I remember it so clearly. The day was perfectly beautiful. Not too hot. Not too cold. The sun was shining brightly as I sashayed across the stage, dressed in a black robe and a ridiculous cap with a tassel dangling over the edge and swinging just centimeters from my eye. And now that I think about it . . .that tassel was more like a pendulum, ticking away the seconds till I realized . . . .
I. KNEW. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING!
They train you in college to have all the answers. When you have your final exam, you better have all the answers or those last four years were a complete waste of money and time. Earning a certificate or whatever final credential you need to enter your chosen career? Better know all the answers! First interview? Must have THE answers. First day on the job? Answers. Buying your first car? Answers! Renting an apartment? Answers. No idea what your next step in life is going to be? BETTER FIND THE ANSWER QUICK!
Oh yes, how I remember that fateful day. Dr. Brown handed me my coveted diploma and although I saw it as a “we are all so proud of you” smile, I quickly realized it was most likely more of a “you are such a sucker” smirk. I remember grasping that folder, clutching it to my chest, and turning to descend the steps, giving my best “I did it, Mom” wave to my family and then stumbling back to my seat, just in time to catch myself before fainting completely.
Just when I had finally learned how to balance life . . .after all, that balance was all about timing the end of the wash cycle with the commercials during General Hospital, right? And I knew how to cook for myself. Ramen noodles and canned peaches for dinner, anyone?? And I knew all about budgeting. . . .I had gas in my car, beer in my fridge, and just enough change to get me to the beach on weekends.
Life was perfect and the world was my oyster! Until that fateful day.
I find myself remembering that day now because I am currently surrounded, on an almost daily basis, by those “I know it all – don’t need to tell me twice – I’m all that AND a bag of chips!” kind of young people. And I want to tell them that they really know absolutely nothing.
I want to tell them that life is so much more than balancing the charging of their cell phones while still being “in the know” with the latest Twitter trend or Facebook update. I want them to truly understand that a healthy lifestyle is not just choosing FROYO over DQ or a “gym sesh” over an episode of housewives. And for the love of God, I want them to know that three real and true friends are so much more of a boundless blessing than 3,000 virtual ones.
Today as I sat listening to a young lady lament the fact that she had to “work from 9 – 12, go to class till 2:30 and then back to work till 5”, I hope I was sitting there with my best “we are so proud of you and the hard days you conquer” look as my head was screaming to her, “you are just one more in the line up of suckers, Honey, and although you’re going to be fine, it won’t be long before you realize YOU KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!”