Friday, May 16, 2014

After pomp and circumstance

I participated in graduation exercises last weekend. It was kind of surreal because I wasn’t a student anymore. I was a faculty member leading the way in full doctoral regalia. A friend of mind had commented that it was crazy to think it had been 10 years to the day we all graduated from college. I had no idea and the thought blew my mind. 10 years since college graduation? Seriously? In some ways, it felt like a lot had happened in my life. In other ways, it felt like I just blinked and I was in my 30s. How did I get here? Where did the time go?

Anyway, in typical commencement address fashion, the message was inspirational and it charged the graduating class to follow their dreams. Be open to possibilities. You never know where life will take you. You have a unique gift to share with the world. Blah, blah, blah. Don’t get me wrong. It’s all good stuff. I’m queen of inspiration, believe me. I just couldn’t help but notice that in addition to 10 years of gaining…uhm…maturity, I also gained a fair dose of cynicism. Life rarely ends up the way you expect.

Personally, I figured I’d be married with at least one kid in tow by now. I haven’t quite sealed the deal in the matrimony department though. Educationally, I knew I would go to grad school but never planned to get my doctorate. Now I have some big girl degrees and credentials behind my name that I only mention to highlight how weird it still is to me. I don’t have the six figure salary a lot of college grads want to make in their 30s. I do have a six figure loan debt, so go figure. I’ve met some awesome people and a whole lot of jerks. I’ve fallen in love and lost love. I’ve had a ton of crappy jobs and some impressive ones. I’d say I’m doing fairly well in life 10 years out of college. I’m thankful for my life thus far. But am I living my dream?


As I reflect on this year’s commencement, I feel like I received the same invitation as the class of 2014. I’m invited to consider the following questions: Am I doing what moves me? Am I living on purpose? Do I feel energized and renewed each day? Is my life fueled by passion and joy? Are there pockets of adventure amidst the daily routine? Is my soul truly satisfied or do I thirst for more? And if the pursuit of more (not money or things but soul satisfaction) requires me to deviate from the path of convention, do I have the courage to move anyway? These are the questions on my heart these days…questions that I hope will guide the next 10 years and allow me to say at the end of it, ‘I’m fulfilling my purpose and I’m truly alive.’


1 comment:

  1. This is great. I love the pictures. I remember wanting to call you Dr. Gambrell and you humbly declined. I love this blog because I am on a constant pursuit to fulfill my purpose and it is a challenging, yet joyous ride. It seems to be the air I breath. Great thoughts on having the courage to deviate from the conventional path. It's a scary thing, but it is probably also the most "freeing".