I survived graduation weekend. I survived making 20# of taco meat at 6 a.m., hauling that and 3 gallons of queso along with all the other fixins’ for a meal over to the venue with the help of family. I realized too late that my folding picture board wasn’t as well designed as I thought it would, as the pictures would fall out of their corner pockets as soon as the board was folded up for transport. All were small little problems, however. The party was not very well attended due to people’s concerns about COVID (I’m guessing), so I have taco meat, queso, and Doritos sitting around my house for daaaaaayyyyyyyys.
Sunday was the actual graduation day, and it looked a bit different this year. In years past, graduation took place in the gym, which was usually crammed to capacity. The gym was always hot and stuffy from the time of year and the number of warm bodies in the room, and I would sit with the rest of the faculty and sweat as the ceremony droned on. This year, the ceremony was held in the nicely air conditioned performing arts center, and the students were seated in the commons (6 feet apart) until it was their turn to come into the venue and walk across the stage in a presentation of the class; then they sat in the back of the performing arts center as they waited their turn to grab that diploma. Parents were the only ones who could attend and we were all spaced apart. It was weird. And kind of nice – getting out of there was super easy compared to previous years. But I missed not being able to see former students milling around the commons after the ceremony and just being able to have a place to say hi to everyone. It felt sort of like no one had a place to gather after the ceremony, and people scattered pretty quickly.
On Monday, I celebrated my one-year anniversary with my husband. I know that may make people roll their eyes and say, “Whoa – one year,” but I will be one of the first to defend my right to proclaim my happiness over that milestone. The last ten years have pretty much sucked, relationship-wise, and I honestly had come to the conclusion about 4 years ago that I was destined to be single forever, and for the first time ever, I was actually feeling OK with it. I was finally comfortable being by myself for the first time in a long time, and so I started thinking about a life where I just enjoyed the Elvis world, took my photographs, and had the freedom to go wherever I wanted.
Then I met my husband, and my world changed dramatically. It is so freakin’ cliche to talk about how you know “the one” when you meet him, but now that I have experienced it, I realize that all the other times I thought I had met “the one” and was sure of that feeling, that wasn’t it. My husband and I just clicked. We had great, deep conversations. He understood me. He was hilarious, intelligent, and madly talented as a musician and a graphic designer. I fell hard for that man.
Now it’s been a year, and it is actually hard to believe that much time has passed. Our first year has not been without challenges, but there is no one I have ever enjoyed waking up next to more. I look forward to our little routines, and I take comfort in the fact that he is indeed my best friend. I’ve told him things that I have never told another soul. (Bottom line: if you can’t do that with your spouse, then you probably don’t belong together.)
Anyway, enough of my preachy relationship advice. I can give it only because I have been through a variety of relationships that presented different challenges and forced me to recognize who I really was. As for the last ten years, I have been on a crazy rollercoaster ride that began with me fearing being alone to being OK with being alone and then ending up with someone I truly consider my soul mate. There were times in between where I would cry myself to sleep because I had no idea where life was leading me and I was frustrated as hell. Just like any journey – completing high school, going through breakups, meeting your soul mate – there will be peaks and valleys, and it’s those valleys that will present the most challenge, but those are the times that will mold you into the person you were meant to be. As Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Someday the chaos and turmoil will die down and you will find yourself at peace. I promise you that.
Here’s to new chapters of new eras! <clink>