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Life's Highlight Reel: Invitation to Write #14

For Writers:

When I graduated from college, it was a hot August day in Illinois. The gym didn’t have air conditioning, and my silk shirt was completely soaked after the first ten minutes. The ceremony lasted for over two hours, and then I went out to eat spaghetti with a couple of friends. Yawn.

Graduating is one of those events that people would instinctively put on a personal highlight reel. But at least in my case, the event – the ritual – was an uncomfortable and mundane experience. Symbolically, it represented three years of my life, but it’s hard to capture three years by walking across the stage, shaking a few hands, and having a few pictures taken of you.

In life, we often try to capture the culmination of experience through ritual – whether it be a baptism, a wedding, or a graduation. Human beings need rituals, but are ritualized events really the highlights of our lives?

Today, consider your own personal highlight reel. What would you include on it? Would ritualized or ceremonial events be on it? If so, fine, but stop to consider if a ritualized event is as important as taking a walk through a park, smiling at your son as he plays baseball, or visiting a cave in New Mexico.

“The one thing I remember about Christmas was that my father used to take me out in a boat about ten miles offshore on Christmas Day, and I used to have to swim back. Extraordinary. It was a ritual. Mind you, that wasn't the hard part. The difficult bit was getting out of the sack.”
John Cleese

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