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Front Page » May 21, 2013 » Opinion » It ain't going to be what you expect it to be
Published 871 days ago

It ain't going to be what you expect it to be

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This week a lot of local kids will be graduating from high schools in the area. Most are excited about the prospect of their futures after formal public schooling for 13 years. They long to be free and make their own decisions as they turn 18. They look forward to a life without restraint from anyone and anything.

So from an old guy, I want them to listen to one piece of advice.

It ain't gonna be what you expect it to be.

One of the debates in our society in recent years is whether people want to trade security for rights. In other words do we want life to be secure and safe, but have our basic freedoms infringed upon to do so.

Well high school graduation is a form of that same thing, except in reverse.

For over a decade these graduates have had their life pretty set, regimented and planned.

Now suddenly they are being sent out into a world of chaos, uncertainty and at times calamity.

The one certain thing about it?

It ain't gonna be what you expect it to be.

My high school graduation leaves me few memories, particularly about the graduation itself. I realize that 1970 is ancient history to these students who are matriculating this week, but don't you think I would remember something other than the fact it was hot in the gym where it was held and I was glad to get that black gown off afterward?

I am sure that many of my fellow graduates from that time do remember stuff about it, but I was bored silly.

School itself was a lot more fun than graduation. But then I think adults make you go graduation so that you realize it isn't going to be all milk and honey.

I do remember the day after my high school commencement though. I sat in the front room of my parents' house and realized that now I could do what I wanted. No more regimentation. Of course I was enrolled to go to college that fall and I did have a part time job that for the summer would be full time, but that was easy compared to what I had been through for most of my life. Right?

I think the hardest part for me was the social transition, going from seeing so many people I knew pretty well every day, to only seeing a few of them. There were very good friends in high school that I have never seen since that May night. They went away to other schools, moved to other states, started new lives.

Even some of my core friends, those closest tome me, ones I had done everything with, were gone within a few weeks. They went to school far away, went on church missions, moved for jobs. But the biggest mover of friends was marriage. Many got married right out of high school. Once married, they didn't seem to want much to do with a single guy. The truth?

It ain't gonna be what you expect it to be.

Life was never the same. Relatively care free youth was gone. No more summers off, lazing about. No more long Christmas breaks, no more holidays scattered amongst the days of the year. No more assemblies you could sluff with your friends and meet at the local burger joint.

Part of the joy of youth is the freedom you feel when you are out of school for the summer or holidays. Vacations and holidays from work have never, ever given me that same feeling. The facts?

It ain't gonna be what you expect it to be.

However, I am not trying to be a downer about graduation. There is a lot of positive to be said about determining your own direction. When you are young you need help following the right paths. These young people will become adults and they will find joy in that.

But what I am saying is that it will never be the same for them. Their old world will disappear into time. When the bells ring for the first day of school next fall they will either be in school somewhere else, working or doing something else. I remember that first fall after I graduated. I saw kids in the school zones as I went to work that day, the cars filling the parking lot at my old high school and the school buses on the streets.

It seemed weird and odd that I was no longer a part of that. Funny that I remember things about that day much more than I remember my graduation day. It's just as I said.

It ain't gonna be what you expect it to be.

Let's just hope each of our present graduates finds it to be better, not worse.

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May 21, 2013
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