Monday, May 14, 2012

Graduation Thoughts

This weekend, Kev and I traveled with his family up to Minnesota for his younger brother Bobby's graduation from college. His fabulous girlfriend, Becca also graduated that day, and we spent all of Saturday bopping around to parties and celebrating the end of one chapter in their lives. Winona, Minnesota is a beautiful place in the springtime, and I found it easy to be festive in the sunshine.

Some people, on the other hand, weren't feeling so festive. What is it about a college graduation that inspires people to say horrible things? Some of the gems I overheard as people were "celebrating:"

So, do you have a job yet?
It's all downhill from here, buddy.
The real world sucks, it's definitely not the same.
I can't wait for you to start working so you can see what we all deal with.
College were the best years of my life, you're never going to have that much fun again.
Have all of your friends scattered yet? They will.

I'd like to say that I'm exaggerating, but I'm really not. Quite frankly, this kind of negative talk irked me. Yes, moving on from college to the next steps can be scary. For the first time, you are in charge of starting your life. Yes, the economy sucks and these kids probably won't get their dream jobs right out of school, but at the same time, there are so many options to learn from out there, and things have a funny way of working themselves out. I think you can tell a lot about a person from the advice and commentary they give graduates.

I personally felt ecstatic for Bobby because I know that the best is yet to come. I had an amazing time in college, but the years following have been the best of my life. I reconnected with Kev, got married, made amazing friends in Chicago, learned a new city, gained independence, landed two jobs that made me extremely happy most days, traveled, learned, read, and bought a house. Tried to manage money. Bought my own wedding dress with money I earned with my own hard work. Became a mother to two pesky hairballs. Watched my siblings grow. Grew myself. Cried. Loved. Lost. Gained.

I think that anybody who says college were the best years of their life probably is missing out on amazing opportunities in front of them. I miss my college friends, as we've moved to different states and drifted apart. I miss having instant access to my friends whenever I wanted, and the freedom to organize my days as I saw fit. But I am much prouder of the person I am now and the life I live then I was back then. I may be a little more arthritic, and a little more outspoken, but I've made a life for myself with my amazing husband that I'm proud to call mine. I've made mistakes I've learned from, and some choices that I would make again if given the chance. But they've all been mine.

I can't wait to watch more of my siblings become themselves in this way. I can't wait to watch as they stumble, then walk, then run towards the things they want in life. I can't wait to see where life takes all of us, and I know the truth- after college, the best is yet to come.

Were college your best years? What were some of your favorite years in life?

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