Mark It Complete
I’ve donned a cap and gown four times in my life: graduating from kindergarten, grammar school, high school, and college. Wait a minute… I guess technically it’s three times because for my 8th grade graduation we wore tiaras, if you can picture that one. And now that I think of it, we didn’t get caps and gowns in high school either, so make that twice in my life, not four. Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that other than for advanced academic degrees, adults don’t get much opportunity to mark significant passages. Sure there are wedding ceremonies, baby showers, birthdays, and retirement parties but what about all the other noteworthy milestones that go by without any fanfare?
Don’t Skip the Ceremony
Have you recently made a significant transition, come through a difficult time, or accomplished a goal that was important to you? There is satisfaction in marking something complete. Pausing to reflect on what has transpired allows you to absorb what is there to be gained: insight into your life, an understanding of who you are and what you’re made of, an appreciation for the people you can count on, and perspective for the future.
There are times in life when you get to call a situation “complete” while other times you must accept that a certain part of your life has completed itself earlier than you would have liked or before you feel ready. Regardless, it is the acknowledging of the passage that is necessary for your growth and instrumental in moving forward. If you just rush to the next thing without noticing what has taken place, you risk missing the lesson and missing out on the chance to celebrate.
Frame Your Diploma
In a few weeks, two of my nieces are graduating. Olivia will mark the occasion by going to a water park with her 8th grade class and Brigid will don a cap and gown for her college graduation. Whether with pomp and circumstance or a silent noting in your heart, it is important to acknowledge the passages in your life.
Sometimes it is simply the act of declaring something complete that is needed to move on. Just this week as I was gathering my notes for this article, my client Shirley used the very same graduation metaphor. Saying she was just inches away from making a big move toward the career she always wanted, Shirley acknowledged that she was afraid to leave the security of the known and venture into the unknown. When I asked her what she needed to travel those last few inches, she realized it was simply this: “I guess I just need to give myself a graduation card.” Shirley commented on the go-for-your-dreams sentiment of graduation cards that we seldom receive after college. Don’t we still need to hear that message as adults? Do we really mean what we tell our graduates?
Don’t skip the ceremony or stuff your diploma in the back of some drawer. Go ahead and frame it. Give yourself a graduation card and cue the Pomp and Circumstance.
Here's to you,