Trent Ernst, Editor
In case you missed it, grad is happening this year, despite the fact that it looks like the last two weeks of school are being scrubbed. So, yay grads!
There’s a concept out there, which, I am ashamed to admit is quite popular amongst the Oprah Winfrey’s of the world, called psychological age.
The theory, in a nutshell, is that someone’s psychological age is how old one feels, acts, and behaves, and is thus not necessarily equal to chronological age.
A person can have a psychological age that exceeds their chronological age if they are mature or at least feel older than they really are. Or, someone can have a psychological age that is younger than they are.
A very few might be lucky enough to have a psychological age that is equal to their chronological age.
I, for instance, am firmly stuck in my late teens, despite the appearances to the contrary.
This means that all the baggage I was carrying with me right around the time I graduated, I still carry with me. So I still have a deep and abiding fear of the opposite gender, I still sit on the sidelines at dances, and the thought of trigonometry causes me to break out in a cold sweat.
It also means that every year about this time, I start to get all starry-eyed as I remember my own graduation.
It was late June in Saskatchewan, in the small prairie town that I had grown up in, and it was hot. Stupid hot. I was wearing the first suit I had ever owned in my life. And I was sweating like a pig.
(Now, when I was in grade 8, I had swiped my brother’s white sports jacket and worn that for most of the year, but I wore it over top jeans and a lime green dress shirt that was two sizes too small that I thought made me look a little like Don Johnson in Miami Vice, but actually made me look like a…well, like a nerdy teen with oversized glasses wearing clothes that didn’t fit him. But this was the first full-on suit that I had ever owned. I still looked like a dork.)
I remember that we had each had to get up and introduce the next person on stage by telling the audience what that person would be doing in the future. I had to introduce the prettiest girl in the class, so rather than go and ask her what her plans were, I just made crap up. It got a laugh. I was good.
Afterwards, nearly all the grads had open houses, and people drove from house to house to say congratulations and have some (hopefully) non-alcoholic punch before driving off to say the same thing to the next grad.
One of the groups who came over was my best friend’s sister and her best friend. Now, I had carried a torch for her since grade 8, but the conversation we had that evening (which was basically, “congratulations!” “Thank you!”) was probably the most words I had ever exchanged with her. (Did I mention that girls scared me?)
While we were talking (and the conversation couldn’t have lasted more than a couple minutes), one of my family (time has obscured in my memory who it was) decided to break out the camera.
I, feeling uncharacteristically confident, turned to face the camera, and placed my elbow on her shoulder. It doesn’t sound like much, but that was about as much physical contact I’d ever had with a girl before, and there is was, preserved for all eternity. A few years later, she got married to someone else, and a few years after that, she was killed in a car crash.
Which is to say that life will take some unexpected turns as we move through it, and not all of them for the better.
So, on the eve of graduation, I would like to offer the grads (and all of us), a bit of advice: live life now, because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring you. Crack open life’s bones and suck the marrow. Don’t be afraid to take chances because each chance not taken is an opportunity lost. And yes, I am speaking from a lifetime of looking back at lost opportunities. Of looking back and wondering what might have happened if I had overcome my fear, not just of girls, but of failure, of success, of taking risks.
So take risks. Even if they scare you. Especially if they scare you. Not the risk of driving home drunk after the grad party. That’s just stupid. But risk love. Risk making a fool of yourself. Risk your pride and gamble with your emotions. Chase your dreams and follow your heart and don’t be afraid to ask the prettiest girl in the room to dance. You never know; she might say yes.