Monday, March 1, 2010

Digging through an old box of photos, I stumbled across this snapshot, taken (yikes!) almost 34 years ago. It is the female half of my graduating class (go ahead, laugh now, I'll wait).

Okay, now that you've had a chuckle at the size I've my school, I'll continue.

What struck me so much about the picture is that I remember that moment with such clarity. I remember that moment and the fear and anxiousness that accompanied it. We all thought that we needed to have a plan about the rest of our lives at that moment, and we all thought that we were the only one who was feeling this pressure. Here we were at the ripe age of 17 or 18 and the world expected us to be mature enough to make life-long decisions. We were expected to choose a career path, a college, figure out how to pay for it and move forward. Or, for some of us, we were expected to choose a husband, make a home, raise babies. Others found jobs including one who elisted in the military. But the sad part is the pressure we were under to KNOW. What 17 year old kid KNOWS what they want from life? Heck, here I sit at 51 and still wonder!!

And when I look at this group of young women, I am shocked at the potential that was there, that none (or few) of us realized. Most of the girls in my class were good students, we had several that were very competitive academically and the rest were no slouches. Most were country girls who were not afraid of anything and understood the farm-taught-values of hard work and spending Sunday morning on your knees thanking God for your blessings. And now that I look at us on that day I realize that we could have accomplished ANYTHING. We were smart enough, strong enough, determined enough that we could have hit this world with a force that would have been unstoppable.

Instead, we all thought we were the only one that was confused, afraid, undecided, apprehensive. So we made only small reaches that were safe. Not that any of us are big losers... we've all done well for ourselves, but I have to believe that we could have all done much more, been happier, and made a greater impact on our society if we had just known that it was the perfect time to try and to fail. To risk it all when you had so little to risk. To make the leap while the fall was survivable. We had SO MUCH going for us and never knew it.

So, your mission is to grab the ear of every young woman (and man) in your life and remind them of these things. Tell them that everyone is undecided and that is OK. Don't stress over picking a major. Don't think that all the good catches will be married by the time you are 20. Make the focus trying and learning from failures rather than making the focus "pick a path and stick to it." Even if you can't convince them, at least they will remember you 34 years from now.

No comments:

Post a Comment