Publisher’s View: New beginnings

Ashley Sexton Gordon

How do you begin again? How do you launch into a new version of yourself—a hopefully better version of yourself—with the new day? Many graduates are asking that of themselves right now. With a world full of new possibilities, and new friends on the horizon, and new experiences at the ready, how do you make the very most of this new opportunity of growth and maturity?

My niece is asking herself this right now.

I remember when Emily was born like it was yesterday. She was the first of the grandchildren on my husband’s side of the family, so everyone was at the hospital to see her arrival. She was golden from the beginning. And she has had a blessed life with plenty of friends surrounded by a strong family unit. But she has graduated from high school, and her world is about to change.

Remember the possibilities?

Remember when anything seemed within your reach? When you just might be exactly what you planned on being from the beginning? Or do you remember the unadulterated joy of new freedom?

One of my close friends went to school out of state, and on her answering machine (I know that dates us) she left the message “I’m not home right now. And, Mom, you have no idea where I am.”

I loved this.

This is freedom. And this freedom is simply not a part of our lives anymore. There are many ways to track each other, check in with one another constantly, and instantaneously communicate. Remember when you could go somewhere and no one could find you? For hours? There was an independence in that which cannot be duplicated today. You had to find people. You had more think time. You had to come to terms with silence in a way, walking across campus, that many today cannot even consider.

Remember when you were up in your head, not down on your phone? Remember when you were truly living each day anew?

We can all begin again. It does not take a graduation, or a new marriage, to launch into a new version of ourselves. People are reinventing themselves every day. Age and obligations wear us down, and the cynical side of us tells us that reinvention doesn’t work. We simply are who we are and we will be who we will be until the end of time.


At any point in this life walk we can be a better friend, or a better spouse or a better parent. We can have a stronger spiritual life if we put forth the effort. We can exercise more and eat healthily and we can let go of that one vice that we hold with fervor in the grips of our fists. We can forgive generously and love unequivocally and be gracious to those who cross our paths.

We can make a change.

This time of year is full of change. It’s a time of moving on and moving up. It’s a time of growth and expectation and possibility. My niece has her dorm room duvet and sheet set already put aside, and I’m jealous of the simplicity of the excitement of a new stage of life.

But every day can be a new stage of life for us. We just have to make the decision to move on and move up. To not get stuck in a rut. To not let past experiences dictate our future goals. Anything is possible. Just ask a recent graduate. The world is wide open with possibilities, and Mom doesn’t need to know where you are.