'Tis the season of graduation. Caps fly in the air and tassels swing wildly as young adults leave the past behind and focus on the future with hope and trepidation. (But mostly, hope.)
Preschoolers march around in a circle proclaiming that they have "graduated" to Kindergarten. They have learned to "socialize" with their peers, find their cubby, share their toys and wash their hands without help.
These lessons may be the most important lessons of their entire lives. And yet, as their chubby little fingers grasp certificates of achievement, they too focus on the future and wonder if Kindergarten has good snacks.
Today can be a day of graduation for you too.
What would you like to put behind you?
Whether it's the weight of the world, the albatross around your neck or the chip on your shoulder -- today is the day you can choose to focus on the future and leave that experience, thought or behavior, behind.
It is true -- there is no official ceremony, and your parents will not be there to take pictures of your beaming smile as you walk across the stage of your mind.
But once you shake it off (whatever "it" is) your life will change for the better and you too will step proudly into a new future.
But how do we shake things off?
Like a middle-school pre-teen heading into high school, we have a gut feeling that NOTHING could be worse than 7th grade. At the same time, we are faced with the reality that high school presents a series of risks.
We will be plunging into a brand new world -- as a newbie. What if we don't have the right stuff? What if we get picked on, fail AP History, can't find our classrooms and get shoved into a locker? It's all a possibility.
But remember, you might get an A in AP History, find your best lifelong friend and save someone else from getting shoved into a locker. You may come out of high school with a long list of things to shake off but more likely it will be a list of good and bad, sweet and sour, melancholy and elation.
The trick is to identify those items that are better left in the past and focus on your bright future.
Coach Me Quick Tips for shaking it off:
1. Where do you hear yourself using the phrases; "should have," "could have," or "would have"?
Whatever those phrases are attached to can go right to the shake it off list; the job you could have gotten, the raise you would have gotten or the way you should have spoken to your child. If you need to make amends or have an honest conversation with someone, make it happen. Write it in a letter, scream it in the shower or pound a pillow. Do what you need to do and then shake it off.
2. Notice where you have felt rejected or disappointed by another person.
Is it true that they rejected or disappointed you? Or, were they just being themselves -- and you felt rejected and disappointed? It's a small distinction, but if you can take responsibility for how you are feeling, you have the power to shift. If you blame someone else, they have the power. Take the power back and shake it off.
3. Be as excited about your future as you would be about your child's future.
Stand on the sidelines of your own life and applaud, take pictures and cheer. Don't discount your achievements -- make a big deal about small wins. Love yourself unconditionally.
And here's some very good news; the snacks just keep getting better.