Yesterday was my last day of high school. Exams are finished, text books returned, lockers empty, and yearbooks signed. In 4 days, the class of 2010 will graduate, and EHHS will become our alma mater. We will be alumni. We will have finished playing Candy Land to begin playing Life.
It is so bizarre to look back over the last 4 years, and then further back even to kindergarten. Every day seemed to drag on, we couldn’t wait to grow up to become astronauts, doctors, race car drivers and princesses. Now, all I know is that the last 13 years have all but flown by, the wind leaving a scattering of report cards, photos and crayon drawings. There have been a few fantastic adventures, but the daily happenings are just as monumentous. I have learned an amazing amount, yet my knowledge amounts to nearly nothing as I anticipate graduating with my peers.
My life has straddled two entirely different centuries. I have lived in two decades. I watched the Twin Towers fall on television, and not ten years later saw the inaugeration of America’s first black president. I have lived in the advent of laptops, cellphones, iPods and texting. I have seen the chaos of the city and the simplicity of rural America. My generation is the generation that must answer the call of the nations: we must become engineers, doctors, lawyers and inventors. We must heed the call to serve as defenders whether we wear combat boots or sneakers and high heels. We have watched the news and seen heros and villians. We live in a time where students do not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, and yet there remain thousands who are dying on foreign soil because of their pledge. We are the generation of Facebook, MySpace and YouTube.
So you understand why, in some of the quiet moments, there is the fleeting longing for things to remain the same. To halt the process of growing up and moving out, to rewind and pause in a time when we were 5 and still watching Blues Clues. To when all that mattered was if it was raining outside and if we were allowed to have dessert. Therein lies the Peter Pan Syndrome: the wish for everything to stay the same, to fly off to Neverland with the aid of fairy dust. To the time of tree swings and skipping rope. To half-melted popsicles and fireflies caught in mayonnaise jars. To bedsheet forts hung from the clothesline, training wheels, and climbing trees. To watching Disney movies and playing with slinkies and etch-a-sketches. Toe socks, tomagachi, and cassette tapes.
But, close our eyes, take a deep breath and exhale. Open our eyes to see an enchanted memory of the past, and a sparkling future ahead. The world is new and open, full of opportunities for adventures and roads to Happily Ever Afters. So we hang up our robes, pick a class song and prepare for the shortest walk to the end of one of the longest roads.
And we still believe in fairy dust.