I spent the last week in May in Wisconsin to celebrate my sister's high school graduation. It was the first time since January that I had spent a significant amount of time in Mt. Horeb (the trollway capital of the world you know) and my, how things had changed. Our high school has a new weight room, we finally got a chain hotel on the outskirts of town, and when I walked through the halls of the high school, it felt like I hadn't even spent four years there.
Graduation always makes me a little nostalgic, especially high school graduation. I don't think I would want to redo high school, but there's something about that time in my life, something so raw about it. Like how I stood in those halls, complained to my friends about trivial things, walked through those halls if I owned the place at times, and really had no idea what would happen in the following five years.
I re-walked through those halls before graduation with my sister and brother. This spring, my sister has spent one class period a day painting a mural in our high school library (#woah). The mural was complete and my sister wanted her older siblings to see it. Just to walk down those halls and have no one recognize me but smile and chat with my sister was a new experience. Then we walked into the library (which is wonderful by the way, they moved things around and all those decisions were good life choices). The mural is stunning, a picture book scene, scattered with symbols from popular books. My sister did that, and she's as stunning as the work she created.
And then I think back to my high school graduation. I gave a class speech, the perk of being the valedictorian, something I had strived towards since I knew I could give a speech for being book smart (so probably six grade when grades started to matter). I spent months on that speech, thinking and rethinking what I wanted to say. I did a taboo thing and used a quote, talked in cliches, but overall, I think I did a good job of capturing that moment.
So this is going through my head, all these memories, ideas, moments, as I sat in that same gym and watched my sister walk across the stage. If anything, I was happier to see her walk across the stage because I was proud of her. I've spent most of her time in high school not in Wisconsin so to be able to spend a hour and a half in a packed gym watching her graduate was the least I could do.
The teacher speaker for the day talked about how we all make choices. We decide who to keep in our life and who to let go. We decide what we want for breakfast and what we want to do with the rest of our lives. But we have that choice. She was saying all these things I knew intuitively, or maybe have learned over time, but needed to hear once more. I know I can't get up and tell all those graduates that the speaker is right because here's this 23 year old who "knows the world." Because I don't, that's been made abundantly clear sometimes. But I do know that choices matter. I hope my sister remembers that.
And that sort of concludes my time in Wisconsin. It was great, probably one of the best long visits I've had in a long time. I got to see lots of family, got to relax (a little), and also got to reset as I head into the summer. Hope I can get back there soon!