Today, I hugged my students goodbye at the close of graduation ceremonies. It is not always easy. As a professor, I get attached to the students, especially those that I spend a lot of time with in classes, work together with through the public relations club, or collaborate on other events and projects that take place over the course of the semester. We spend a lot of time together. I will miss their smiling faces they wear, even as I layer on the writing projects and advertising pitches. I shouldn’t feel melancholy as I watch my students leave the nest, because, after all, it’s my job to prepare them to go out into the working world and become successful. And yet tonight, I do. Nevertheless, the primary reason for all this mild grieving is that it’s all a part of letting go.
Some of us are better at letting go than others. Some of us can let go of an argument and forgive quickly. Others of us let go by forgiving someone who has used our kindness and generosity. Some of us let go of hearing a belittling comment or whisper that was not intended for our ears. Some of us can let go of old loves, friends, and relations that cause us nothing but pain.
And still, some of us hold on.
We hold on to feelings of comfort, in knowing that our teachings have helped guide these students and mold them into what they may become. Some of us hold on to the pleasure of seeing that light bulb go off in their heads when a concept we’ve discussed finally makes sense. Some of us hold on to that one student who is determined to fight off that “C” and earn a “B” or an “A.” Some of us hold on to that email that says, “Thanks for making me read something I normally wouldn’t,” or “Happy Mother’s Day—you are like a mother to me.”
We have to do a lot of letting go in life. I often wonder how I will feel when my own son and daughter graduate from college and move along in their grown-up ways.
Yes, so often in life, we have to let go. It’s all part of the journey.
And I will let go. But today, just for a little longer, I’ve decided to hold on.