But earlier this week, during the most lively and enjoyable graduation I have attended to date, there were two things that struck me as truly inspirational. And, it was messages that seemed contradictory to all the other messages I had ever heard in my school career and in the experiences I have had as a parent with children in school.
First, an alumnus spoke and said something very simple in his message. To paraphrase, things are not easy sometimes. The objective of his message was to encourage the graduates to receive support when they need it and offer support for future students through the alumni society. He said that when he was sitting in the chair waiting to receive his diploma fourteen years ago, he felt lost. All around him people were telling him that he was on the brink of success. He told the crowd today that he realized then he most certainly had not been on the brink of success. He was in fact on a long winding path to success and was not sure if he had achieved success still today. Second, receiving an honorary doctorate from the university, another guest speaker spoke of his success with another perspective. In all the milestones of his life dating back as far back as he could remember, he felt he was a success.
Speaking from experience, I know more people who had felt uncertainty before graduation than those who felt sure the work they had been doing would be the foundation for their careers.
The second speaker had so many inspirational phrases and messages he was sending out, my head was trying to take note of his words so i could remember them later and then he said the thing that sunk in and stuck with me. You can't look forward. You can only look back.
Two very odd messages during the pomp and circumstance of sending younglings out into the world with little to no experience and the expectation to take on the world with verve.
First, it's a long and winding road for some... and success is unknown.
Second, you only know what you have done, not what you are going to to.
In the past year (perhaps four?) I've undergone some pretty heavy changes in my head culminating in this desire to pursue writing. It's something that I have always done and have never felt my efforts to be successful. But I don't know what is going to happen, only what has happened.
So, I'm on this long and winding road - some days ready to give up on everything and other days ready to take on anything that comes my way.