Graduation was this past weekend. It was a long ceremony, but I was happy to be there. I love seeing their smiles as they proudly and nervously cross the stage, leaving behind childhood. One of my former students was the valedictorian, and gave quite a wonderful speech. He talked about all the mixed-up emotions he’s feeling right now as he gets ready to embark on this new phase of his life: happy, sad, excited, nostalgic, etc. But there was also one emotion he said he hadn’t shared with anyone before: he’s scared.
Change is most certainly a scary thing. I too am at a point where big things are changing in my life, and I’m anxious and terrified. Terrified of encountering rejection, of hating where I end up, of knowing what I want but not being able to grasp it.
Growing up, my life was always so stable that change was one of the things I feared most. I viewed it as a swear word, a circumstance to be avoided and resisted. As I got older, I learned to look at it in a more positive light. When graduating college, I was certainly sad to leave behind a place and people I loved so dearly, but also excited that I would finally be pursuing the career that I had dreamed of and worked towards for so long. I’m trying to remember that feeling now, that feeling of possibilities in various facets of my life.
I saw that excitement in my students’ faces the other day, ready for bigger and better things. I hugged them and wished them well, and I hoped that we’ve helped prepare them to face the world. There are some who I am confident will be spectacular, and some who I worry about, especially if life has already been difficult for them. I know that I’ve been well-prepared to face life’s challenges, and I know that I have a family and friends that are there to help me along the way. I’m hopeful that, as I prepare to turn a quarter of a century old and another year wiser, I too will be on to bigger and better things. And who knows? There may yet be some detours along the way. But I am going to do my best to hang on to that feeling of hope.