On the first day of school, you journey into the big, wide world, wondering if you will be OK.

You quickly discover that you are not alone; most everyone’s stomach sometimes gets that fluttery feeling, too, and they fixate on the same questions as you. Will I be liked? Do I have the smarts to succeed? Can I do this?

Soon, you get familiar with the foreign places (the playground, the classroom, the cafeteria) and the new routines (the bus pickups, the bells, single-file, no running, raise your hand).

You memorize the schedules. You pass tests. You speak up.

Faster than you realize, you befriend many people and maybe find a few not much to your liking. Later, you re-evaluate and realize some who you thought you didn’t care to get to know, you really do. And vice versa.

You learn a lot about colors and shapes, numbers and words, politics and people, especially yourself. You change a bit along the way. You have bad days and great ones.

Eventually, you figure out something wonderful: You’ve been out in the big world and begun to understand it. You will be OK.

Many years later, maybe on the day that you graduate from high school – or enter a college, or start a job, or move to a different city, or remake your career, or redefine your life or finally retire – the cycle repeats.

You again journey into the big, wide world, wondering if you will be OK.

You quickly discover that you are not alone …