20/20 hindsight

Sometimes, it takes me a while to write something. There have been news stories where I’ve had to start four or five different documents, playing with different ledes and transitions, just because I can’t figure out how I want to say what I need to say.

Usually though, that kind of rearranging and re-wording only takes me a few hours — although I like to leave myself enough time before deadline to look over everything one last time, and actually rewrote probably about a quarter to a half of a story one time after it had been laid out, because it was bothering me so much.

This time though, it took me nearly two and a half months.

I was asked to write something for consideration, and the reason why isn’t important at this point. But when I was trying to write what I eventually submitted — the deadline was two and a half months ago — I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to say.

Last Friday was my university graduation and getting ready that morning was when I realized, I should have expanded on this sentence: today is not about today. It’s about the past four years, and you can’t possibly reminsce — and be thankful for — everything that has possibly in the last four — or more — years.

There’s an episode of Grey’s Anatomy in Season 5 where a patient was supposed to give the valedictorian address at her college, but ends up on the operating table instead. To calm her, the surgeons ask her to recite her speech anyways. The first line is, “Today is the day my life begins.”

Honestly, it’s a really good speech, but I don’t think your life begins on graduation. In fact, in first year, the instructors warned us that Life might get in the way of school, and that’s OK. We just have to deal with it.

I’m trying to figure out if I have a “favourite” memory from the past four years, because it wasn’t just about Friday. I was so happy to see everyone, and more excited for this graduation than I was for my high school one, but it wasn’t about Friday. It was about the past crazy four years, and the amazing people who kept me sane.

I wish I had a photo of the breakfast the Calgary Journal editors had at K.’s place in fourth year — all of us sitting on the floor with coffee mugs, talking about one of the most ridiculous semesters ever. In that case, I loved our breakfast tradition after Saturday 8 a.m. exams that started in first year.

I don’t miss those huge blue bags that we carried the broadcast cameras in (I actually managed to twist a couple vertebrae carrying it one time), and for all the jokes A. and I made about the class and our projects, the saying “Where are we going? And why are we in a handbasket?” fits perfectly.

Whoever made the movie Helvetica should be shot. ‘Nuff said.

I love all the people who put up with crazy, sleep-deprived me — the blue couch in the ‘Flec office is an amazingly comfortable place to crash after two newspaper productions, waiting for the layout editor to drive me home — and I’m pretty there’s one person who doesn’t even know how much he kept me from completely breaking down during November hell weeks, but I still appreciate it so so much.

I didn’t ever expect it to be easy. So maybe it’s a little fitting, in a karmaic kind of way, that Friday was super easy. Because it wasn’t about Friday. It was about four years of hard work, and amazing friends — and now colleagues!


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