This one is for all my 2019 seniors graduating in the coming days.
Maybe you have big plans for your life. Maybe you have no earthly idea where you want to go from here. Either way, you’re being hurled into the next phase of life with a hug, a pat on the back, and some vague idea of who you might want to be when you grow up.
I know it feels scary, exciting, and insane all that the same time. But, as someone who’s been through it, let me tell you: you don’t have to have it all figured out. Right when we start to think we have everything figured out is when life starts showing us we’re not the ones in control.
When I graduated, I thought I wanted to be a speech pathologist. Well, I told people I wanted to be a speech pathologist, but I really just picked something because I didn’t know what I actually wanted to do and was tired of telling people I had no idea. I graduated, started college, discovered I liked business classes, and my future plans went a completely different direction. I was sure I’d get my degree, get a job, and spend the rest of my life climbing the corporate ladder until I was some kind of important boss lady who wore power suits and heels every day.
Now, I smile and shake my head in disbelief that that was once my dream. I realize now that that dream came from a place of desiring prestige and wanting everyone to view me as successful. My dreams today are vastly different, but they’re lined up with what truly makes my soul smile, and I think that means these are the ones that’ll stick around.
So, if I could give you a piece of advice as you take these next steps into adulthood, it’s this: pay attention to what makes your heart happy. Not just in the moment, but deep down. For me, it’s empowering and serving people. It’s making them feel beautiful and like they could conquer the world. It’s feeling the fulfillment of working hard and giving my clients the very best I can give them. Back then, I had no idea that the best way to do those things was with a camera in hand, but now I couldn’t imagine a different life.
So, sweet graduate: Trust God and stay open to the opportunities that come your way. Do the things you know for sure to be good: be kind, love each other well, and laugh as much as you can - the other stuff might not go exactly as you’ve planned it, but this new, unexpected direction might be greater than anything you could've laid out for yourself. 5 years from now, whether you look back and smile at all the hard work you’ve put into your high school dreams, or laugh at the path you thought you were going to take, soak up every second of the years to come. You’re going to do amazing things!
*do small things with great love*