Graduation: Through different lenses

Back in August when the school year began for this year’s senior class, it kicked off the bittersweet first of the lasts. Last first day of school, led to last formals, games/meets, concerts until finally, the class of 2018 will have their last, last day of high school. Graduation is officially looming; an ending and a beginning all at once. One’s perspective of this particular milestone is highly reflective of the season of life one’s currently living.

The graduates, for example, are mostly riding the elation of finally arriving at this moment, ready to take adulthood by storm. Meanwhile, their adult family members are probably walking a fine line between the excitement of what’s to come, and being a sad bundle of emotions filled with irrational regret over every time we encouraged them to “spread their wings and fly.” And then there are the younger siblings, gleefully plotting an overtaking of their graduate-sibling’s bedroom. (The big feelings will come later, when reality officially sets in…)

Yes, different lenses for the different spaces of life we’re occupying.

For these graduating seniors, getting to this moment felt like it took forever. It was never gonna get here! Yet, for their parents and families, it all happened in the blink of an eye. They remember the moment you came into this world, young one. They remember your first day of kindergarten. They remember the victories celebrated. Their hearts ached through every valley, heartbreak, or challenge you faced. All of it is simply becoming part of the fabric of who you are meant to be in this world. Knowing that you would ultimately be better and stronger for the challenges that you faced, bolstered by the successes. What a ride it’s been!

And now, to the graduates, a few words just for you. (Originally written for my oldest nephew and nieces for a class, responding to the question, “What advice would you give to young adults about career choice?”)

Dear Class of 2018,

Do what you love. Find your passion. Find a way to make that dream work for you, but remember that you have to pay your dues – nobody just starts at the top, you’ve got to earn every step up that ladder. Be patient. Let go of any entitlement; the world owes you nothing. Work. Work hard. If you’re going to do something, do it right, do it well, and do it to the absolute best of your ability. Listen and learn. Dream big. You might make a few wrong turns along the way, that’s okay. Learn from those plot twists and move on. Life is not perfect, what will you make out of its beautiful imperfection?

Congratulations, class of 2018! Let your lights shine bright in the world; the best is yet to come!

about the author...Before she was “Mama” she was “Aunt Bec,” and while she might be a hopeless mess of emotions over graduation, she couldn’t be more proud of the very first little love of her life. You’re gonna do great things, I already know.  

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s May 2018 issue.

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