Anyone wanting to find out just how old they are, or should feel, all one has to do is attend a high school graduation ceremony.
This year has been interesting, though especially devastating, having had to attend a number of graduations including one for my oldest child.
Nothing makes a parent more proud than witnessing a child completing a long journey that’s been filled with all sorts of emotions. That being said, it is also a time that can bring forward the overwhelming feeling of seeing the years flying by.
The great thing about this graduation ceremony was it was focused on just what lay ahead for the students, their aspirations, their accomplishments and what it means for their future. It felt like an evening to briefly look back and remember what’s gone on while also acknowledging that this is not an end, but a beginning for the graduates.
While not a bad thing — in fact it was somewhat funny and pleasing — alas those feelings would be supplanted by my attendance at a pair of other graduations.
These other grads brought me back to many memories generated over years, from my oldest child’s years at various schools to when she was an infant all the way back to my own high school experiences — all of which reminded me of just how old I am and feel at times.
A couple of particular instances prompted these thoughts and feelings.
The first was a speaker bringing up what was supposed to be ‘the end of the world as we know it’ — Y2K.
Having gotten married just a couple years earlier and working in an industry that was very dependent on computers, although less then than it is now, I was reminded just how frightened and full of panic people were about what the experts were saying was going to take place when the clocks turned over to midnight on Jan. 1, 2000.
For those of you that are still curious about what Y2K is, the Coles Notes version was that people believed everything run by computers would come to a halt because the thought was that the programming at the time wouldn’t be able to handle the switch to the two-digit year ‘00’.
It was surmised that all utilities would come to shut down, radio and television stations would go silent as well as newer vehicles could even stop running (or burst into flames as one friend figured) upon being started up in the new century.
In the end, it was all moot and people’s thoughts run amok since even old computers that weren’t able to get the programming changed had no issues when it came time. However, hearing about it made me take note of just how long ago that was and how old I actually am.
Next up, a different speaker came out with a statement that shocked me — that his graduation from high school was 30 years ago that day.
It wasn’t that mere fact that got to me, it was the realization that this acknowledgement also included me.
Talk about being blindsided.
I was hit with a flood of memories about the good times, the great times, the not-so-wonderful as well as the various situations that occurred in those days — several of which would nowadays wind kids up in jail, rather than a whack with a yard-stick (for those under 30, ask your parents) or a tongue lashing from the teacher and/or principal.
Lastly, there were a few things mentioned at these grads that elicited laughter and others that caused some pain, knowing how long ago it occurred in my life and how old I was at the time compared to the graduates.
And so many of you won’t be left out, here’s a few for you to ponder — the Edmonton Oilers last playoff appearance being before the latest grads began school and the last Stanley Cup win was a full decade before the grads were born; these grads can do things on their phone that would take hours to complete on the computers we had in school; our Internet consisted of 20 minutes of beeps and tones just to say ‘Hi’; and, that there is a great vehicle anti-theft device out there for Millennials — the standard transmission. (And the laughter was great for that one.)
All that being said, I did feel great about one other thing — I didn’t look nearly as old as some of the other parents around, some that are older while some are younger and a few that are the same age.
But that is…just an observation.