It’s been a whole year since I walked across the stage at my graduation ceremony. I wasn’t actually keeping track or planning to remember, but watching parts of the video of this year’s grad reminded me anyway. And so, here I am, contemplating away.
Growing up is such a funny thing. When you’re young, there is nothing that you want more than to grow up and do all the things you see grown ups doing. You know, drink coffee, stay up late, drive a car, have a job and your own money, get married and have your own children. At least, that was what I wanted. I thought that growing up would be so much fun.
I remember a girl, probably about 16 or 17 at the time, saying to me once that it “was better to be a kid.” I was around 7 then so she was saying it to me. Of course, I didn’t agree because growing up seemed so much more exciting to me.
But then, I soon learned, as you grow older, that there is nothing that you want more than to fall back into the “old days” of swing sets and finishing school before lunchtime. Back then, when birthday parties and surprise treats and neighbourhood friends were the highlights of our days. Back then, when we dreamed of playing Barbies or drawing a big chalk house on the road once Math was finished. Back then, when life was simple, free, and happy. And as soon as we grow up, it seems we desire the things of yesterday, just as much as we once wished for the life of tomorrow.
Today, I think back on my grad ceremony and the desires of that day. I remember the beautiful purple gown with the crazy hoop skirt, made by an amazing friend and finished that morning. I remember the curly half-up-do, the gorgeous French nails done by my friend, and my sister’s make-up on my face. The desire to look as beautiful as I could be. I remember my friends and how dashing they were and how we all took loads of pictures in the garden. The desire for relationship. I remember the dinner and the picture boards and the speeches and the prom that I was so nervous for. The desire to do well. I remember having to lift up my skirt whenever I walked and getting sore feet by the end of the night. I remember saying good-bye and taking my hoop skirt off to sit in the car and riding home thinking about how beautiful the night had been. The desire to go back and relive the good moments and forget the bad.
But you know, I don’t want to go back. Not to May 24th, 2012. Or to last year. Or to ten years before. No, I want to go forward.
Because I have gone forward this year. I am a very different person than I was a year ago when I walked across the stage with a purple hoop skirt peeking under my grad gown. I have new desires, hopes, and dreams. And that is OK. It is good, in fact.
And I can look at the 900 or so pictures that my sister snapped and smile. I can remember and laugh, reminisce and not cry. Because that is a memory, along with every other day beyond this moment. It is beautiful in its own way and I will remember the beauty. And I wouldn’t want to go back because like we all thought when we were little — “growing up is good.”