Today. A Perfect Day for a New Beginning

(Read in :03)“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”~ Seneca

Today was a big day for the senior class of 2017. Pick any town, the scene is remarkably similar. And for the next several weekends, graduates everywhere will zip up a polyester gown and perch a peculiar square tassled cap on their head. Mortarboard. What a funny name for a hat, isn’t it?

Tradition dictates Pomp and Circumstance will be played as the graduates march down the aisle in their cap and gown. Interestingly enough, the familiar tune was not written for graduation at all, but for the coronation of King Edward VII. It was first used at a graduation when he earned an honorary degree at Yale in 1905. Then Princeton decided they liked it, then other universities picked up on it and somehow it caught on and stuck. I was curious and now you know!

A new beginning

The cap and gown is earned by successfully completing a chapter of life and adds an air of pride to the whole event. I actually prefer the term commencement to graduation. It signifies a beginning rather than an end and I think it’s much more descriptive of the whole ceremony.

I’m a ponderer, right? I looked around today and admired just how many people showed up to witness this end/beginning of preparation for adult life. The gym was uncomfortably warm and bleachers are a poor excuse for seating yet people flock to the occasion. There must be something magical happening here and I decided it’s the part about new beginnings that always draws a crowd.

Capturing the emotions

No doubt you can guess I’m a big fan of a well-turned phrase so I did a little hunting for the most highly regarded commencement addresses of the last several years. The bigger the school/budget the more impressive the speaker’s creds. I perused some by JK Rowling, Admiral William McRaven, Alan Alda and even some comedians like Jim Carrey and Ellen DeGeneres. I must say that a couple of my favorites were by Steve Jobs and Sheryl Sandberg.

Both of them spoke about the brevity of life, even a long one. Both speakers urged the graduates to be authentic, to follow their dreams and passions and not settle for living someone else’s version of who they should be. The two also spoke of pushing through setbacks, heartache, and disappointment. Because they’re going to happen. And when they do, we have to get up again. Life only moves in one direction, forward, and we must believe in our ability to develop resilience and trust that we will acquire inner strength.

“The moving finger writes, and having written moves on. Nor all thy piety nor all thy wit, can cancel half a line of it.” ~Omar Khayyam

So, with such a serious subject, you may wonder why in the world I chose a picture of my niece’s horse Newman after he took a roll in the dirt. It’s because Newman gets it. Once in awhile we all end up hitting the ground. Sometimes we even do it to ourself. Newman here is demonstrating what you do when it happens. You get up, shake it off and move on. That’s what I call horse sense, right?

I laughed when I saw the picture and I could almost hear Frank Sinatra singing That’s Life.

“Pick yourself up, take a deep breath,  dust yourself off and start all over again.” ~ That’s Life, composed in 1936  by Jerome Kern,  lyrics by Dorothy Fields.


  • Traci Runge

    Every day is a new beginning. I love sunrise and the possibilities that it brings. As difficult as it is on mamas to watch their babies take that walk in their caps and gowns, watching the amazing adults they become over the next few years is well worth it. Life is lived season by season. Each has its joys and sorrows, but for us to experience the most joy it’s going to take the right attitude! I always LOVE your perspective!

    • Betty Streff

      You know it and you *live* it! Attitude is everything! Thanks for taking time to comment, it is much appreciated!

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