Let’s all together build a better future today for tomorrow. Actually, never mind. That makes no sense. June 2016 has come and gone. For some the 30 days passing was subtle with many folks barely noticing, while others celebrated the month’s exit by burning school books, donning draping blue gowns, walking in-step in procession, sitting in perfect synchronicity and fidgeting with gold-tasseled blue squared caps. Graduation ceremonies. Especially poignant is the closing chapter at high school. Although fraught with certain challenges and dramas, the majority of students will look back on these years with a certain fondness and melancholy; those years spent shuffling the waxed halls amongst a cacophony of banging lockers, as happy ones. Later in life these times will be recounted as ‘much simpler.’
Today, there is a hellbroth of emotions all vying for the graduate’s attention and insomnia-inducing consideration. Apprehension. Fear of the unknown. Enthusiasm. High hopes with high expectations. Dread. Pinnacles to identify and aim to summit. Pressure to ‘embrace this exciting new chapter in your life’. If the school hosts a keynote speaker or class valedictorian, there will be jotted down and well-rehearsed analogies and references to looking towards the future and the encouragement to get out there, make your mark, and make this world a better place and such; lofty goals to be sure – goals that do actually sound motivational as they reverberate off the back bricked wall of packed gymnasiums. They may resonate for a few fleeting moments. It’s even possible that everyone in attendance believes it to be possible.
Graduation ceremonies are a singular occasion where clichés, metaphors, affirmations run amok as the students are wished farewell and good luck with their future endeavors.
“Remember Class of 2016: You are our future and the future is yours to build as you build bridges while forging new friendships as you cement bonds that will last a lifetime while together we build a better future today for tomorrow and for generations to come. Chart out a course and map your pathway to success in a world that is your oyster and there is nothing you cannot achieve if the will is strong and . .”
This is a monumental time for a young grad, as for a brief period of time in the grand scheme of things, they are perceived by, and therefore become defined by, the decisions they’ve made for life after high school. But this shouldn’t be a time to zero on a set path the width of a razor’s edge, but to be open to merely navigate and change course if need be. Yes, I prefer maritime metaphors. I know very few people that stayed on the course they or others set out for them years ago. Circumstances dictated a change of direction. Circumstances dictated contingencies. The hardest part about change is fighting it. It’s a losing battle. Accept it. Learn to adapt, improvise and simply ‘wing it’ and see what happens. You may not become an optometrist, but that’s fine as it is quite possible you’d be miserable at it.
The first pair of sneakers I bought with my own money after high school was some black Converse Chuck Taylors high tops. I knew they would never fit me for the rest of my life. I wore them and just kind of allowed them to take me wherever I needed to go. When they brought me to places I didn’t truly want to go I changed my shoes. The soles were falling apart anyway. It is inconceivable that someone would be expected to decide on a pair of shoes to wear for their whole working career, yet the pressure is there in many cases, to make this type of decision but on a monumental level.
If your shoes keep you from walking comfortably, change them before you start to walk like a pigeon. Not comfortable in your own skin? Shed it. Reinvent. If you can’t find something you like, stop looking. Chances are something will find you.
For anyone out there just starting their career, or for those who are simply not fitting into the groove of whatever workplace you’re in, consider changing your shoes. You may have outgrown them, or maybe they never fit you properly in the first place.