Thursday, May 15, 2014

On Graduating...

"Go confidently in the directions of
your dreams!  Live the life
you've imagined."
Henry David Thoreau
There are graduation ceremonies happening all over the country this month.  From preschool to college, young and old will be receiving academic degrees and diplomas…there will be Pomp and Circumstance, inspirational speeches, tears of joy, warm embraces, handshakes and pats on the back, pictures snapped (and plenty of selfies), raised glasses and toasts repeated, bouquets of flowers and caps tossed into the air.  It's a great feeling to know you've accomplished the requirements to graduate, to move on to the next step in your life, whatever that might be.  I have two nieces who are sisters graduating from kindergarten and high school, and their brother is graduating from middle school -- now there's a party.  Several friends have sons and daughters graduating from colleges and universities, basic training programs -- even graduate, law and medical schools.  Hip, Hip, Degrees!  We are in-between degrees at our house this year.  Our youngest son will graduate next year with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering.  Our older son and daughter have already graduated from other universities and are thriving in their careers.  There's something to be said about putting the time in and working hard toward your future, earning a degree.  With each of our kids going off to college, we watched them grow and mature over the years, figure out who they were and learn to work hard -- on their own.  Sure, we were there to answer their calls and cheer them on, but earning their place on the stage, accepting their diplomas, well, that was all them.  My college boy is home for a week before heading across the country for a summer internship in aerospace.  He said he really appreciated being able to call home and vent about all the hard work he had to do this year in his program.  "You guys were always calm and listened and oftentimes, talked me down from the ledge."  Sometimes that's all he needed, just a calm voice in the middle of the storm, a beacon for when things got tough.  We knew he'd be fine, because he had a plan and we taught him to keep an eye on the bigger picture. There's a difference between what you 'want' to do and 'how' you'll do it.  We all want things, but the trick is to make a plan for how you'll work towards getting what you want.  The list can be as simple as:  I'll go to every class, I'll complete every assignment, I'll study for every exam.  If you do that, you'll graduate.  It's tough though, when an instructor seems insane, or your roommate is driving you crazy, or you have a boss who is relentless -- you might feel like quitting, but don't -- go back to the plan and look at the bigger picture, work around the obstacles, keep your cool, and continue to move forward.  "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams."  "Never, ever give up."  There's always a way.  For all the graduates out there, the road you have travelled has been rough at times, and you've faced many challenges along the way to stand where you are today -- so wear your caps and gowns proudly, you deserve your diplomas, you've earned them.  Now go, "Live the life you've imagined."

My life on the lane is about looking to the future, making plans and working towards all of life's dreams and goals and diplomas.  Cheers!