First of all, it is the end of compulsory education. So okay, even though parents might still be putting the pressure on to continue one's education or possibly handing out the ultimatum about “live under my roof––go to school,” the reality is we now have a choice. We don’t have to go to school. We could indeed move out and get a job. Scary as that might be.
Second, we start choosing our own direction in life, either by conscious decision or by default. Ironically, this is often the time that we are willing to sacrifice some of that hard earned independence if it means we can lay a little of the blame for poor choices somewhere else. Sorry, it really doesn’t work that way.
Finally, though we have been raised with certain beliefs and values, this is often the time that we decide for ourselves if those are the values and beliefs we want to keep. Some will discard them strictly out of principle––I don’t have to life by them anymore, so I won’t. Others, will never question them, and blindly follow them as they always have. I am hoping most of us take the middle approach. Step back, and then in the quietness of our aloneness, we evaluate each and decide if that value system or belief is one we will continue to adhere to or discard. Only then, is it truly ours. I pray that as we each do that, we are not working off of what we want to be true or hope to be true, but that we do indeed have a solid foundation for why we believe what we do.
So, if you are one of those standing on the threshold of adulthood and independence, congratulations. These last eighteen years were meant to prepare you for this moment and these next steps. If you are one of those who has already passed this milestone, that’s okay, because in the years after the official high school graduation, we need every so often to come back and revisit and reevaluate those decisions, principles, and paradigms.