Photo editor reminisces on two years on staff; chooses favorite photos from senior year

Bailey Outlaw, Staff Photographer

When I dreamt of the future as a little girl I saw myself as someone who knew where they were going and what they would be. I always thought “when I grow up” and now here I am, wondering…when does this magical growing up occur?
When am I grown up?
Is it when I walk across the stage and shake Principal Scott Bacon’s hand? Is it when I get married, maybe have a few kids?
I don’t think any of these are the answer. I believe that we are all still growing up, at every point in our lives. Because growing up is learning, and if we ever stop learning, then we have truly failed ourselves. In every one of us lies that child with bright eyes towards the future, a young soul ready to make its mark on the world around it.
In every one of the graduates in our class there is a little piece of every age we have ever been and what we’ve learned from it. We were 3 years old learning no means no and eat your dinner or you won’t get that cookie. We were 5 years old learning sharing is caring, and if you play with it you must also clean up after it. We were 7 years old learning sometimes children can be cruel. We were 9 years old learning you can’t be good at everything — no matter how hard you try to learn to dribble a basketball. We were 11 years old realizing middle school is tough, and puberty even tougher. We were 13 years old learning parents can only be pushed so far until they snap, and. when they do, you better hope it’s not because of you. We were 15 years old understanding love can really hurt. We were 16 learning cars and gas cost money, and jobs in the food industry are really not as glamorous as we imagined. We were 17 years old deciding our futures with so much fear and excitement, and now here we are. We’re done with our yesterdays, and ready as ever for all of our tomorrows. We are 18 years old going on thirty and looking forward to our whole lives. We will be 18 in our first college classes. We will be 21 making a few mistakes. We will be 24 fending for ourselves. We may be 27 (or our dads may like to think 37) committing our lives to someone, and then we will be parents worrying about our own children and seeing them experience all we have experienced. In this moment now we are all both happy and sad. Happy because this is the beginning and sad because this is the end. Happy because we’ve made it. And sad because of all we leave behind us.
I used to think life was about growing up. I think all of us have felt that way at one point or the other. But I am pretty sure my mom still wonders when she will be grown up. Getting older doesn’t necessarily mean feeling old. Getting older means realizing how short life truly is, and how much you want to do in that time. We need to remember to live in the moment. Because if you spend your life looking forward to some day, you’ll blink and it will be over. So my challenge to all of my fellow graduates is a simple one: seize the day. This day. Your day. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”
So remember this as you travel out into this world. May it be to the East Coast or the West Coast or even just an hour away.
You are capable.
You are more than you believe.
And you are worthy.