I had a dream last night. One like I haven’t had in a long time.
It was midnight and for some reason I was walking down a railroad track in the middle of nowhere. Like a kid, I was balancing on the 3-inch rail walking as far as I could before I fell off. The balanced walk was getting longer each time adding a sense of accomplishment, achievement, and sense of wonder at what I was able to do that I couldn’t do before. Then, I began to walk down the middle of the tracks, hopping and skipping from one railroad tie to the other.
Then I saw the headlight of a locomotive. My feet, and my legs turned to lead. It felt like I was stuck in concrete and unable to move. The headlight rotated on the front of the locomotive searching for me, looking to run me down. Closer and closer, my feet were unable to move, unable to propel me off the tracks and the inevitable was upon me.
I woke in a sweat-drenched panic searching my mind as to what could have caused the dream. I lay there in the dark working my brain, taxing its ability to find an answer; to research my data banks for a memory of a life experience to relate this to. As I finally started to get back to sleep, with my heart rate and breathing normal again, in the soft light of limbo sleep, it hit me; what the dream meant, not the train. GRADUATION! For me, this milestone in life has been 40 years in the making!
The question of what I want to do with the knowledge and diploma I will eventually receive. Flip burgers in a minimum wage job? How do I search for a job in my field?
Controlling my breathing, I realized that the joy and accomplishments of walking the 3-inch rail in my dream was related to the fun and accomplishments that I have had while in college. Hopping and skipping from one tie to another was like finishing projects that helped me to achieve what I have, and gain the knowledge that will aid me in any endeavor that I choose to involve myself in from now on.
I have a little (just a little) more life experience, and I know that with a lot of persistence and hard work that anything can be accomplished (like graduating college at the age of 60). Although this dream is only an analogy of how graduating feels to many of us, I know that life will have its ups and downs, and there will always be some type of emotional stress.
But I’ll remember that my time here at Southern Oregon University has given me the tools that will always help me to figure how to get off the tracks, wait until the train slows down for a curve and then I’ll be able to climb aboard and travel to my new destination in life.