It’s fantastic to be young.  It’s unfortunate we don’t realize that until we’re old(er).  My brother-in-law  (really, isn’t there a better term by now?!  “___-in-law” seems so…legal!!) recently graduated high school and I was able to attend the ceremony.  I haven’t been to a graduation since my own, and this one showed me what 18 is like today – full of ideals; firm on your soap box; elated to be free from parental reign soon; unsure of the future; pleased at your own success of graduating high school.  Is this what I was like at 18?  Probably.  Or maybe not.  I remember thinking that graduating high school wasn’t really a big deal.  Why were parents crying and offering gifts of flowers and balloons?  Why were kids screaming like they just won a $10 million dollar lottery?  For me, it was just high school.  I knew this was just another step to climb over on my educational journey. 

The question, “Should I go to college?” never crossed my mind.  It was assumed.  Period.  You finish high school and then graduate college, that’s how it was in my house.  There wasn’t a sit down with the ‘rents telling me how important SATs and ACTs and college essays were.  There wasn’t a family meeting to see if I should go to a university or a community college, or to go somewhere far away or around the block.  Instead, I guess, it was always implied in my parents’ actions.  Besides, going away to college meant FREEDOM.  Cookies for breakfast, naps at 3pm, frat parties…you don’t get that stuff at home. 

I remember my guidance counselor in high school, ahh Mrs. Goodrich, tall with round glasses and gentle eyes, asked me what colleges I applied to.  When I told her the University of Florida, she responded, “That’s nice.  I think you should apply to FAU or PBCC as well, don’t you?”  I didn’t, and I didn’t do it.  Another assumption on my part; I assumed I would get into UF and didn’t see why I needed options.  I didn’t understand why an adult wanted me to build a net in the event of failure.  If I was confident in myself, why wasn’t she?  Again, to be 18 and full of ideals – and I guess assumptions.  My dad always says, “You know what happens when you assume?  You make an ass out of you and me.”  True, mostly.  Fortunately, this assumption panned out in my favor.  In retrospect, I totally should have applied to another college.  You know, just in case 😉   

In any event, it’s great to be 18 and I hope all the graduating seniors out there take a moment to remember this time in life when things are relatively breezy.  Remember to have fun.  Not that 20, or 25, or 30, or 50 isn’t fun (have you hung out with anybody retired?!  Party, party, party!), but you have more to lose.  (You think losing your car is bad, or your fake i.d.?  Try losing your house or job.)  Being 18 means you’re on the precipice of adulthood.  While you’re still young enough to be slightly irresponsible and make poor decisions without having major repercussions, you’re old enough to leave the ‘rents behind and be legally punished.