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As the month of June nears, I’ve been bringing to mind the events and traditional significance of the month. There is, of course, Father’s Day and graduation, there are June weddings and the longest day of the year: summer solstice.
This year, however, I notice I’m ringing in the month of June in a slightly more non-traditional way. We just went to a special 20th Anniversary big screen viewing of the movie Pretty Woman. A couple of things struck me as I was sitting there: first, I found it almost implausible that twenty years had passed since Julia Roberts won me over in her portrayal of Vivian Ward, the hooker with the heart of gold. I was struck by how young she and Richard Gere looked. Surely I couldn’t have aged as much as they did since I originally viewed the movie on the big screen!
As I watched a little longer another thought arose: I thought of the person I was twenty years ago as I sat in the darkened movie theater not unlike the one I found myself sitting in today. I recalled the dreams and aspirations I had at the time, and reflected on what I had accomplished – or, more specifically what I had not accomplished – in that twenty-years’ time. For a moment I found myself cataloguing my own, “boulevard of broken dreams,” so to speak, and getting down on myself. I became painfully aware of places that I had given up, given in or let go of dreams.
My introspection was interrupted by the scene where Vivian confides in Edward, the Richard Gere character, how she came by her profession. In that scene, Vivian says, “The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?”
Why, yes, I do notice that – thank you very much, Vivian – but oddly enough, I hadn’t realized that was what I was engaged in at the time! I thought I was just thinking of “the way it is,” rather than recognizing that I was believing the bad stuff by focusing on what I hadn’t accomplished in the past twenty years, rather than focusing on what I had. I did a “stop/change/start,” and began bringing to mind the person I had become over the past twenty years and the capacities I had gained. As I did so, I found myself becoming inspired and elated. Once again, I reminisced on the significance of the month of June and I thought specifically about the significance of graduation.
When I got home I looked up the definition of the word. Graduate: To pass by degrees; to change gradually; to complete something. To close a course of study or other accomplishment.
I’m not saying that it isn’t helpful on occasion to look at where we’ve missed the mark; such introspection is often the precise fuel we need for change. What I am suggesting, however, is that we all take a moment and observe our own personal graduation at this time, and notice all of the ways in which we’ve changed gradually, completed something and closed a course of “study” or other accomplishment. I invite you to celebrate your own graduation this month: celebrate the person you’ve been, the person that you’ve become, and the person you’re still becoming. That sentiment is so beautifully echoed in this quote, “If you learn to translate every event of your life into a positive one, you will stop being a prisoner of your past and become the architect of your future.” – Author unknown
Joel J. Loquvam
Attorney At Law
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