Ten Years Gone

There were the chairs, neatly lined up in rows on the football field. There were the bleachers, empty and waiting. And could it be? Yes. Yes it could. The soft strains of “Pomp & Circumstance” wafting through the air as the band rehearsed. Graduation time once again.

Can it really be ten years since my own? An entire decade? At times, it seems like only yesterday that I led my own class onto that very same field. Other days, it seems like an eternity ago. So much has changed. And yet, so little. Just another chapter of life closed.  

It’s amazing, really, when you consider how much can happen in only a few months’ time, or a single year. But ten? That’s a whole different story. Especially when you consider the particular ten-year span from high school to… to whatever it is you have decided to do with your life at that point in time.  

It’s interesting when you touch base with those from your graduating class – made so much easier these days by sites like Facebook – and catch up on life. Some are now married with multiple children, living in their own homes, some in other states. Others are still living with their parents, paying rent and trying to save up for that elusive “American Dream” we all heard about in our American History classes.  

Some have been working in the fields they always wanted to for the last five or six years, going directly from four years of college to a promising career. Others are still in the process of finding themselves, constantly changing direction and trying new things, hoping to hit on the right combination of fulfillment and profit. And then there’s the economy, of course, and the fact that some of those once-promising job options have now become rather obsolete.  

But ten years ago… none of that mattered. We sat on that very same field in the very same blistering heat, listening to fellow students, administrators and “honored guests” take turns waxing poetic about how this day wasn’t really an end at all, but rather a beginning… a new page in the book of our respective lives. There was a sense of excitement, the idea that anything and everything was possible for each and every one of us.

I would like to believe that this is still the case, even a decade later. It’s never too late to begin again, to reroute your life and pick a new path to pursue. You don’t need a commencement ceremony for that, nice as it is to be officially recognized for your achievements. Let’s face it, each and every one of us accomplishes something every day of varying magnitudes. In its own way, that’s cause for celebration itself.

So, to all those graduates… enjoy this newfound freedom to find yourself and choose your path. But rest assured, you will always have another opportunity to start fresh.

Just make sure you don’t miss it.


{Published: June 30th, 2010}

Jamie Lynn RyanComment