Let me spare us all the boredom of a lengthy recitation of my very young adult adventures.
College. Law school. Marriage. Not in that order.
On the home front: My first stepmother died in a bizarre accident the summer before I started college, and my father re-married the next summer, adding two more stepsisters and eventually a half-brother to the mix. I've never really known any of them. My first set of step-siblings quickly made their way back to Florida and Georgia, and we've only seen one another a couple of times in the last forty years.
I had incredible summer internships. Not. Let's see . . . I cleaned hotel rooms in Cincinnati, waited tables at Chautauqua, made G.I. Joe flashlights in Pawtucket, worked as a drugstore cashier in Providence, and waited on some more tables in Cleveland. When I was ready to leave for school, the hotel housekeeping manager told me she'd make me a floor manager if I stayed, and the drugstore manager told me she'd put me in charge of the cosmetics department. I'm serious. No one EVER asked me if I wanted to manage a restaurant or a toy factory. I guess we see where my innate gifts lie.
I really have only one comment. When I see the effort that goes into the college decision process and the planning of a wedding today, I often think: The real milestones in life come when you least expect them. Wherever you go to college, it will be fine. Whether you get married in a Plaza Hotel extravaganza or in a small chapel in the woods will have virtually no bearing on whether you are still married thirty or sixty years later. Or whether you want to be. And while it's cool to have a flashy volunteer internship, it's also cool to pay your own rent, at least for the summer.
It's good to earn those diplomas. It's good to make commitments even when you have no idea what you're doing. It's good to work hard and it's good to celebrate. But those things are barely the beginning. At least in my case.
Young people today are often so accomplished and sophisticated.
I so wasn't.