It’s high school graduation season and after all the assignments and exams are done a fresh crop of eager young people are about to embark on their next great adventure in life. Some will head to university, some to tech schools and many may choose to take a gap year to travel or just give themselves some time to figure out what direction they will take next.
I graduated in June 1968…on this weekend fifty years ago. Wow…where did that time go? Being a typical teenager in the 1960s, I loved The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, followed the fashion trends (Seventeen magazine being my fashion bible), and started thinking about the political and social climate of the times. The feminist movement was in full swing. Rock music reflected the drug culture and anti-war sentiment that was sweeping America. Bobby Kennedy was shot within days of my graduation and the world seemed turned upside down. Like most young people I was idealistic and only saw what a great and wonderful world there was out there to discover. I planned to get a job, work for a couple of years, save as much money as I could and then go to Europe. I hadn’t given much thought about what I would do beyond that…
I remember there was enormous pressure to have a date for grad and in the weeks before that was all the talk in the hallways between classes. Wouldn’t it have been great to have the insight then that we have now…to realize that it would be OK to go without a date and instead be with a group of friends? All that angst could have been avoided. Also, of paramount importance was having the right dress, getting your hair done (which usually was a disaster!!!) and, of course, being invited to the “in” party. I understand that graduates today aren’t too caught up in all that hysteria. There aren’t as many boyfriend/girlfriend social norms anymore but more likely friends will attend graduation ceremonies and the after parties as a group, a much better plan.
This weekend I will be reminiscing about my graduation ( humming along to our grad song, “Love is Blue”) and reflecting on the girl I was in 1968. Wouldn’t it be something if you could go back into your own history and have a conversation with the person you once were? What would you say to her and more importantly what would she think of the person you are today?