Graduation Day
Remember how good it felt to be a senior, back when the word “senior” had a different meaning for us? Remember graduation day? Remember how excited you were to be surrounded by your classmates who were equally as excited to have successfully completed that phase of your life? The day we left McKinley marked the point of maximum friendship in most of our lives. We all had so many dear friends at McKinley, and with the innocence and naiveté of youth, we each fully expected that these friends, that we’ve seen nearly every day for the previous four years, would always be in our lives. We sincerely felt most of those relationships would last forever.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If it hurts it teaches.” One of the painful lessons learned in the process of maturing is the fallacy of those genuinely warm thoughts on graduation day. If we were to define our circle of friends by a “radius of action”, then the unfortunate truth we sadly learn is...that radius becomes ever smaller with the passing of time.
Those sweet thoughts of youth collided with the reality of the “real world” and we found ourselves seeing fewer and fewer of our McKinley friends – and those we did see…we saw less often. Other things entered our lives that were not present when we were at McKinley. We either went to work or to college. Both of these pursuits consumed both time and emotional energy; commodities which were lavishly spent on our Goldbug friends.

Then, as we marry, have kids and get a house, these endeavors all represent additional demands placed on our emotional resources, further decreasing our radius. You’ll run into someone at a shopping center and you both comment on how long it has been since you had seen each other and both swear to get together – and all too often, it just doesn’t happen. While some of those McKinley relationships have persisted throughout our lives, many have not.

It is difficult to understand how these complacent lapses occur. Where our radius was once so very expansive with numerous and frequent gatherings of friends – with no excuse required to justify the gatherings – the radius becomes smaller and smaller for no good nor apparent reason. What happens to many of us as we get older is that our radius of action becomes ever smaller until, for some, it merely describes our immediate household and family.

Fortunately, given the McKinley spirit, this happens to a far lesser degree with Goldbugs than it does for individuals from other schools, but sadly, all too often, we look back and wonder, “I wonder whatever happened to _____________ (fill in the blank).”

The obvious remedy for a short radius (late nite infomercials notwithstanding), is to expand your awareness. Renew a connection. Come to a McKinley luncheon. Check out the email directory of this web site and contact someone you have not contacted recently. Pick up the phone and touch someone. Arrange a lunch with a McKinley friend. Think beyond the perimeter of your current radius of action and the rewards will justify the energy expended.
There is a passage from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam that goes…

    One thing’s for certain and the rest is lies.
    The thing for certain is this life flies.
    So, come fill the cup and in the fire of spring,
    Thy winter garment of repentance fling.
    For the bird of Life has but little time to fly,
    And lo…the bird is on the wing.

So…my Goldbug friends, while the bird is yet on the wing, summon that Goldbug spirit and make a connection.