I still remember my high school graduation. I remember the short, white dress we had to wear underneath the graduation gown. I was worried. Not about the dress. I didn’t want my family to notice the tattoo on my leg I got with a fake ID. I snuck into my mother’s room to apply foundation while everyone was outside. That was the day I learned foundation comes in skin tones.
I remember the bustle and echo of the gym; screams from a different corner of the audience after each name.
Then I went to work.
True story. I forgot to ask for the day off. After graduation, I immediately rushed home to rip off the pantyhose and get dressed for my retail job. Blaring music as I drove down the highway, I went into work like it was any other day.
I don’t say that so you feel bad for me. It was my fault I was working, and I more than made up for celebrating at my college graduation. Trust.
I share my story because so many celebrations over the coming weeks will look entirely different than we imagined. I know that’s disappointing and hard to swallow. It seems like a curse, just like my untimely shift did back then.
Buried in all the frustration is an opportunity. I’ve only figured it out after surviving as many years since graduation as I lived before that day.
You get to slow down.
If I told my 17-year-old self to slow down, I’m confident she would have told me to shut the f*ck up. Still, listen to me.
Never again will you experience the world on pause like this; a world without a million expectations and places to be. You’re living in your world right now instead of a demanding society that insists you be something to fit into it.
Enjoy this moment as long as you can.
It took me over 17 years to know that rushing - to figure it out, be right, and get where I was going - has cheated me out of big celebrations in my life. Speed is not a success equivalent. Rushing never paid off; it only stole my joy. My urgency was never anyone else’s emergency.
So to the class of 2020, know this. You can’t predict the future. You can slow down and love your life for what it is. That lesson will serve you endlessly throughout your time here on earth.
Learning how to say goodbye with grace is also a valuable lesson and one I wrote about this week. If you forgot a gift for a new grad, I have something you could send below. Bonus: I’m also sharing an incredible one-time mastermind for this weekend. I have already learned a lot from the speakers just preparing for this meeting. I think a lot of you would love it.
Take care of yourself and don’t forget to slow down and celebrate.