For the grads of 2021

I’m late in posting this to my blog this year, I know.

In reality, other writing has taken priority over updating this blog in recent years, but I do know that former students have stopped by in the past to read or re-read these end of year thoughts, and in a year of inconsistency, these parting thoughts are something you can count on. So, if you’ve stopped by — even if you graduated five or twenty-five years ago, and I was never your teacher at all — these thoughts are still for you.

We’re all just humans figuring out this world together and, if nothing else, I hope my musings remind you of that.

(But also, if you are a former student? How are you?!)

Dear grads of 2021,

As I sit to write my annual parting thoughts, I’m tired. Exhausted, really, after a year plus of uncertainty and change. We’ve all had to adapt, and adjust, and jump through hoops that were both flaming and in motion. So, you may not be getting my absolute best with these parting thoughts. They may not be witty, or even well-structured. But they are earnest. Heartfelt.

They’re my best intentions, if you will.

You’ve probably heard that word a lot throughout your school journey. Best. “Do your best,” maybe. “I want to see you best work,” probably.

It may have even been thrown at you as a question: “Is this the really your best?” or the dreaded not-actually-a-question-but-makes-you-question-everything, “You can do better.”

Because the truth is, some days, you can’t.

Our “best” is in constant flux. What we can do one day, we can’t always do the next. And that’s okay.

It’s human.

We aren’t machines. We aren’t made to consistently replicate the same set of functions and reach a predictable end. If we were, wow, would sports be boring.

Instead, we’re an conglomerate of thoughts, feelings, and drive, all packaged in a pretty fallible human form, easily influenced by sleep, nourishment, or any of those previously mentioned thoughts, feelings, and drives. Add to that the sheer volume of external inputs we receive on a minute-by-minute basis and, well, results may vary.

But variety is good! It’s the salt, pepper, turmeric and cumin of life. We often know and accept that truth when it comes to the people we hang out with, or the media we consume, but we need to accept in our outputs and contributions, too.

If you want to do your best, and you put in the most you’re capable of in that particular environment, at that particular moment, you’ve done it.

It may not be your personal best. It may not even be the best you’ll be capable of that day. But that doesn’t mean that you haven’t done your best.

Humans aren’t stagnant. We advance. Retreat. Do-si-do and moonwalk. And so does our capacity to produce, well, anything.

So, these parting thoughts aren’t my personal best. I’m sure I’ve been more insightful, eloquent, and encouraging in previous years, but I’m not in competition with the person I was on those previous days, in those previous years. I’m me, today. And I’ve done my best.

I hope that in the years to come, you’ll do yours, too.

Mes meilleurs voeux pour l’avenir,

Mme MacKenzie