Graduation Season

Today we went to my niece’s graduation party. After missing her actual graduation due to our sweet, old cat Isis choosing the same night to pass away, I was happy we got to go. She is a good kid, even if she does strike that completely unnatural hand-on-hip-slightly-bent-kneed Kardashian pose every time there is a camera within a 20 foot radius. Oh to be 18 and filled with the potential of your whole life ahead of you instead of…well, not.

Her first summer of post-grad freedom reminds me so much of mine – a month of work, six weeks visiting relatives abroad and then back for her first days of college where she will hopefully meet one of her best lifelong friends in a History of Western Civilization class taught by some guy who looks like Hitler and is fond of muttering gems like “they all TOLD me not to teach at a community college” at random times during his lectures. Oh, the places she’ll go!

It was such great barbeque weather – perfectly sunny and breezy. Being the most awesome auntie ever, I got the graduate to tickets to go see her favorite performer (Drake) with a friend in September. I have no idea who he is, but he is apparently way cooler than either 80’s hair bands, Nirvana or even my early childhood Hardy Boy of choice, Shawn Cassidy, none of whom she recognizes. He is also way cooler than the Hanes cotton granny panties I threatened to get her, if she didn’t give me some clue as to what she would enjoy as a graduation present.

Of course, there were lots of cameras and pictures at the party. These days it only takes a nanosecond for whatever you’re doing to show up on Facebook. Typically, I try to stay on the business side of the camera, so there are not a lot of pictures of me floating around, but somehow I ended up in a group shot. And, oy, are my chins and I depressed after seeing what I look like in my uncomfortable with my body glory. It makes me want to cry, give up AND crack down on my diet all at the same time.

But then, I started thinking about how this has been a bit of a graduation year for me as well. I faced my worst fear – losing my job and somehow came out okay. I’ve made some significant changes in my diet and lifestyle. I’ve got a long way to go, but at least it’s an important start. Like life, it’s a process. So, instead of being depressed and loosing steam, I’ve decided to look at it as a “before” picture. A before where I was the awesome, kind, funny, creative, gentle, animal loving, bleeding heart of a person I am now; a before where I acknowledged that I was not living in a healthy manner and had the fortitude to do something about it.

And, I guess, if I had to give my young graduate friend a piece of advice, it would be the same advice I’d give to myself: Enjoy life, be open to new experiences, be willing to change when something isn’t working for you, rock on with your Kardashian posing self and let people take pictures of your happy smiling face for posterity, and, most of all, don’t be so hard on yourself.

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