It’s taken a little bit of time to gather the words that seem appropriate to explain what’s gone on, what’s happening. On Saturday, life as I knew it began to change. There was no grand goodbye, no eloquent thank you parting words, no. The day and the weekend happened, then it ended. Just like that. While I spent weeks and weeks planning for my move to college, my move out took a measly two hours. I barely had time to process the change, to take in what was once my normal, my familiar. One second I was house hopping through the neighborhood, ordering jimmy johns and tutti gusti and reveling in my seven minute commute to class, and the next I’m taking my final drive up 81 north with a packed car and memories only I belong to. Just like that I went from college student to alumni. I can’t wait to see where life goes next but dang is this the weirdest I’ve ever felt. The realization that some of these faces are never to be seen again, never to pass on the quad, never to casually bump into at Jay’s bagels on Saturday morning. Right now it feels drastic, but I’m sure that the future will hold even more change, evolution, belonging to a new home base and cluster of people, lingo and names. If these past four years went by in a blink, Lord knows life is gonna fly.
Now here I am ten thousand feet in the air, sun setting, Bon over blasting through my headphones drowning out the constant hum of the plane’s engine (or is it the massive air conditioning circulation that’s happening…?). Flying back from seeing my best friend walk across her own stage, being recognized for her own accomplishments, reflecting back on her own private memories. Will these transitions in life always be this hard? Going away to work, getting jobs… Pretty soon it’ll be weddings and babies and class reunions. I honestly don’t know if I can keep up with all of what’s about to go down.
Live meaningful lives.
Our faculty speaker at commencement gave one of the most moving speeches. He pulled on these three words from the university’s mission statement, and elaborated on how important each one is. Living a life of service, helping others, being a leader, living – and really living – each day with purpose, with passion, in the pursuit of our dreams.
And then there’s the thought of dreams. Of how easy it is to become lazy, to give them up. To sell out in the face of uncertainty, of loans, of bills, of expectations. You heard it here first, folks. My vow is to never fall into this trap, to follow that path my gut is telling me to follow, to work diligently in the face of uncertainty, to never choose safety and security over a life well lived. A meaningful life.
What’s next? All us graduates can do at this point is look to the next step. To be confident that where we choose to go now will be the right choice on our path. Who knows. It could be the wrong one… But at least it will get us to where we need to be.