Thursday, June 12, 2014

It Was 20 Years Ago Today (Here's to the Class of 1994)

June 12, 1994

With butterflies in my stomach & pink cheeks, I delivered Plymouth-Salem High School's graduation speech to the Class of 1994.  In the middle of it, I did the one thing that I had been
cautioned against doing.  The one thing that could ruin the whole operation.  You guessed it.

I cried.

I cried because, thus far, 1994 had been the best year of my life, and I couldn't imagine how it could ever get better than that.  I cried because my speech spoke of living in the moment & experiencing real & true & raw emotions as you feel them.  I cried because I saw my Mom crying from the third row.  I cried because my Best Friend and I were going to different schools.  I cried because I was an idealist, a poet, a lover of words & emotions, someone who felt everything deeply & personally.  I cried because I was a 17-year old girl.  I cried because I had realized that happiness & sadness are so often two sides of the same coin.  I cried because I just couldn't stop myself.

And now, here we are, 20 years later.

I am no longer an idealist.  Years of education, both personal & academic, have made me into a realist.  And sometimes even a cynicist.  I don't write poetry anymore.  Instead I am a (sometime) blogger who takes her baby to bars.  My Best Friend did go to a different school, and she now lives in a different city.  And she's still my Best Friend.  (Yay, Katie!) I still consider 1994 one of the best years of my life....along with 1995, 1999, 2001, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014.  It did get better.  And better.  And even better after that.  Living in the moment is a challenge for me. It doesn't come naturally like it did when I was 17.  But I strive to be present, to be where I am when I'm there & drink in all the moments, both good & bad.  I will always be a lover of words & emotions.  But I don't wear my heart on my sleeve any longer.  I have become guarded, someone that holds my cards pretty close.  I prefer to ask questions & learn about others rather than share my own story.  (Although, with a few glasses of wine, I can usually be persuaded to spill.)  I still cry when I see my Mom crying.  But instead of embracing it, I usually try to convince her to stop.
And I still know that happiness & sadness are often two sides of the same coin.  And I think that's why I am crying now.

Hugs & love to the Class of '94.  Twenty years ago, I wished you lives that were experienced through joyful & wondrous eyes.  Today, I wish you another 20 years that just keep getting better.  And better.  And even better after that.

P.S.  Crying never ruins anything.  Except maybe your makeup.