Last week I found myself in what it felt like being in two opposite extremes. First, early in the week, I had the pleasure to meet briefly with a high school classmate whom I haven’t seen in almost 20 years; and at the end of the week, I attended my nephew’s high school graduation.
Monday, over coffee, orange juice and apple pies, my friend and I caught up with each other’s lives. Then, we started to feel nostalgic about the old days and my friend said, “That’s why they (our classmates who live in Peru) are always having reunions, this is our time to remember.” I knew what he meant. Now that parenting duties were coming to an end and the kids were off to college, we could afford to meet and revel in the shared memories of our days in the classroom. I liked that, but his words also gave me a “done” feeling that somehow left a bitter aftertaste in my mind.
Fast forward to Saturday. I was seating among hundreds of proud parents, siblings, aunties and uncles, cousins, grannies, and friends. In front of us, on stage, there were 114 young people, brimming with excitement and the energy of being ready to take on the world. As in any commencement ceremony, there were funny moments and touching ones. But it is the valedictorian address that remains in my mind; actually, it is one single sentence that has stayed with me. She pointed out how often people had remarked to her that high school was the best years of one’s life. She turned to her fellow graduates and bade them, “Let’s not these be the best years of our lives.”
That was the simple reminder I needed. Let’s not these be the best years of our lives. Let’s have expectations, plans, dreams, goals and possibilities. Yes, even I who’s been out of high school for almost 30 years can and should live as if the best years of my life are yet to come. They can still be realized with these hands. It may be my time to remember but I’m not done. So now I have a little more spring in my footstep and even in my fingertips. I noticed it while I was working on my book today. I want the book to be great and perfect. But let’s not it be the best book I’ve ever written—not yet.
To my nephew and the Class of 2015, CONGRATULATIONS!