It was daughter number one’s valedictory dinner last night and she was one of 145 kids graduating from her High School. Some of them I have known since kindergarten and it amazes me how quickly they grow up. I spent three weeks with most of them on a trip to Central Australia in 2005 and had a terrific time with a great bunch of kids.

Sitting there watching them all last night I was reminded again of my own school years and thought about the sense of excitement on that journey into adulthood that was about to begin. Today, many of them will vote in our Federal Election for the first time, most have already gotten their driver’s licences during the year and it is now legal for them to drink.

I suspect that most don’t consider that last night is probably the last time many of them will see each other. There will of course be those who will be lifelong friends, some may well become friends in the next months and years, some will marry, others will head off overseas. There will be success stories and probably some sad failures, there will even likely be some who will not be around at all in the next ten years let alone reach middle or old age.

I remember son number 2’s Grade 6 graduation and a young kid who stood grinning at the door of the reception center handing out programs and ushering people to seats. Within a month he had suffocated when a sand cave collapsed on him while playing at a beach on his family holiday. But that day of the graduation he was happy and full of life, with dreams and ambitions, and good friends who would share that time with him. No different to any of the kids I saw last night.

So for the graduating class there are no fears, nor beliefs that the salad days will ever end. Sure they’ve had the weight of a tough year lifted with the end of exams and they are all looking forward to what the future brings and there will dounbtless be days of disappointment ahead for some. I trust for most though that life will unfold in ways that suit them. And who can really ask for any more.

I won’t be around for the next week. I’m off to Tasmania tomorrow morning and will be doing a bit of bushwalking at Cradle Mountain for the next few days, before heading down to the south of the Island where I’ll be visiting some of the places that my great-great-Grandparents, four of whom were Irish convicts, were assigned to work out their sentences. Stay well my friends and I’ll be back in a weeks time.

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