This is part of a weekly series I’m writing in 2016 to focus on one of my three words for the year: beauty. At the start of nearly every week a post will explore some aspect of beauty that I’ve been considering. Read more about my focus words of the year.
This past weekend my youngest sister graduated from college. Next weekend the seniors I teach will be graduating from high school. As I’ve talked to my sister and these students I realized all of them have a similar reaction – excitement and fear.
The excitement is a given. They are moving on to other things, starting a new chapter, beginning a new adventure, paving a new path – and all the other cliche things one could say about graduation.
But there is a heavy and perhaps healthy dose of fear too. Fear that they are ending this chapter of their lives. Fear that they need to begin adulting. Fear that they are leaving family and friends behind. Fear that they are making the wrong choices when it comes to careers and colleges. Fear of not being ready for this next life moment. Fear of failure. Perhaps even fear of success.
But just like when reading a book, there is beauty to finishing off a chapter and flipping the page to start a new one. I suppose you would call that the beauty of the unknown. The beauty of the adventure before you, with all of its unforeseen twists and turns and road blocks.
Why is it beautiful? Because it’s unwritten and being composed as life moves forward. There is no cut-and-dry formula to plug life into. There is no easy way to the top, easy path to take. Life is complicated and messy at times and the beauty comes in how we handle each and every situation. We choose to bring the beauty to it or we choose not to.
How so? Well, let’s say the college years of life have just closed. We’ve flipped the page and begun a new chapter – the young professional years. Those will probably begin with endless amounts of resumes being sent, informational interviews, and stress while we hope and pray for a job. And with each unanswered email or each ‘thanks but no thanks’ response we get, there are two responses. One: downhearted failure. Two: a learning moment.
The first option means little growth and little chance of seeing the beauty in the situation. The second – now that’s were the beauty comes in. We learn from all those rejections. We learn how to write a better introductory email, we learn how to re-format our resume, we learn how to interview better, we learn how to present ourself in a more professional way. We learn, we grow, we move forward.
There are many chapters in life. New jobs, new locations, new school, new friends, a promotion, a set-back, an illness. Heck, even a new day, could be a new chapter. The best part is, we get to write each and every day through the things we do, the smiles we give and the way we live. Make it a beautiful one.