Yesterday night I went to my brother’s high school graduation, which means that it’s been seven years since I graduated. Do you remember what it felt like to sit among all of your classmates and listen to esteemed facility yap and yap and yap about how the future is yours, about how proud they are of you, and most importantly about how much potential you have? In all honesty I thought watching my brother graduate would bring back such memories but it didn’t. It brought on anxiety and the inevitable revaluation of my life choices.
There I was, so young and impressionable, not entirely sure where I was headed but completely sure that it would involve the written word. I have many things to be proud of, many words that I’m happy to share, and yet all I can think about are the opportunities I let slip away. The ones I was too afraid to take, the ones that could have made my life a little bit different.
But I digress, graduations aren’t about fear. Graduations are about courage. They’re about new beginnings and new chapters. The Valedictorian at my brother’s ceremony ended his speech with something along the lines of:
“Everything you’ve ever done, ever thought, ever experienced, and ever felt, has led up to this moment in your life… you define the next moment… make it count.”
All I can hope for is that my brother makes his decisions with care but without fear. I hope that his hard work and dedication will lead him to whatever he desires. I hope that he’ll forget about what he “should” do and that he’ll follow his heart. I hope that he makes every moment count. I hope that he won’t let opportunities slip by him because of his insecurities or fear of change. If I’m honest with myself, the kid is a million times braver than me and I couldn’t be more proud. I might be older than him but I do look up to him (and not just because he’s 19 feet taller than me). I hope that I can borrow a little bit of his courage and make the next moments in my life the very best ones…