For the grads of 2020

Well, grads of 2020, the year is over.

And what an end it’s been.

There are a lot of folks out there saying that your grad class is special – that you’re unique, and are forging a new path, and that you’re going to have stories to tell that nobody else does. And as well-meaning – and as right – as those people may be, they aren’t the ones who have spent thirteen years of their lives looking forward to events that now aren’t going to happen.

For so many years, the end of grade 12 was this mythical place of commencement, and grad, and I don’t know, poorly planned pranks. You’ve been rolling toward this end for most of your lives, and then…

That progression just stopped.

And, well, it never really started again. Which is heartbreaking, and annoying, and probably makes you want to kick something.

But maybe it’s also an opportunity.

Sometimes, when we’re focused on a goal – whether that be commencement, prom, or anything else not quite in reach – that’s all we see. We become so focused on where we’re trying to go that we don’t pay attention to where we are. And I have to wonder what we miss out on if we’re so used to looking ahead that we forget to look side-to-side.

So while my end-of-year messages to grads are typically about the future, this one is different. This is about your present. The future is coming, of course, and trying to block out that reality would be futile. But it’s not here yet, and you are. Here. And where you are right now is just as important as where you would someday like to be.

Wherever you may be physically and emotionally, slow down and acknowledge it. I’m not going to say enjoy it, or even to appreciate it, because sometimes where you are isn’t where you’d choose to be. But each day that makes up your life forms, well, you. And you’re the constant in that variable future you can’t quite plan for as solidly as you could only months ago.

While it’s daunting that none of us know what we’re in for in the next while, it’s also kind of liberating. You have the chance to get to know yourselves free from the timelines and events that would normally influence your decisions. You get to plan your days one at a time, rather than your entire lives all at once.

When it comes down to it, your days are your lives. And you’re living them in every second of the hours that divide the week.

So, no. I’m not going to talk about the future. This is about the present. It’s about acknowledging this moment of it. Then the next.

The next.

The next…

Until the future that’s so unknown becomes your present, and you become, well. You.