There are all kinds of new beginnings in life.  Some we dread.  Some we look forward to with excitement and perhaps a little nervous anticipation.  My midlife divorce was a new beginning of the first type:  Dread.  Sinking, heart-thumping dread.   I felt like it was a new beginning on the level of starting a new life as a paraplegic.  I hated the thought of it.  I worried I wouldn’t be able to have a good life.  I saw all the sadness and pain and terror of a new unfamiliar life with challenges I didn’t want.

But this week, people of all ages are experiencing new beginnings of the second type:  excited, exhilarated (and probably a bit nervous) anticipation.  Not that many years ago when our last child graduated from high school, I was preparing a memory binder for him with memorabilia from birth through 12th grade.  I came across his 6A Cross-Country Champion medal and a piece of paper that said, “NO EXCUSES.  NO REGRETS.”

The “NO EXCUSES.  NO REGRETS.” life is what we should all strive for.  That’s how we should live every single day.  We have a new start every 24 hours, and we should grab each new day, whatever we are facing, with gusto and gratefulness for a chance to start again.

I think we should all live life like new graduates … a bit on the edge … boldly … and with a sense of adventure.  We all need to discover our BIG purpose for being on this earth and then go for it … no matter what “it” is!  As I told my son on that graduation day, “believe in yourself and what you choose to do.  Don’t be afraid to make honest mistakes.  Try to avoid them, but don’t live too cautiously.  Have fun!  Be brave!”

We should all be just as excited about our new life as high school or college graduates are about theirs.  We have the whole rest of our life ahead!  I  know that sounds terrifying if our path is uncharted and unsure.  But let’s don’t squander the opportunity to create a life we love.  Just like a new graduate, step out of your comfort zone.  Everything that has gone before has prepared us for what comes next and some of the best lessons have been the hardest.  So, go ahead … Dream big!  Write “Happy Graduation!  My future is my choice!”  at the top of the page in your daily planner in honor of this new stage. Even if it’s the “School of Hard Knocks” that is our alma mater, lets embrace this glorious, amazing, wild, terrifying gift of a new beginning!

“No dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing:  Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.”  Philippians 3:13

The picture above is a RADiCAL woman, Jen Jordt who graduated from college a few years back, so she could fulfill her passion for working with women in the prison system.  We have other RADiCAL women like Deb DeYoung who went back to get her Masters as a Marriage, Attachment and Trauma Therapist, or Pam Piper who is graduating in a few days with a  BA in Business Administration.  Take encouragement from them.  They all started in the pit of divorce but refused to let that keep them from having a fulfilling, adventurous life.  Figure out what you want to do now and then go for it! Find that thrill for yourself as you graduate to your own new beginning!