I graduated this weekend. The ceremony was long, sweaty, and boring — but at the same time vital, I think, to understanding that a milestone had been reached, that something important had in fact happened.
I’d been so focused on getting into a PhD program that it hadn’t occurred to me until recently that what I was doing at school every day mattered and would amount to something, sooner rater than later.
Ceremony exists to help us understand the changes that are occurring. It’s funny. Change happens gradually, and yet we’re expected to register it overnight. It wasn’t as though I was completely in the dark until the exact moment I earned my degree and then suddenly became an enlightened being. There really wasn’t any difference in me from the week before I graduated to the week after.
And yet, it makes all the difference to the “real world” whether you have those letters after your name.
When I first got together with Skyspook, I hated holidays, and I let him know. It was because of all the pressure involved for them to go better than normal days. It sucked the fun out of it for me.
Over the years though, I think I’ve gained an appreciation for holidays, for their ceremony, for the way they help us to measure incremental change that has crept up on us gradually, like hash marks on a cylinder. This way, we can measure a life that otherwise seems to move slowly or not at all.