Graduation: A Different Kind of Walk

I did it. I completed my master’s degree program. I am done with papers, article critiques, and projects. Graduation was May 2nd. So, how did I celebrate? I walked, of course. I just chose a nontraditional graduation walk. I’m a nonconformist. Stick it to the Man. Whatever. That was sarcasm for those of you who don’t know me very well.

Ben and Lindsey RCF

Instead of making the 2 hour and 17 minute drive from my house to the graduation ceremony, I made the 1 hour and 56 minute drive to Raven Cliff Falls Trail. Yes, my graduation walk was a 5 mile in-and-out hike through God’s great outdoors. Through this whole master’s program, I have juggled coursework, teaching 7th grade, coaching basketball, coaching baseball, trying to see my wife, maintaining some semblance of a social life with her and our friends, etc. Blah, blah, blah- everyone is busy, but this is my blog post, so I get to talk about MY problems all I want!

The culmination of all of my hard work and dedication, my 5 mile hike, really helped put things in perspective. Surrounded by the serenity of nature- the chirping of birds, the rustle of leaves, the rushing water cascading over the rocks and surrounded by some of the people I love most: my wife, my parents, my sister, my mother-in-law, and brother-in-law really showed me something. The message was clear: SLOW DOWN.

SELFIE!

Seriously. People “get in a wad” over the silliest things. “I’m late for this appointment.” “I have to finish this paper.” “I’m never going to get this all done.” Calm down, people. There were times when I was juggling all those things, and there was absolutely no joy in them. If I could have stopped myself in the midst of my self-made crisis, I could have clearly seen that there was no crisis. Things tend to work themselves out. There is no need for anyone to get so worked up over things that are ultimately unimportant.

Climbing down a root system from the top of the cliff!
Climbing down a root system from the top of the cliff!

Am I saying that meeting deadlines for work or for school is unimportant? Absolutely not. Am I saying that those things are less important than things that make me/you/us truly happy? Absolutely. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your friends. Don’t get so wrapped up in things that are trivial in comparison to the really important things in life. Take a hike. Really.

Ben

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