Ten years ago this weekend, I donned a cap and gown, walked across the stage, and graduated from high school. Graduation was held in the school gym, and then my parents threw me a big party after at our house. I still remember it like it was yesterday, but it also seems so far away.
Wow. Time truly does fly. Being such a sentimental person, this is so bittersweet for me. There are things about high school I miss SO MUCH (not much responsibility, sports, hanging out with friends non stop, etc.) But there are things I wouldn’t go back to for anything (drama, curfews, wanting to do my own thing). I flipped through my senior memories book yesterday, and it was a fun trip down memory lane. Senior year was a blast in a lot of ways, especially at the end when everyone is SO excited for the future. We had our senior trip, counting down the days to graduation, and looking forward to going to college and being “adults” with “freedom”. Oh boy.
mom decorated my car the last day of school
We thought we were so big and bad, taking on the world, leaving childhood behind. A lot of people say they wish they knew the future, but I for one am glad I didn’t know everything the next ten years would hold. I think I would have been scared out of my mind! There is definitely a reason God doesn’t reveal the whole picture to us in the beginning, most of us would run away screaming.
I am no longer the wide eyed 17 year old who thought high school, the “worst” part of my life was over. Sometimes I wish I could go back and do it again knowing what I know now. I would tell myself to not take everything so seriously, and that even though it seems like it, the “big things” I thought were a huge deal would be very small in the grand scheme of things, so let it go. I made a lot of mistakes, and then made the same ones again. I laughed, I loved, I cried. I got home sick, I enjoyed my freedom, and I grew up.
My picture table at graduation
I look back at my senior memory book where I filled in blanks such as “plans after college”. I wrote down law school. This makes me laugh. I am married to an attorney. I thought I would graduate college, get married, go to more school, and my plan was to have my first baby at 25. I laugh some more. I DID get married right out of college, but I am nearly 28 with no kids in sight, and no advanced degree. I am totally ok with this.
mom and I right before graduation
There is SO much I didn’t know then, and even more I feel I don’t know now. But one thing I can say as I look back over the past ten years is that God was with me the whole time. There have been many days when I felt alone, and that things were never going to get better. Days when I thought my little world was over, and I couldn’t possibly face another day. Even though I had to drag myself through some days, weeks, months, and even years, I have never done it alone. It is my prayer as I look ahead to the next ten years, that I will use my past experiences to help myself and others get through the next hard time. I hope to remember God’s faithfulness and grace as I navigate life.
My page from the graduation program. “Be enthusiastic in your work, and think with your heart.”
I hope I never lose sight of that goofy 17 year old girl with the world in front of her with so many plans and dreams in her heart. She may have been naïve, but on that night she took home a brand new diploma she was right about something. There is so much yet to be discovered and learned, and with my family and God by my side, I don’t have to go through it alone.
Cheers to the class of 2003.
QOTD: What are your thoughts on your high school self vs. now? When did you graduate?