Out and about doing what I do this past week, it has come to my attention that Fort St. John has a lot of homegrown talent. I know there are a lot of graduating students who have set their compass and know for certain where they are headed — for now. I'm certain there are a lot of young adults who are fully prepared and know everything.
How does the saying go? If only I knew then what I know now! Isn’t life all about gathering character-building experiencse? The best quote I have heard this week was by Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.” By now, our young adults have spent their entire lives learning to be who everyone thinks they should be. Now is a time and opportunity to go out into the world and find out who they really are.
The best part of youth is that they go out into the world and learn new ideas and concepts. When they are ready, some of them come back home. I can think of a few pretty amazing people in our community who came back as doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, naturopaths, accountants, engineers, researchers, lab techs, geo-techs, managers, entrepreneurs, and teachers.
The classic gift for a grad is often a watch, luggage, or, if you're very fortunate, a vehicle. I love the symbology of these gifts. Time is what you make of it.
In today’s world, we often wear the badge of busy to convince ourselves of the self-importance we carry by being busy. We can deflect by saying, "No, I am too busy," which, in fact, is another way of saying, "That is not important".
Time to a graduate is a gift. When we are young, we have all the time in the world. A month or a year have little impact. It’s OK to follow a trail and gather experience. Time is an imaginary construction that we only think we run out of. Time is infinite. Time is precious. Time is paradoxal. Time is what you make of it. The more time I take to reset or dream, the more time I have to accomplish my goals.
The second classic gift is luggage. This is a form of freedom. An invitation to go on an adventure to travel and explore. To learn that we all have boundaries of fear. Travelling teaches us to walk to the edge. It’s at the edge of that fear that we learn how to jump and surpass the limitation of fear. Fear will always be present, we learn to respect healthy fear and reject the fear that holds us back.
Remember, anything is possible. You are the only limitation in that possibility. You may lose your luggage, your passport, or your wallet on that adventure. This is not a crisis, but an opportunity for the living to really begin. Do you go into fear or into gratitude? The choice is yours.
Well, a vehicle – doesn’t that symbolize freedom? Or does it?
A growing generation is no longer interested in a driver’s licence. I think our northern youth do not fall into that category. Freedom. Wind in your hair and gas in the tank. Does it take you places or give you a new opportunity of responsibility? Something to look after and expenses to cover. Will you look after your vehicle well or will you throw it away to get something newer or better?
Will you fall into the trap of needing external validation for what you are seeking internally? Will you be happy with simplicity or seek grandiosity? Will you learn the gift of giving at the same time as receiving?
Will you move away so that you may someday return to share your wealth of experience and knowledge with the community left behind?
Go on, adventure, seek, learn, travel. The lights are on for you to find your way back home. There is nothing like the taste of a homegrown apple from your very own back yard.
Edwina Nearhood is a lifelong resident of Fort St. John. Her 30-year experience in the appraisal industry offers a unique lens on the challenges associated with the economic forces impacting real estate and the community.