Many moments in my life have been capped off by a graduation. I’ve graduated from Daisy Girl Scouts to Brownies, from Brownies to Junior, and so on. I’ve graduated from fifth grade, eighth grade, 12th grade and college.

For all of these milestones, I’ve celebrated with people who mean the world to me. They have been there to support and encourage me, no matter what the occasion may be. But when I take a true look at my life, I’m most proud of graduating from everyday life events and life changes.

Over the years, I’ve graduated from learning how to tie my shoes, from learning how to share my toys with others, from following recipes in a cookbook and from driver’s education. I’ve graduated from relationships – whether with boys or with old friends, and from hardships and poor choices. In my recent days, I’ve graduated from heartbreak and toxic friendships. Some days are challenges and others feel like the easiest class I’ve ever taken.

I’ve encountered many obstacles that try to stop me, and sometimes it feels like I may fail, but I continue to learn lessons along the way and come out stronger on the other side. I’m thankful for each person who teaches me a lesson, whether helpful or painful. I’m grateful for the changes in weather that force me to adapt, both literally and emotionally. Just like school would have been boring without challenging classes, exams and projects, life would be boring without road bumps and life lessons. Although I’m no longer in a classroom, I continue to grow and to learn, from friends, family and people who surround me. I take time to read, to listen, to ask questions and to pay attention.

Every day, I put on my cap and gown to cross the stage of life. I’ve learned to wake up ready to conquer a fear, approach a hard conversation or to take a new risk, in hopes of a positive outcome. Sometimes I may have to delay the ceremony, but I’m always reaching toward achieving the next diploma of life, so that one day I can look back and see all of my achievements hanging on the walls of my memory.

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