The “Young Professional” ages of 18-40 can be exhilarating, exciting and yet daunting. These are the years when you might set off to college, find a job, find a career, meet a significant other, purchase a home, begin a family, the list goes on and on. Certainly all of these milestones are exciting however often times they are overwhelming, naturally so. Because of the overwhelming nature of bigger life decisions, we tend to spend more time looking inwards, tend to be more self-consumed and tend to push some things off to the side until we have more time to spare. This is human nature.
We hear the term “Reciprocal Giving” a lot in the not-for-profit space as I will give or donate to your cause/charity and then when the time comes you will give or donate to my cause/charity. However, the fact is all giving is reciprocal giving. The concept of reciprocal giving extends much further than strictly monetary. May it be volunteering, tutoring, or simply spending the time to talk to family and friends on the phone, this act of giving becomes full circle. Usually the student ends up being the teacher at some point. The person giving advice usually ends up receiving advice in the same conversation. Offer to give your time to someone else and he or she will usually offer his or hers in return at some point.
Rather than pushing off extracurricular activities for periods when you have more time, I would encourage you to get even more involved during periods when you are making the big life decisions. The involvement with helping others will swing full circle and you will often times find yourself being the one receiving help or gaining a perspective that allows you to calmly make the decisions, you otherwise would have stressed about.
Whenever you ask someone about how they made an emotionally difficult or challenging decision, usually they respond that they had a conversation with someone and that someone really helped relax them and put things in perspective for them. Never do you hear someone say that the key to making the decision was pushing everyone else away and thinking about the decision nonstop in an isolated manner.
We as young professionals are and will go through many thrilling yet intimidating decisions. We will decide what college to attend, what career to pursue, what person to be with and what town to live in. While you may feel overwhelmed at certain times when the big decisions are looming on the horizon, I strongly urge you to get even more involved during the emotionally challenging times. Join a kickball team, volunteer at the local recreation center, give your grandparent a call. You will oftentimes find the best gift comes at an unexpected time from an unexpected place.