To a writer, the impact of an event is significant to our craft. Based on this effect, we word sculpt a rendering of it in our minds, then record it in our journals, on our blogs, in letters, as poetry, use it in writing projects, or in some other written form we store it as a keepsake. It is a reminder of the way we saw it happen. It also provides research from which to draw at intervals along our writing journey. Over the course of our career, we have opportunity to experience many events; we meet people who have a purpose in our life; we have also heard the adage “write what you know.” Memories from events that happen to us, or with us, or around us and people we meet for a “reason, a season, or a lifetime” are the basis for this knowledge.
While attending a graduation ceremony the other night, a myriad of thoughts passed through my mind, but as a writer I was drawn to the words spoken throughout the night. They were given as accolades to the accomplishments of the year; they were shared as encouragement to fledgling citizens about to embark on the next steps of their journey; they were confirmation that the expected, although a long time in coming, was now upon us and would soon become a memory. Hearing these words, not only allowed me to reflect on the current situation – Sabrina’s graduation ceremony – it naturally expanded in my mind to encompass the graduating class and those around me; it took me back to my own daughter’s commencement in 2003, and ventured further back to my own in 1975. Those words of encouragement given were not unique to the night even though their focus was on this school, this class, this year…
The universality of the message directed to these grads focused on today and what was truly important to them, yet those same words have been delivered to every class and every year, past – and will certainly be delivered to future classes with the same bravado. They did, however, single out this event’s importance in the passage of time. They recorded it as not just a beginning, but also an end. The experience would be happy and bittersweet, the outcome expected and unexpected, its completion freeing and overwhelming, its direction planned yet unknown. The future holds in store the same offering as it did, and will, for everyone – dreams are out there to be discovered, even if in the asking you don’t know quite what they are yet. The success of one’s future will be based on what you gain from your experience and all is dependent upon the choices you make. Memories and experience, good or bad, are created with each passing.
Significant events and people we encounter during our life provide the basis for memories. Some memories we covet fondly, bringing them out to experience their joy, over and over again. Sad memories are also held within that reservoir although we much prefer to keep them covered and hidden. It may seem, in retrospect, that we hold on to them with as much reverence as we do the happy ones. However bad their recovery, they create a connectedness we are sometimes reluctant to release.
Reference was made to a graduation speech that defined the friendship you have with yourself as being the most important relationship to invest in and foster. After all, you will spend each and every day with you. If you are not your best friend and truly love yourself, you will be spending a lot of time with someone you don’t like. Is that the basis of a good relationship? Everyone, not only new graduates, needs to discover the person they are, and in that process, like that person. Who you are is not defined by what you have; it is based on the contribution you make to the greater good and the legacy you leave behind.
The world can be overwhelming, scary, confusing – little comfort is gleaned from the fact that others have gone the way before you – your concerns, your dreams, your direction, your story – is your own and no one can tell you the best path to take. Whether a new graduate, a life veteran, or a writer working on a story, the world is your oyster – take the pearl, learn from the experience, and create your own jewel to pass along.