I attended my younger sister’s high school graduation a few weeks ago, and though it was very beautiful, there was one thing that really stuck out to me—the music selection—songs with lyrics of ‘now I say goodbye,’ and ‘I might never see you again,’ and ‘the time of our lives is almost up.’
These lyrics struck me as strange, and even depressing.
I mean, first of all, why goodbye? It’s not like you’re dying. You are going to spend an entire three-month summer with these kids and then you’ll have holiday breaks, school reunions, even friendships that will last throughout the college years.
I’ll never see you again? Really?? You’ll see them in, like, ten minutes at Chipotle getting a pre-game meal for the party tonight.
And The time of your lives is almost up??? What!? You’re seventeen and eighteen-year-olds…and the time of your lives is almost up??! This is the best you’re going to get? This is it??
As I sat there in the audience, I kept repeating to myself, No. No. NO!
I wanted to interrupt the music and hug every senior. Yes, these are some wonderful times—Homecoming dances, football games, drama, meeting your first best friends, going on dates, seeing all the scary movies at midnight, sleepovers, shopping trips, sneaking out, going to prom—but this isn’t the best you’re going to get.
Don’t worry, you’ll never forget high school. Ask any adult and their eyes will glaze over and they’ll get all nostalgic for their teen years. Those years will always be a part of us.
But college years? Post-college years? Falling in love? Starting a real job? Traveling? Getting married? Moving into a real house? Having kids? Those are even more memorable.
Listen seniors: This isn’t the best it’s going to be.
You’re going to go to college, to the workforce, to the army, to whatever the heck you’re getting into and you’re going to make a hell of a lot of memories.
You’re going to meet people that are far more complex than the people you grew up with. You’re going to join clubs and groups and music/theatre/sports teams that change the way you live your life. You’re going to be challenged and encouraged. You’re going to learn and grow.
You’re going to fall in love and get your heart broken and become a completely new and stronger person than you ever were.
You’re going to realize the importance of childhood friends and family members. You’re going to laugh and cry and eat too much and think about life way too deeply.
You’re going to be afraid and lonely. You’re going to miss home and high school. And then you’re going to learn how to fit into a new place and feel more at home than you’ve ever been.
You’re going to make new memories and have experiences you never imagined.
You’re going to one day look back on these next few years and smile, because they will be the best time of your lives.
So throw your cap in the air and hold your diploma proudly.
You’ve made it this far. And the best is yet to come.