it's not too far off. This stage of my life is at least as challenging, as new and as fall-and-get-back-up-off-your-bum as any previous one.
Long days at work, filled with firsts & faux pas. With every meeting I attend, every proposal I write up, every question I face and every outfit I choose I aim & shoot - with varying degrees of success. Some days I seem to float through the corridors, getting things done and feeling great about where things are headed. I'm in touch with talented people and overflowing with ideas and plans. I give the bus driver a big smile, the old man reading a gossip rag over someone's shoulder a grin, and my job the best I've got. Other days I'm so far out of it picking up my cup of coffee when the machine stops rattling and the next person in line shoves me aside is the most efficient and goal-oriented thing I'll get done, second to trying to hide the run in my pantyhose and wondering if a time warping black hole could explain why setting my alarm earlier makes me get to work even later. But all in all I'd say things are swell, I still like the thought of coming in every day and I can see myself sticking around for a lot longer. Turns out I'm more ambitious than I've always thought I was.
I never realized this would be such an awesome stage in life. No house or car to pay off, no significant household to manage, no old maid concerns just yet (speaking of which: a single friend of mine who's 24 went to the bank the other day to ask about possible loan options. The guy she talked to advised her to "find a man". Yup, 2007, folks. If this company is so fundamentally unaccomodating to the growing demographic of single people - at all ages - I have serious concerns for its future), the kind of taken-for-granted health, limited need of sleep and stamina that comes with being in your early twenties, a planner filled with concerts, expositions and birthday parties but...more money and a more clearly defined future than I had as a student. And plenty of time to hang upside down in theme parks, walk along the beach, indulge in pillow talk, approve of friends' spanking new boyfriends, let my eyes wander, commit to projects (I need to get it through my head that there is a limit to the amounts of plates I can keep up in the air simultaneously, but then again I don't consider having one or two shatter to the ground as complete failure), shop, read and absorb.
It's not that I have things more figured out than before, but there seems to be very little pressure to do so. There's no "So, what will you do after graduation?" anymore and it's still too early for "Well, fair enough, but shouldn't you be manager by now?" or "How is it my teenage kids seem to have a better grasp of life than I do?". I feel like once you hit a certain age people expect Olympic performances, whereas now the simple fact that I'm not sinking to the bottom of the pool or standing idly by praying the chlorine will do its job is good enough. It's only natural that I don't have a company car, that the guys I date aren't marriage material and that I haven't cooked a warm meal for myself in 5 months. All that will be expected eventually, but until that time I'm happy with my daily dozen of mini triumphs and trip-ups.