Milestone moments can cause you to zoom out and take a different perspective than you have during your daily grind, and the milestone of the end of the school year is no different. The past, present, and future might need some extra attention over the next couple of weeks.
Zooming out, the first instinct is often to look backwards, to remember past moments and events that have shaped our lives. Over the past year, you’ve most likely had moments where you’ve failed, succeeded, gained, lost, and so much more. Past reflection can bring up a slew of emotions, so my advice is to give your memories the time and space that they need. Talk to a friend, therapist, family member, colleague, or even yourself (out loud or in a journal). Maybe even do something to honour this passage of time - a piece of art, a ceremony, or a celebration. Giving attention to the past helps us process it and store it in our memory in a healthy way.
Milestone moments are also a time to take stock of your life currently. Where are you now? How are you enjoying the present, while also appreciating the past and planning for the future? As we may have heard, it can be difficult to “stay present”. We can be very past- or future-oriented, but doing so can cause us to miss what is going on right now. One thing I like to do to stay present is to just take one breath during a key moment, and tune into what I see, hear, feel, smell, and taste in that moment. Whether it’s watching your child walk across the graduation stage, putting your pencil down after your last exam, or driving out of the parking lot for the last time before summer break; these little moments deserve to be savored. Pay attention, and try not to let them slip by unnoticed.
During milestone moments and transitory periods, there is also a tendency to look forward into the future. Where are you going based on our current trajectory? Sometimes looking into the future can be scary because it is rife with uncertainty. It may help to ask yourself, “what might I need to prepare in order to feel confident I can cope with whatever the future holds? What skills, strengths, and resources do I have in order to help me feel I can handle things, no matter what?” This is also a great time to ask, “what are my hopes and dreams?” Spend some deliberate time thinking of how you can take advantage of being alive and focus on what brings you joy. Happiness is not our default setting, it takes work. So plan to do what brings you joy in the future and your future self will thank you!
Life is a journey with many parts; some are coming to an end, some are continuing on, and some are just beginning.
I wish you all a safe and restful summer!
Contributed by Ms. Prevost, Senior School Counsellor