The moment I threw my own graduation cap into the air many years ago, I felt the cuffs of high school break from my wrists. The feeling was exhilarating, the bird is finally leaving its cage, the mermaid's wish to turn her magical fins into human legs was granted. It was the end of something dark, I was seeing a light through the tunnel of adolescence, finally I was leaving, leaving a place I so desperately wanted to disappear from.
Years later, I can still feel that desperation. The strong antipathy I thought I had for the institution I always held a grudge against for holding in the ubiquitous raging teenage hormones and putting a box on top of my head when I wanted to step out of the dotted lines.
Was it really that bad? I thought so. Perhaps like every other teenager at the time. I call it my "emo" moment. Thinking the whole world was against me and didn't understand what I wanted to do with my life and it was so hard. It was just...so hard.
Now, I am doing what I love, I am in a place where I can't complain, and for the first time I can say life isn't too bad.
Someone asked me if I regret feeling that way in high school, or if high school wasn't as bad as I thought it was. I told them, there is nothing that I regret, and I don't think I will ever regret anything. Whether it'd be a decision, or a feeling.
There is a reason why I made those decisions. There is a reason why I was feeling a certain way at a certain time. I don't think time and experience should change any of that. Because maybe, just maybe, if it wasn't because I was feeling a certain way to cause me to make those decisions, I wouldn't be sitting here today and telling you that I regret nothing.
I still consider myself as a "youth", I also don't believe time and experience should change that. The advantages of being a youth is you are supposed to learn from your mistakes. You are supposed to experience everything the world gives you. You are supposed to fight battles and win wars, paving the way to your own happiness.
Graduation season always reminds me of my own. Was I ever sad it ended? No. The moment I was able to throw that cap, I will never forget the pressure off my shoulders cleared off to take on a different type of pressure that is the real world. I was ready, a little scared but prepared for all of life's disappoints and wonders.
I want to let our next generation know, if you find something you love, pursue it. It doesn't matter what other people say, it doesn't matter what other people think. What matters the most if yourself. You are the one in control of your life.