TO THE EDITOR:
It’s spring, and the graduates are in bloom in their array of beautiful — yet sometimes tacky — colors in every city and state in this country. As I drive around town, it makes me smile seeing the local college seniors holding tightly onto their recently picked-up graduation gowns.
You know, I don’t even remember who made our commencement speech at my UNC graduation. THAT’S how powerful of a speech it was. OR it could have been that we were drinking a lot of champagne in the stands.
So, since I’m never going to be asked, I will write my speech here. Someday Stephen Colbert is going to run out of speeches to give at graduations, and I’ll save it for him. I’m sure I’ll be his first call.
CONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2017!!!! And Go Heels! (PAUSE FOR LOUD APPLAUSE)
My name is Karen, and I’m a “normal” almost 50-year-old person. Yes, that means I didn’t text the whole time I was at UNC. How in the world we managed to actually FIND people during the day still remains a mystery. And if we had to change a lunch date by five minutes, it was utter chaos. I remember staring suspiciously at my roommate’s computer in college. It was tucked into a dark corner of our living room at Kensington Trace apartments, like it was a mysterious object from an old television show. I just knew this strange object would eventually take over the whole town and kill everyone.
So, I may not have the business acumen of Bill Gates, or the soul-searching advice ready to share at a moment’s notice, like Oprah Winfrey, or even the comedic chops of Melissa McCarthy (Dear God, why AM I up here?) But I’m you, 30 years from now. (Except, I only look like 20 years have gone by. Go with it.) I’ve worked at various jobs and had a career. I also stayed home with my children. And later, I started my own business. I’ve lived in different states.
I’ve dealt with all kinds of people, good and not so much. I’ve been married for over 27 years (yes, to the same man). I’ve lived through many, many things — some amazing, some terrible, but most in-between. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister and was a daughter. I’ve seen recessions come and go, presidents come and go, wars begin and never end, and tragedies like the Oklahoma City Bombing and 9/11 break our country’s collective hearts.
But I’ve seen us begin again, too. Time and time again, after too many awful events to name, we always begin again. I’ve learned lessons by watching all of these things, some close up and some from a distance.