It's a long haul for older but wiser woman
The season of graduation is upon us. No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks. I am not a teacher by profession, but I have held many positions in which I work with young adults (or older teenagers if you will). They are a mi...
The season of graduation is upon us. No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks.
I am not a teacher by profession, but I have held many positions in which I work with young adults (or older teenagers if you will). They are a mixed lot, just like any segment of society.
Not too long ago, I was confronted by a particularly vocal young woman who apparently has everything in her life figured out and needs no help from somebody with previous experience. She answered each of my queries with "Got that covered," before I could even finish the question.
She needs no guidance on job interviews because she has secured every job she's applied for -- two. She needs no suggestions on how to polish her presentation (first impressions you know) because she has spoken in front of an audience and she knows all that stuff -- she just doesn't like it.
Her future is entirely secure because she is joining the service after she graduates. An admirable goal. I'm assuming she believes (because I grew weary of trying to ask her questions she wouldn't let me finish) that our government is currently stable and safe enough to provide her with everything she will ever want or need.
It's OK. I know that I, too, once thought I had the world by the tail -- though I can emphatically state that I was never as flippant and rude as this young woman. Still, it's OK because even though she thinks she knows it all, and I really know she doesn't, life will do a bang up job of making it all too clear.
Some day she will be 50-plus, like me. She will have experienced love and heartbreak many times, because even when your are fortunate enough to stay with your first love for the rest of your life, you still break each others hearts in various ways both big and small
She will have won more jobs, or assignments, and she will have lost some. She will have lost many of the friends she now holds so dear -- to time, distance and death.
Perhaps she will have raised children. If so, she will experience the highest and most pure love that exists in this world, and she will also have experienced greater depths of heartbreak -- in ways she can't begin to imagine.
She will know what true fear is when she must let her children go -- out into the world to cross the street, to make friends, to go to school, to live life -- because life is fraught with very real dangers and you can't watch your kids 24/7.
She will better understand her parents and she will have more respect for them than she imagines possible. Or, if not, at least she will have arrived at a peaceful existence with them. Hopefully this will happen before they die.
I hope that she will not yet have suffered the loss of a sibling, as I have. I hope that she will never bury a child of her own, like my husband and I have.
Some day life will have made her older and truly wiser and only then will she realize how totally clueless she is now. She may even wonder why some adult didn't smack her upside the head for the way she is acting.
That much I will explain to her now. It is because in her we see who we were.
We see the idealism of youth that took us places the cynicism of old age never will.
We see her unbridled enthusiasm and know that its loss will close many doors that once were easily opened. We see her bravado and appetite for new experience (even if it is somewhat off-putting), and know that without it she will never survive in a dog-eat-dog world.
She reminds us what it's like to believe anything we dream is possible and everything we work at can be accomplished.
To her and all the young men and women like her, congratulations on your graduation. Go get 'em!
Judith Liebaert was raised in Superior and now lives in rural Douglas County. She blogs on-line as the Mad Goddess™. Send your comments or story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org .