So there you are, Dawson-like, brain and legs stretched out on some damp piece of lawn under the canopy of the wide Universe. It's you and some fellow graduates, Plato, Locke, Nietche, and the wisdom of the ages. You're half wondering just how deep you can get before you bottom out completely.
There is no such thing as Graduation, only a series of small graduations, continually.
A delirious cocktail of imagination, confidence and new freedom is raging through your veins: the New World has discovered YOU.
And here's an Ally McBeal moment; your theme song comes to a screeching halt in the middle. What NOW?
Do I know where I am going, in the truest sense?
How can I go on from here if I don't know the answer to ANYTHING?
Have I even figured out WHO I AM?
Well, I hope not! You've only just graduated high school. Give yourself a break; turn your theme song back on.
Newsflash: There is no such thing as Graduation, only a series of small graduations, continually.
Hopefully, there will never be a time when you wake up and say: Now, I'm finished. Now, I'm ME.
We are always graduating from something, and moving on to something else. It's just that we don't always celebrate accordingly; we don't always recognize the magnitude of what has just transpired, of what we've finished.
Or of what we're about to start.
When I graduated college, there was, of course, a party.
But there was no party (and in fact quite the opposite) when I decided to put graduate school and my career on hold; I wanted to feel my way around first.
It was a definite milestone: admitting that I was unsure about something. Admitting that I was, for the first time ever, kind of clueless. Kind of...lost.
But no one graduated me from the school of know-it-alls. (I would have been valedictorian.)
The list goes on. Life's biggest lessons - - It's not about you; you can't control everything; truth is often frustrated by ego; carpe diem... They come at you, in different forms, and shape you. But there is never a party afterwards, never a ceremony.
Because real life, unlike school, is too fluid for that. In fact, so fluid that people often miss these advances in awareness entirely. Our job, I think, is to recognize them for what they are: the real deal.
Whatever it is we decide to do, I think our real work is to keep on becoming, in thoughtful, proactive strokes. To keep moving through the water, even as we try to figure out the undercurrents.
So what if you don't know exactly who you are at 17? At 20? Before you commit to a career? If your eyes are open, and your head is on straight, you might find you in the oddest places...
Just don't get stuck in the search. Live, love and think, and you will graduate. Again and again.