Thursday, May 8, 2008

98 and 3/4 percent

I graduated from college on May 8, 2004.

It's been four years since then. I've thought about this for a couple months now, how I'm "graduating from having graduated." For so long years were measured in fours (especially since my middle school was 5-8th grade). Class of '96, then Class of '00, then Class of '04... I don't feel like this is some major milestone or anything, but it is noteworthy to me and has prompted me to think about all I've done and experienced and how I've grown since then.

An aunt and uncle gave me a copy of Dr. Seuss' book "Oh the Places You'll Go" when I graduated from high school. I thought it was cute then. But now I think it gains more significance with every year more of experience one has. Here's most of it...I think its a worthy read.


Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there
in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

OH!
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
and hang-ups
can happen to you.
You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on...
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.
And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!
Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won...

But I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.
All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot...

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

4 comments:

emilykatz said...

happy graduation :)

*corinne said...

why, thank you.

Patricia said...

I've been thinking about this four year mark, too. In fact, mentioning it to people as a milestone. I guess one's kid's milestones can often feel like one's own.
Also - I never read that whole book before. It's awesome!

Kristine said...

I read this awhile ago--when the Waiting Place was so appropriate--and felt surprisingly moved. I forgot to comment, until now, but wanted to say THANKS.

Today is your day! So get on your way!