June 15, 2006

Up too early, thinking too much.

This morning I literally jumped out of bed at six, greeted by this absurd golden sun that we usually only get to enjoy at the END of the day. I'm sitting here in hot curlers, fully dressed, anxiously waiting for today to actually begin. This has been a tradition of mine for as long as I can remember, waking up as early as possible on days that I know will mean something to me. From field trips to the zoo in kindergarten, to History Day interviews at Nationals, to my eighteenth birthday.

But this day, this first milestone day, couldn't have started to soon. I have no idea how today will turn out, if I will be happy with the way things went, if I really will start bawling during my speech... but by the end of today, I, along with the rest of Upland's class of 2006, will become... graduates. No more experimenting with walking in a straight path through halls to see if people will walk around us, no mo- ok, no, I cant do this. I hate it when people do 'no more's and "this is the last time...." Really, though, regardless of tonight's ceremony, I know my life at least has changed in the last week. Jobs, new opportunities, new clothes (what... it's important...), it's as if all this time we were waiting in line for a really big roller coaster.

I know, I know, stick with me through this one... it's early, cut me some slack.

So we start off waiting to be tall enough to even wait in line. I imagine this took longer for some people, because I was pretty much ready to ride out of the womb (Oh, the sexual innuendos... acknowledge them and let's move on) but there was a wait nonetheless. So, ok, we're tall enough to ride the coaster, now we have to wait in line. A REALLY REALLY long line. There's not much to do in line but make friends with the people around you, even if you're only talking to them because they are stuck in the same line. As you near the entrance to the ride itself, you're issued warnings about possible dangers, and told how to take certain precautions. Effin saftey rules. I guess they might be good fro something.

Right, so, I think you know where this is going, what with endless analogies to roller coasters in graduation speeches (I promise... no theme parks in mine) but I'm not going to go as far as saying the ride has even started. We aren't facing some steep slope, we aren't entering the "real world" as so many people are fond of saying. Granted, some of you may be, but for the most part, it's college. Hardly the real world, kids. But anyway, back to the ride. I think high school has been all that fussing about the ride operators do before the ride starts. You know, checking if seat belts are fastened, checking if safety bars are in place, looking for loose articles of clothing, confiscating beverages, getting us ready before the ride even starts.

So, even though there is no climactic end to my analogy, because I don't think the ride has started, and I'm not even sure when it will, I feel like because we made it to this point, this morning, of this day, we are prepared for whenever it chooses to go.

Granted, some of our safety bars are loose, some of us hid those contraband beverages that will end up spilling all over us when we go through loops, and who knows if the ride was even worth all that time talking to strangers in line, if its any better than the kiddie roller coaster that never had a long line and we were always tall enough for... but here we are, getting strapped in...

There's no turning back now...

Unless the ride goes backwards.


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