Bittersweet.

Annnd graduation is a wrap. (btw I don’t get the origins of that phrase. Someone please enlighten me.) 

Who would have thought that it would be such a fast and furious week of graduation practice, goodbyes, and finally commencement?

speech
Pic Creds: Doug Lindsay

Bittersweet isn’t quite the right word for it, neither is sad. It’s a confusing jumble of relief, disappointment, apprehension, fear, excitement. I am happy that graduation is here. I don’t want to have to ask to go to the bathroom anymore or take a pass with me to walk the halls. I’m ready for freedom, but I’m wary of the newness of the freedom.

Change feels uncomfortable.

This school year has been a huge year of change. I was talking to one of my teachers the other day about how frustrating change feels, and sometimes it’s not only frustrating but heartbreaking and stressful too. I didn’t quite know how to describe it, which was even more frustrating for a word nerd like me, but he gave me a word for it (woot). He called it disequilibrium. Basically, that means that things are out of balance. It makes us feel shaky and uncertain and disoriented, but we need to experience disequilibrium if we want to grow.

graduation
Pic Creds: Doug Lindsay

Sometimes, the growth happens but all we feel are the lingering effects of disequilibrium. We just have to give ourselves time to adjust to the growth, recognize that it is indeed present, and then take time settle down a little before the next wave of growth hits.

I feel like I’m filling in a new skin, a bigger, roomier space. It looks a little foreign, but it’s still me, just a different me.

IMG_1324
Happy tears with one of my favorite people ❤

Probably the biggest takeaway from senior year is that growth doesn’t happen without help from other people. Ultimately, you are the one who decides if “yes” I’m going to embrace this change or “no” I’m going to fight it with every living cell in my body, but still, other people are there to help you through it.

IMG_1319.JPGI talked a little about the importance of community a long time ago, but I’m slowly learning just how important it is. It’s humbling though because I hate, hate, hate opening up to people, being vulnerable. I feel safer privatizing my life and neatly boxing up all my insecurities, my shortcomings, even my aspirations, in sealed containers that only I can open. I guess it’s me grasping for some kind of control or safeguard, but life is so much more meaningful when we let other people in.

We’re all messy. We’re all broken. We’re all human, fantastically, wholly human. 

graduationhattoss
Pic Creds: Doug Lindsay

I’m trying to adjust right now and take it all in, but I need time. It’s ironic because the topic of my graduation speech was running and how races are a metaphor for life, and at the end, I talked about celebrating the finish. Well, I celebrated the finish on Friday (yippeee I’m done! *cries so so so many happy tears*), but I’m being hit with some serious post-race blues too. I’m ready for high school to be over, very ready. That race is behind me, but it’s still over. We spend twelve years building up to this day, and then we’re done. We have to say goodbye to something that was a significant part of our lives, not always a pleasant part, but nevertheless, a part. It’s tough, for me anyway.

I’m ready for things to settle down and the return of a solid routine. I need respite before the next wave of change, of disequilibrium, moving to college this fall. I know it’ll be a doozy, so I’m hanging on tight to my community.  I know I can’t do this by myself.


So tell me…

What are big changes you’ve had to adjust to?

Who encourages you when you’re going through tough seasons of growth?

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8 thoughts on “Bittersweet.

  1. Dearest Evanline. Oh my goodness. So many congratulations, from the bottom of my heart. Whether it is easy to feel right now or not, you have worked so hard getting to this day. I hope you feel proud. You have offered me so many wonderful and supportive words of wisdom to me recently as I have transitioned out of a big phase of my own, and now it is your turn. I know all these feelings you are describing. Both after my high school graduation, then after college, and now after my latest training. You described it perfectly in regards to the mix of excitement and pride but also heartbreaking sadness and uncertainty. Disequilibrium. I know we were both trying to figure out a word for this mix of emotions and I think your teacher may have really hit it on the head (give him a thanks for me!) All I can say is you need to feel these things. Be sad if you feel sad. You are so smart for knowing that right now you need some down time. Don’t rush into anything. Let yourself get back to some equilibrium. I really needed that too. The sadness does wear off and is replaced by more excitement eventually, but the fact that the sadness is there just means this was a part of your life that you will always cherish. Gosh life transitions are hard. I’m so proud of you, thinking of you, and hoping you find some peace in this next week.

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    1. It is such a relief to have a word for it. Thanks for reminding me to feel what I’m feeling. It’s so easy to tell ourselves that we shouldn’t feel sad (because it’s supposed to be a happy time) or that we shouldn’t feel overwhelmed (because it’s supposed to be a restful time). That doesn’t do us much good. It just adds guilt to the mix and really undermines the complexity of being human. We feel lots of weird stuff some times, and that’s okay. I’m still waiting for the excitement. I know it’s coming. And gee, right? Life transitions are wack. Thank you for the encouragement ❤

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  2. The first day I woke up in my dorm room, I came down to the lobby and talked to the receptionist because I felt so horribly lonely in a new place far from family. It took me about a year to settle in and find my new circle but I never forgot how lonely that first day was and became an RA the next year in part because of that experience. You will go through hard times as you find your new circle, but then you’ll be the circle for someone else ❤️ Congratulations on starting the next chapter Vangie!

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    1. “You will go through hard times as you find your new circle, but then you’ll be the circle for someone else.” I love that. It’s such a beautiful reminder that some times discomfort and adjustments help us empathize (really deeply empathize) with other people. You experienced homesickness, but then I’m sure you were able to encourage other people experiencing homesickness and loneliness because you could say, “Hey, I know how you feel. I felt like that too.” That’s special. Thank you for your encouragement. It’ll definitely be an exciting (but scary) change 🙂

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  3. Congrats on this huge moment in your life. I watched my brother graduate high school last Friday and as sad as I am that he’s all grown up, I’m also excited for this chance he has to take on the world. I feel the same with you – you are so far ahead of the game and are so passionate about life. I can’t wait to see all that you are going to do, because I know it is going to make an impact ❤

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  4. Change is so so so hard. And I love how your teacher described it as “disequilibrium,” feeling off balance. (Words nerds ftw!) There’s an instability with change that I’ve always found so difficult, of not knowing what the future is going to be like. I have found that, with each major transition I’ve made in my life, that instability has grown less and less scary. But I don’t know if that’s a comfort. I’ve always hated when people respond to my concerns with some version of, “Once you’re old and wizened…”, so if that’s not a help, suffice it to say that I completely know the feeling.
    The term “that’s a wrap” comes from film. Film folks call the end of the film the “wrap.” Why, I have no idea.
    Congrats on giving your commencement speech! Such a huge honor. Your wisdom and ability with words are clear from reading this blog, so I’m sure you did wonderfully.
    On a totally random note: your glasses are the cutest. 😉
    Many congrats.

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    1. That is a comfort actually. I can see the truth in that already in, albeit, small ways. Like when we’re little and a page of homework seems incredibly overwhelming, but we continue working, adjusting, growing. And after awhile, that little overwhelmed kiddo is graduating from med school. (That’s definitely not me (the med school part), but I’m sure it’s applicable to someone out there 🙂 )

      Thanks for clearing that up. Movie lingo, eh?

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