Graduating Into The Open Ocean Of Life

 

It’s that time of year when college students graduate into the open ocean of life.  That big sea of uncertainties, what-if’s, how’s, why’s and what-do-I-do-now’s?…

Young women and men who have been in college for several years and that day comes when they are finished.  It’s over.  Done.  They do the walk, shake the hand, get the diploma and are now faced with the rest of their lives.

“What are we going to do with it???”  It’s big and scary and filled with unknowns, that ocean is.

Some graduates already know what awaits them.  An MBA, medical school, law school, travel or, “I just want to work for a little bit to see what I want to do”, and then hope they can find a job.

There are so many paths, opportunities, goals.  But when you are young and don’t really know precisely what you want to do with your life, the pressure is on to come up with an idea of where you want to go and then navigate your way to it safely.

“I need to feed myself, but I want to do something that helps humanity at the same time.”  Some don’t want to simply go out and make money, they want to make a difference in the world.  Politics?  Maybe.  Serve my country?  That’s a possibility.

“Do I really want to do what my parents did”?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

On June 9, 2019, I watched my son do the walk, shake the hand and get the diploma.  I listened to Yo-Yo Ma give his commencement speech and high five the audience.  I looked at the faces of all the graduates and felt hopeful that they will all find their way and that they will be patient with themselves as they swim into life’s big ocean.

One thing I’ve learned during my time here is that you cannot force life to conform to you.  You can have an idea and a goal, steer yourself onto a particular road, but then you need to allow life to come to you, show you the things that align with who you really are, your unique talents, abilities and passions and then let circumstances develop.  Look for the signs, suggestions, open and closed doors and listen to what life is telling you.

My greatest wish for my son and all college graduates is that they be kind to themselves and aware as they continue on their journeys.  That life ocean is big, but it is filled with wonder and opportunity if you allow it to come to you.

 

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