After sitting through two hours of commencement and receiving my empty diploma holder, the fact that I had completed four years of college hadn’t set in yet. It wasn’t that exciting, I didn’t feel this overwhelming sense of accomplishment, and I didn’t feel as if I had come to an end. It was over, but it didn’t feel over.
Later that night a couple of friends and I decided to celebrate and went to Thunderhead. I’ve never been a bar crawler and never plan to begin, so this gathering was, supposed to be, a meeting of minds over Thunderpunch and beer. I didn’t expect, nor did I realize that I needed, to see so many of the friends that I have made over the past four years. It was the farewell that I desperately needed.
As the night continued on, congratulations were said, the future was talked about, and the past reminisced as we sat and stood in the crowded bar. Slowly, as some left and others arrived, I began to see the end of this chapter in my life. We were all going separate ways. It would be one of the last times that I would see many of the people I’ve met over the last four years.
Throughout the night, I didn’t feel sad, though now I do. It’s a good sad. The sad that happens when a beautiful thing has come to an end. As the finality of that night has washed over me, I see that endings are a marvelous thing. They allow new starts and fresh perspective. They force you to step out of your comfort zone and start over. The future can be terrifying, but exhilarating.
It’s very much like a roller coaster in that aspect. As you come to the beginning of a new chapter, it’s a slow ascent. You brace yourself because as with every roller coaster, your going to drop fast. But after that initial leap, the new chapter becomes adventurous. You raise your hands and let out the scream of a lifetime because you inherently know that nothing will ever feel quite like this again.
Endings are wonderful things. As sad as they are, the are necessary. And as my time at the University of Nebraska at Kearney has come to a close, I see that I must continue on. I must take life for the adventure that it is and live in the moments given to me, because if I don’t, then the memories will fade away throughout the years. I’ll forget and in the end forget how far I’ve come. And the memories won’t be the stories to entertain my children and grandchildren, they will be lost.
We shouldn’t lose the crazy stories that make us who we are. While we meet new people, fall in love, and experience pain, our past is what we have. While it doesn’t define who we are, it’s shaped where we are. I don’t want to forget the friends I’ve made and the stories we’ve written together. I will miss them terribly, but I know that there are so many more memories waiting to be written. I don’t plan on forgetting my pen.