Naive Elation

I wanted to write about a thought I had the other day.

I was very happy and satisfied with my life situation and feeling vey content.  I was thinking about how good I felt after making my big life changes.

But I also remember thinking how after making such momentous life changes as moving from my  house of twenty five years and not having to go to the office after twenty seven years, it still didn’t compare to another large change that happened in my life.

What I was remembering and what I can still vividly recall after forty two years was the way I felt the day I graduated high school.

It was a feeling of elation and happiness that I will never forget and perhaps never experience again.  Not that I haven’t had other monumental times of happiness and elation, like my wedding day or the birth of my children, but I have never experienced that feeling of being set free, that feeling of having a whole new world in front of me.  I have never experienced that same feeling to that extent again.

I remember arriving at the graduation party and most of my class was there.  I went to a small school so my class was around 125 students.  It wasn’t as enormous of an affair as some of you might think.  But it was a pretty big to do for someone who grew up in rural south central Pennsylvania.

What I remember most and still recall to this day was the joy in my heart.  I remember the feeling of being set free from going to school.

I knew I wasn’t going to college.  I wasn’t being pushed into getting a job, no yet anyway, so in my mind I was free.  I had retired from my scholastic career.

I was now able to do whatever I wanted, when I wanted.  Well I was able to do what I wanted, when I wanted, within limits.  But there were no more school nights to have to get to bed early.  There were no more school days to have to get up early and catch the bus.  There was no more homework, no more schedules and no more clock watching.

I can remember standing in the middle of sixty of seventy people at the graduation party and thinking to myself, “I never have to go back there again!”  It was the best feeling I ever had at the time.

School was never a bad experience for me.  I had my normal amount of bad times and scary times. But going into my senior year of high school I actually looked forward to going.

Growing up where I did there really wasn’t much to do so school was not only your academic life, it was also your social life. If you decided not to go to school that day you weren’t doing a whole lot except watching TV.  And back then we only had three or four channels, no video games and no internet.  So what were you going to do if there was nothing on TV, read a book?  I might as well just go to school and see my friends.  It was no Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!

Even though school wasn’t this dreaded and horrible experience, even though I had my share of good times, I still felt set free of a burden, a weight on that graduation day.

Now here I am today wondering why I didn’t feel the same way with my latest change, this change that came after a period twice as long as my academic career.

I realize just how naïve I was to the world on my graduation day.

I had no idea of the cares and the burdens that life and being an adult would bring with it.  I had no idea of the responsibilities that would be place on my shoulders as a self-reliant adult.

Sure I was excited about this last big change forty two years later, these new things I was about to experience.  But I also knew that the responsibilities of being an adult, a good and righteous person, are still there.  I knew that the times won’t all be good and some days the weight will be heavier than others.

And I knew that through the years I had developed the muscles to carry the weight and make the load just a bit lighter.

Will I ever again experience that sense of freedom and care free attitude that I had when I graduated?

No, that is truly one of those once in a lifetime experiences.

Ignorance is bliss and on that day in June 1975 I was swimming in it.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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