18 years later...

I totally said that title in the SpongeBob announcer voice, btw (sorry, I'm a mom).

My niece graduated from high school today. My high school, on the same exact day that I did 18 years ago (the year this song came out and was played incessantly). She was born in '99, and she was only a few months old when I graduated. How bananas is that...B-A-N-A-N-A-S. She looked absolutely flawless, and I'm so proud of all that she's accomplished. I can't wait to see what the future holds for her.

I remember sitting on the same field she sat today, and because of the person I am - the person I have always been - I remember thinking how bittersweet it all really was. Those last few months of my senior year were especially happy and warm. It felt like everyone realized our time in those halls were coming to a close and we were all that much nicer to each other, reveling in our friendships and connections.

More than anything, I remember feeling surprised at how fast time had passed, and I was appreciative of the fact that it would only pass even more quickly as I got older. I was sad even then in the realization that we were adults now, and it was time to be serious. If I could meet my 18 year-old self today, I would hug her extra tight, because if she had known what her twenties had in store for her, she might just have crumbled right on that field. I have a soft spot for that young girl who was so naive and inexperienced.

Kristen isn't that girl, though.

No, my niece is the walking definition of the words strength, gumption, and resilience. I had to work to (hopefully) be but a shadow of those things, but she is already that person at a mere 18 (and quite honestly, long ago). Her life hasn't been easy, but she knows who is she is, what she's about, and she doesn't take anyone's shit. Question her on that last part, and you'll be sorry you did. I admire her for it, and we all could take a lesson from her book.

Both the valedictorian and salutatorian gave great speeches, but #2 was more captivating in her message, which was about being humbled and knowing that success and failure go hand in hand. I was so impressed that this girl 'gets it' at her age, and we could all learn from her, as well. It brought to mind the essay "Wear Sunscreen," which was a hypothetical commencement speech written by Mary Schmich - listen here.

More than anything, look around, be grateful for what you have, try your best, and cherish every moment. The years go by really fast.

current playlist

Scorpions - Wind of Change
Go West - King of Wishful Thinking
Vitamin C - Graduation (had to)
Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl
Prodigy - Firestarter
Mobb Deep - Quiet Storm
Blu Cantrell - Hit 'Em Up Style
Pink - Most Girls
Blackstreet - No Diggity


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