There are many skills that I wished I had learned before graduation, but some of those skills I didn’t learn until after graduation.
Caps and gowns. Speeches and tears. And let’s not forget the pomp and circumstance.
As graduation season is wrapping up, I’ve been thinking back to my own graduations—12 years ago for high school and 8 years ago for college.
Both of these days will forever stand out as highlights of my life. But as the years have gone on, I’ve realized the life lessons I’ve learned since both high school and college are perhaps the most important of all.
From the practical and mundane to the serious and sentimental, here are some things I’ve learned since graduation:
1.How to do laundry. That’s right—12 years ago I had absolutely no clue. My mom gave me a quick lesson before my parents moved me into the dorms, and I was on my own. Besides not washing my sheets my entire first semester (How was I to know how often to wash them?), I caught on pretty quickly. (No worries—my sheets get washed weekly now!)
2.How to cook. This has mostly come in the past 8 years. Even in college, I ate at the campus cafeteria. I started my cooking journey when I lived off campus my senior year. And I made a mean taco pie, spaghetti pizza pie and chicken pot pie. My husband wasn’t feeling the “pie” for dinner every night when we got married, so my recipe repertoire has expanded quite a bit.
3.To embrace each season of life—and to not waste time living in the past—or the future. Each life stage passes too quickly. I remember driving away from college with tears streaming down my face and thinking of all the wonderful memories I had made. Those memories are wonderful, but I’ve made even better ones since. For now, I’m reveling in rocking my baby to sleep and kissing my 3-year-old’s boo boos.
4.Life won’t always turn out like you expected. Some of my dreams have come true. Some of my dreams have been shattered. God has used both to mold me into the person I have become.
5.Your heart might break, but your heart can heal—if you choose to forgive.
6.Friends are not always friends forever, but there are a select few who will always be there for you no matter what. And those friendships come in all seasons of life. When I left college, I thought I’d never make another friend like the ones I had there. But some of my best friends today are ones I’ve met the past 8 years. I’ve found kindred spirits in co-workers, neighbors and especially in other moms.
7.The world is much bigger than your town or state. Since graduating from high school, I’ve lived with families in Costa Rica, translated for medical clinics in Peruvian villages, cooked on trash can lids in Puerto Rico, walked the Great Wall of China, trekked around Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, stood as a bridesmaid at my baby brother’s wedding in Argentina, befriended my Iraqi neighbor in Vancouver and moved back to my hometown.
8.Being a wife and mom at age 30 is much harder but much more rewarding than traveling the world in my 20s.
9.There are days more significant than graduation. The day my daddy walked me down the aisle to marry my husband, the day I found out I was expecting my first daughter—and my second, the days I met two of the most beautiful redheaded babies I’d ever seen (and felt I had known my whole life) after hours of intense labor: all these days have been much more memorable.
10.No one will remember what you did in high school—or probably even college. But your babies will remember if they felt loved. And I need to show them how much I love them every day. This season, too, will pass all too quickly. And my little girls will be graduating themselves before I know it.