The 2018 graduation season and celebrations hit close to home for me for a variety of different reasons.
I have been blessed to get to know many of the seniors who just graduated from GHS. A major perk to my job at the Inquirer is that I get to shove my camera in their faces — much to their enjoyment — and capture their memories over the course of the school year.
They love it, and so do I. It is a huge blessing to get to be a part of their lives and to be able to get to know them.
Because of this, I am friends with many of them on social media and I have watched so many of them count down the days until their commencement.
I remember those feelings so well.
Looking forward to the next step in life, whether it be college or a job, anything but being a high school student sounded so exciting and grown up. As I read numerous posts like this, one thought kept recurring in my mind …
Don’t wish it away.
My mom always told me that the first 10 years after I graduate high school would fly by before I knew it.
She was right.
This August, I will attend my 25-year class reunion. Shortly after that — in September — I will turn 43 years old. But somewhere in my mind, I’m still that 17-year-old girl who walked across the stage on a beautiful June 6, 1993 at Heise Park stadium to receive my diploma.
I was ready to leave home for college, knowing since I had been in elementary school that I wanted to be an educator myself. There was no stopping me. Until there was.
College bills mounted up, and I took a break from school to work full-time for awhile. I met a guy. I married that guy five years later, and we recently celebrated our 18-year wedding anniversary.
I’ve never returned to college.
Do I regret it?
But do I regret the other stuff that took its place?
I am a wife and mother. I have three kids that are the center of my world.
I have a job that I LOVE, and not many can say that. But it took me a few crappy jobs to get here.
So, while life may not have landed me where I thought it would 25 years ago, I’ve learned to appreciate the results of my decisions … good and bad. Those decisions have made me who I am today: An imperfect person who continues to learn and grow into who I’m intended to be.
Graduates of 2018, know this: The learning never stops. People and circumstances have come in and out of my life over the years that have taught me so much, and pushed me to be better. Sometimes those people are teachers, sometimes they are co-workers, and sometimes they are completely unexpected.
But whatever you do, enjoy EVERY moment and don’t wish it away.
None of us get to go back and relive it.
You will only have the memories from now on, and like my mom told me, the next ten years will fly by!