|So, that's my natural hair color!|
The word commencement is an odd one. While it is defined as a beginning or start, it clearly is most often used to describe a ceremony which acknowledges the end of something. Seems that endings and beginnings can get all sorts of mixed up, huh?
Almost exactly 20 years ago, I received my college diploma. The path I took to that mass commencement ceremony was circuitous and prolonged. Or so it seemed to my-then-25- year-old self. I remember that the morning was beautiful; a perfect May Day with blue skies and fluffy white clouds. The graduation was my first since my 8th grade commencement in 1980 - they didn't give GEDs with an iota of pomp, regardless of circumstance.
I wished I was feeling a bit more triumphant about my achievement, but I was nursing a broken heart and was just desperate to get the whole thing over with. My plan had been to avoid the entire day by going to Syracuse for my brother's awe inspiring graduation from medical school, an event which naturally was scheduled for precisely the same day. One of my best friends, though, had timed a trip to New York from Australia to witness my achievement (with binoculars in the vast feeling Knickerbocker Arena) and so, there I was in a sea of fellow B.A., English, recipients.
Honestly, the entire thing is a blur now. I don't recall who was the speaker or what the message conveyed was. I just remember itching to get out of there. Now. I needed to go home, to Greenwood Lake. I needed to get out of Dodge and see something new. I needed what was NEXT. I wanted to commence already, dammit. I had a sense of freedom similar to possessing a passport and a credit card. I could go anywhere. And, unlike my bruised heart, no one was ever going to take that away from me.
The following month, my brother and I traveled to Europe for 3 weeks of
In the two decades since graduation, there have been other heartbreaks survived, additional diplomas bestowed and numerous European adventures. And, of course, countless endings and beginnings. I've come to learn that, unlike my sheepskin, some things just aren't meant to last forever. Some courses are finite, pass or fail.