The limitless promise of graduation

posted by Jeff | Thursday, May 24, 2018, 10:30 PM | comments: 0

There are a lot of college graduations in the books for this year, and the high schools are finishing up, too. Every year, these events yield some great speeches, and a lot of sentiment among the graduates about how anything is possible.

I remember that feeling, particularly in college. I was feeling very done with school and was ready to be successful in real life. I wasn't entirely sure what that would look like, but it was a feeling that stuck with me for a number of years, even into my career change four years out of school. There were some struggles in that time, and my confidence was up and down, but the possibilities were in fact endless.

I wish you could bottle that feeling. I thought I had it again when we moved to Seattle, but I think the stress of extended "self-employment" and having a child put me largely in survival mode and I wasn't thinking much about what could happen. On the other hand, the move to Orlando, when we started planning it five years ago, did feel like there was limitless potential for our future.

There are times when I'm probably naively optimistic, and while I can't always keep up that attitude, I do cling to it because the opposite state would be a miserable way to live. But while optimism is good, that feeling of embracing the unknown, and excitement over limitless possibilities, that's harder to capture. There's something about life as it progresses where the stakes seem higher, change gets scarier and uncertainty carries a lot of mental weight.

But is any of that really true? As I said the other day, we only have so many minutes. As time moves forward, the stakes aren't as high, the change is less permanent, and there is one thing that becomes all the more certain. I'm not exactly sure how to phrase it, but while time does restrict the limitlessness of our future possibilities, it also creates urgency to consider those possibilities.

Right now, I'm trying to share in the feelings of limitless promise that graduates are feeling, because there's a lot of potential to embark on new adventures in the very near future. If anything has changed since I graduated (and to be clear, everything has changed), it's that my view on what is possible is way more flexible than it was when I was barely old enough to buy a drink. Our limitations are often self-imposed.


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