When I was in elementary school, the playground had this really big blue metal slide. Of course, when you’re four feet tall, everything seems really big. It was one of those that had a wave in the middle so that a person going down it fast enough could get some serious air (like six inches) and, knowing myself, I’m sure the first time I went down it as a Kindergartner I was terrified out of my mind. People might be surprised to know that I’m a bit timid by nature and I was especially so when I was younger. The slide in question was fairly old by the time I was big enough to play on it and I remember it being slightly rickety; let’s just say it probably wouldn’t have passed a safety inspection by today’s standards.
During recess, playing on the slide meant getting in line and, once at the top, going down quickly lest the second-graders behind protest impatiently. I don’t remember that seminal moment (thank you, Ron Luce) when I took the initial plunge, but I’m sure it was nerve-wracking.
On Saturday, May 5, 2012, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oral Roberts University. For about the past four years, I’ve felt like I was on a slide, moving very, very quickly toward graduation and unable to slow myself down. In fact, the further along I got, the faster the end seemed to approach. It was thrilling but also a little scary since I wasn’t really sure what was “at the bottom,” so to speak. It would probably be a more accurate comparison to say it was like one of those big water slides at Hurricane Harbor. You know, those really long and loopy enclosed ones that spit you out into a waiting pool without the least bit of warning? Yeah, one of those.
I’m not the sort of person that finds uncertainty terribly exciting. I like knowing what’s coming next and how long it’s going to take to get there. Consequently, these past few weeks have been an intense growing experience for me and I’ve literally had to accept the concept of doing a kick-ass job on the day I’m in and taking care of the next whenever it comes along.
Even so, life on the other side of graduation is, so far, so good. Barely three days into it, I’m definitely aware that I’ve entered into a new phase in life, one very different from previous phases in that it’s far less structured and doesn’t have a definite end-point. I’ve told my pre-med friends that I envy them in one respect: they know what they’re going to do with their lives, even if I have neither the interest nor the stomach to do what they’re intending to do. I avoided the profession-specific majors for the simple reason that I didn’t want to be locked in to one particular career for my life. As much as there are occasions when I wish my future was more plainly spelled-out, I appreciate that I can do almost whatever the hell I want.
Currently, I’m at home while I look for a job in Tulsa. The goal is to find a temporary (one- to two-year) job that I’ll be comfortable leaving in order to begin graduate study. I wish I had something really profound to say at this point, but there’s no use in pretending I do. I just know that one day I’m going to rediscover this post and laugh at myself. So, here’s to life. Or, as we would say in dorm group Communion, L’Chaim!