The fireworks began just before ten.
As I was falling asleep I heard the rapid succession of the staccato boom signaling that annual right of passage at the University of Texas just down the road: graduation ceremonies were concluding on the great lawn.
Living so close to campus you can tell the time of year without a calendar. The crowds and cars and cacophony every fall as incoming freshman (and wary parents) get their first glimpse of the school in session, along with 50,000 other students.
The disjointed sense of Thanksgiving as some students stay and take part time jobs in the local grocer while friends and roommates dash off for a quick family visit and a good meal.
The erie emptiness of parking lots, coffee shops and buses as everyone decides a return home is worth it come Christmas.
Graduation though is a carnival all its own. Its that bittersweet time, full of promise and hope and not a little bit of fear.
A Lot Like Life
The signs of late May have been reminding me of this seminal point.
The lone student pulling a large suitcase behind her as dorms begin to empty. The inability to get a seat at Julio's (Cash Only!) as parents, relatives and friends all crowd into town for celebratory meals. My neighbor wearing a dress for the first time that I've ever seen, as she prepared to attend her own ceremony.
Growing older give you an opportunity to wax nostalgic. But not the right.
I prefer to focus on today and tomorrow so here is my wish list for all new graduates around the globe.
May you always –
- Know love and have passion
- Trust yourself and your capabilities
- Hold onto your dreams, even though they change
- Persevere when things are tough
- Value and keep friends
- Keep kindness in your heart and actions
- Believe you can change the world
Graduation is that special bittersweet time all its own, one of the very few days you'll remember your whole life. Enjoy the ceremonies, friends and family. Congratulations to you.
And above all, welcome to the world: we've been waiting for you – we need you.