Graduations: Bookmarks in the Stories of Our Lives

A friend’s daughter is graduating from 8th grade next week.  As I asked her details about the event, she quickly corrected me and said, “It’s not graduation.  It’s promotion.”

[Promotion?!  How could someone who has never even had a job be ‘promoted’?]

She told me her mani/pedi plans, proudly showed me the dress she felt like a princess in (white top with a gold flecked skirt that was short, but not too short) and even more importantly, the shoes she was very excited to wear.  She tried on the 3” heels to show me how well she could walk in them.  Let me just say that I’m glad promotion is a few weeks away and she’ll have more time to practice walking in those shoes.  😉

The conversation got me thinking back to when I when graduated 8th grade.  I’m quite sure we had some sort of “graduation” ceremony…but I have no clue what we did.  High school graduation is a much clearer memory, with equal parts spent worrying about how to wear my hair and what I would say in a speech I had to give to the graduating class.  Fast forward to college and grad school completion and what I remember most clearly about the ceremonies is trying to figure out the logistics of family members who traveled long distances.

Though the memories of graduations are blurry at best, the years in which I graduated are as permanently etched in my mind as the year I was born, the year I got married and the years in which my children were born.  It’s as if my brain registered these graduation years as bookmarks in the story of my life.  These bookmarks, seemingly in bold font, allow me to more quickly retrieve entire chunks of past experiences.  Additionally, these bookmarks help me to quickly connect with others, “Oh, you went to Howell High School?  Me too!!!  Class of ’86.”

grad bookmarks

Poof!  The mere mention of 1986 causes my mind to drop the task at hand and leap back to that long forgotten time.  Suddenly, I am whisked back to a younger version of myself:  permed hair; glasses so large they could be used as plates; pants worn high above my waist.  I’m sitting on the school bus, fretting about a science test and wondering whether the decision of where to go to college would prove to be the right one.  I’m not positive, but I think Bongiovi was on the radio.

All that, just from mentioning the year I graduated.  Try it now…what year did YOU graduate?  I’m guessing your brain just flipped back to that year and high school memories are now flooding your thoughts. Bet you can ever hear the song playing on your AM/FM radio…

And so as these graduates celebrate their accomplishments and aspire to great things, let us smile and remember how powerful these milestones are and how they too will be creating a bookmark in the story of their lives.  Fingers crossed they can all walk in the shoes they selected for the ceremonies.

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