Yesterday I went to a graduation that was not my own, nor anyone I cared about. I was writing an article about it.
It was so strange, for many reasons. The first was that it was the first high school graduation I’d been to since graduating. I went to four in high school including my own, since I was in the orchestra and we played Pomp and Circumstance and etc. It seemed magical, because it was something I hadn’t accomplished yet.
Now, at 20, I’m both too old and too young to appreciate high school as something challenging. For me, right now, it’s something that people younger than me do every day. It’s something I already did. So listening to the speeches talk about the struggles and challenges they overcame…felt like exaggerations.
And yet…I remember my own time in high school. There were challenges. I overcame them, with great effort.
Graduating high school IS something to be proud of. It’s something to celebrate, and I realized that as I left.
The other reason it was strange, though, is that I felt like I was intruding. Everyone was so happy. Everyone remembers their graduation, for one reason or another, and I felt like I was intruding on that memory, somehow. I was probably the only person at the place who didn’t live in that town, or at least was related to someone who was. It felt so wrong.
I think it was a way of me realizing how minor everything is. Their graduation meant the world to them and nothing to me. My graduation meant nothing to them and the world to me. No matter what I or anyone else does, there will be people–most people, in fact–who won’t give a damn.
That thought, like graduation itself, is bittersweet.