21 May 2011

Getting a Grip on Graduation

This time of year means the season of graduation parties is among us.  Every year I am awed by the numbers...of people having them, of pounds of food, of cakes being made, invites being given out...everything.

A few teachers and I were discussing this very phenomenon a couple of days in the lounge during lunch.  One colleague wondered if parents would throw such elaborate shindigs for their child's college graduations.  I have no data to support my hypothesis, but I would venture to answer that question with a 'probably not'. 

Which is rather interesting, I think.  College graduation seems much more monumental than high school, I think, and therefore, worth a larger celebration.  However, for an eighteen-year-old, there is no greater highlight to their lives than graduating from high school.

Thoughts like these lead me to even more pensive ones, like: Is this part of the reason why I fear getting old?  Because we as a society seem to prize and place value on youth?  Now that I've graduated high school, college, am married, had all my babies...what else can I celebrate?  What other milestones are there?

The self-help section of the bookstore tells me: Life.  I'm supposed to find peace at this time of my life, and stability because I'm getting mature and wise.  I'm supposed to worry less about things and more about people, and I'm supposed to become reflective and discover who I am on the inside.  I know that it's not about getting what I want, it's wanting what I've got.  I'm supposed to remember the idea of perspective and that things could be worse.  There are a lot of books, magazine articles, websites, blogs, etc. that remind us that we don't need to envy the younger set...which makes me wonder why we're trying so hard to convince ourselves.

It's a process - I understand.  I do think I'm getting there (to wisdom).  But, I'm straddling that fine line, too, you know?  One foot here, one foot there.  I'm growing, and maturing, yes, but I'm also leaving things behind.  I'm finding it a bit painful.


  1. HD:

    When our youngest grandson graduated from kindergarten he had a graduation party, which included a cap and gown and the Pomp and Circumstance March. We have a framed 10x12 color photograph of him posing and beaming from ear to ear. Will high school graduation later seem somewhat anticlimactic?

  2. Depends on if he'll graduate from elementary school, then middle school.

  3. The parents and kids may also want to celebrate if high school graduation means the kid is leaving the house.

    I don't think there's a need to celebrate a ton later in life. I think the biggest thing is that we need to keep trying new things, exploring, learning, etc. I think new experiences give us a lot of small moments of celebration, a battery recharge that helps us continue our journey along the road of life.

  4. I wonder if the obsession with youth (which I have also noticed) has to do with potential. Looking at a child, it seems that they always have so much potential. Even up into our twenties, the world is our oyster, so to speak, anything is possible for us. When we reach middle age, however, the attitude shifts to the potential of our children, as opposed to ourselves. Being a childless person, I have seen many a friend go through this switch where they have nothing to talk about other than the potential of their children.

    It's sad really. There are really inspirational adults out there showing new potential all the time. But many times they are only given half the accolades of a young person who accomplishes the same feat. I'm not disregarding the wonder of youth, I'm just saying that potential doesn't have to die out when we get older.

    Wow, I guess I'm really passionate about this, lol.