Suddenly, four years of studying, late nights, new friends, laughter, stress, credits, classes, and copious amounts of coffee came together into one moment.
30 seconds to walk across the stage, shake a couple hands, and return to my seat, a graduate of Iowa State University. Somehow, I didn't believe it then. And I almost don't believe it now.
Maybe it's because I'm still in Ames for the summer, finishing up my second degree by completing an internship with Preservation Iowa. Maybe it's because I still get to see some of my friends, that I haven't had the 'final'
I'm on the edge of entering the 'real world' for real, but I'm still teetering on the edge of the cliff, waiting for something (or someone) to push me over the edge, or to finally have the courage to fall of my own accord.
Don't get me wrong - I'm totally stoked to be a graduate.
Getting out into the 'real world' is as exciting as it is scary, and I do think I will be successful. It's just the fear of the unknown that has often clouded my spontaneity setting in again, zapping my confidence and making me long for summers back home when I was a child, when life was simpler.
Thankfully, I am still able to return home from time to time to recharge my spirits on the freedom of just being at home. And in going home, in talking with my mother, my father, even my sister (via skype), in seeing my friends and their current stance on life convinces me that I can succeed. I will find an place to start my life as a graduate. And coming to this realization requires me to stop planning.
Not that I'm a long term planner - I have no 5 year plan, no absolute 'must do' list in my life. I just find comfort in knowing where things are going. Spontaneity is wonderful and crazy, but I only thrive on that in short bursts. Long term - I need a plan, an understanding of where things are going. I keep telling myself that wherever I get my first job is NOT necessarily where I will be the rest of my life. Rather, it's the first step in a series steps to help me continue to grow into the person I'm meant to be.
But the beautiful thing about this life is that it is spontaneous. It's supposed to be full of surprises, those unexpected twists and turns that bring the highest highs (and lowest lows) that make life beautiful. And the only way to fully and completely receive the beautiful life to relinquish total control. Like a lot of other people, I like to have control of my life, of the places I go, the things I do, etc. I feel comfortable when I'm in control. Yet, having this control means I'm limiting myself, closing myself off from opportunities that might be the perfect avenue for my new life.
"I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me"
~ Philippians 4:13
One of my friends from Girl's Camp gave me a bracelet with this scripture written on it. It's one of the few things I never take off. Instead, it stays on my left wrist as a constant reminder that even when I'm not in control, I can still "do all things."
I don't know where I'll be when I leave Ames at the end of July, if I'll have a full time job, if I'll be living back at home and substitute teaching, if I'll be traveling many miles to a completely new and unthoughtof opportunity. But that's the beauty of life, right? The mystery, the suspense, the unknown that eventually brings us to our rightful home.