A package containing a cap and gown just came in the mail.
Unsent graduation letters sit on the kitchen counter next to unpaid bills and incomplete homework.
A life spent hustling for this upcoming stage of life suddenly goes quiet with the impending wave of reality.
I’ve done this before, but it was different last time. Four years ago I looked forward to the next stage. Transition was easy and secure. Four years ago I had no idea what I was doing, but everyone said that was OK. It was expected.
The current stage is unfamiliar and unprecedented. I spent four years experiencing countless stages of change. My perspective is different now. I’ve seen friends take many routes and have witnessed the consequences of each.
At some point, I realized that life is hard and that no one is completely certain of the path he takes or what the future holds for him.
What was once a journey I began because of other’s ideas has now transformed into my own. This journey that once seemed so safe now seems so unknown. Even with the occasional reassurance, the uncertainty hangs in the air. This next step is solely my own.
This idea began as a weight of insecurity and became my freedom with this reality: Life is always fluid and never concrete.
This truth triumphs over any failure or uncertainty we may fear. Individually, we are each creatures of progress, of evolution. No social expectation or comparison should overwhelm us. We have no reason to fear being caught in failure. We are designed to assess, adapt and overcome.
This is true even beyond the extension of our American education system and the fierceness of our competitive job market.
Contrary to society’s pressures, our lowest points in life will not be our college GPA. Our biggest struggle will not be the job search. These are small aspects of a deeper search for security, comfort and belonging that will define the entirety of our lives. And we will come to find living has more to offer than comfort and stability.
Beyond fear, we are inherently disposed to discovery and adventure, which life rewards if we embrace change.
The closer it gets to graduation, the more it becomes prevalent that the next stage will not be full of the same obstacles, comfort or stability. The voices that once comforted with their plea that it was OK to not have it all together have been taken over with the cries to get your stuff together.
However, I am here to say that it will all be OK.
I will get rejected in my search for a job.
I will be let down by my expectations of where I am and where I want to be.
No matter how diligently we prepare, any path that we choose will have regret. My personal idea of success may not come overnight or even in the next several years.
No amount of preparation or money will permanently give me certainty. We are all simply in the process of living, which began long before graduation.
Wherever life takes us, our only enemy is the inability to change.
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 28, 2015 print edition of The Echo.
image via imallvirtual.com