What is going on?
I think a lot of people, in all age groups have been asking themselves this significantly more over the past 2 years than at any other point. It seems like every few weeks restrictions change, and all of a sudden you realize you haven't seen most of your friends and family since the holidays of 2019. While governments and public health officials have been trying to keep communities safe from COVID-19, and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, everyone's mental health and financial stability has been challenged... if not almost obliterated.
I graduated from the University of Toronto in November of 2020 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts. I knew that finding a job would be... challenging. By the time I realized I should've switched my area of focus though, it was far too late to start over. Since graduating, I've learned a lot about the differences between jobs and careers, experienced some of the most difficult mental health challenges of my life, lost an extremely close friend to suicide (in March 2021), and found myself in a cycle that I'm working very hard to break. The cycle is one of my own anxiety, and it's certainly one that a lot of people can relate to. It's very simple, when work and personal life are going smoothly, I feel great! Energetic, goal oriented, thriving. When a couple of small things slip I'm still pretty okay, continue healthy habits, try to keep moving forward. However, when one area of my life (in this case work), became particularly overwhelming; I found myself back in my spiral. Public health rules kept changing, members and staff are even more stressed out, and no one knows what's going to happen next.
Staff keep calling in because they need to isolate, which adds to the already huge list of things that I need to be dealt with while managing a fitness facility during a pandemic. I found myself waking up stressed and upset every weekday. Too stiff and exhausted to continue my pre-shift workouts which were a consistent 4 days a week. Things kept slipping, I wasn't packing my lunches, so way too much of my income was going towards take out, worsening existing financial pressures. Anxiety can also eventually shut down your digestive system so my calorie intake has been extremely low which further effects energy and mood, so the cycle continues.
I haven't written anything on this site in over a year, and I can't give one particular reason why. I'd be lying if I said I don't from time to time get concerned that the content here could impact an employers decision to hire me. There has also been more intense events such as the death of my very close friend, that I certainly wasn't going to write about before giving everyone involved some time to process. Finally, it's just been hard to find ways to keep moving forward, and the last thing I want to do is write a blog that only communicates struggling. With all that said, when I look around at work, the staff and members that I see everyday are all struggling. All of my friends and family are struggling in some way. The past two years have been HARD, there's no other way to put it.
This site started as a guide to post secondary survival; I unloaded 5 years of knowledge and experience within a few nights of creating it. I'll do my best to make it into a more general, post graduation/young adult survival guide. I personally will of course connect most to my fellow HBA graduates, as we face a job market where we're either under, or overqualified for every position. Perhaps you want to go back to school for something more employable but you don't have the means to do so. It could also be that you absolutely do not want to go back at all and you're wondering what to do next. But really, everyone starting out right now is just looking at gas and rent prices and getting knot in their stomach.
I almost completely deactivated and removed this site, but I couldn't bring myself to get rid of something I used to be so proud of, and loved working on so much. I also did get a lot of really positive feedback, and people reaching out early on; I love that it did help some people, even if only a few. If I can find a way to make this into my full time job, I'll absolutely do it.