So what’s the first thing you do when you get a yearbook? Be honest with yourself. I pass no judgment, because I’m sure my answer is quite similar.
For those of you able to bypass the index in search of your name, or somehow avoid digging right into the picture montage looking for every nook and cranny your face inhabits, I commend you.
For the rest of us, seeking immediately to discover where in the book our smiling, laughing or crying faces call home, I commend you too. I commend you for looking at the yearbook at all, for being willing to see yourself in whatever way the yearbook portrays.
And if you choose to completely disregard the yearbook, that’s okay too. Because guess what, looking or not looking, or looking just at yourself really doesn’t matter.
It just doesn’t.
And I am not talking about the “cynical, life is meaningless, this is just a silly yearbook” doesn’t matter, for as I see it, what truly matters when it comes to your relationship with your yearbook is completely independent of how you actually choose (or choose not) to view it.
What really matters is simply appreciating the gifts and stories the yearbook holds and represents.
Solely go searching for every single one of your photos? Something tells me you’ll also be viewing the faces of classmates or colleagues in those photos as well or happen to catch a glance of your colleagues on nearby pages.
And even if you don’t give a passing glance at your colleagues and stay glued to your own pictures, pause, breathe, and appreciate yourself, extend self compassion and loving-kindness to the person in the photograph, the person who may have struggled in Calculus or could never could quite figure out Physics or who was just having one of those bad hair days when that silly picture was taken. Appreciate your efforts, your contributions, no matter the size, appreciate your gifts, your stories, simply appreciate you!
And if you are the type of person looking for all of your friends in the yearbook instead of your own familiar mug, don’t just appreciate the people you knew or went looking for, the people you looked up to or held as excellent role models, Appreciate the stories you may have never known and never could have known, appreciate the choir or culinary club you had no idea existed, appreciate that each and every one of the people in that yearbook has a unique story- one that ultimately connects you all to your school or community.
And for those of you who choose to completely boycott and ignore the yearbook- recognize that by ignoring its contents you have already acknowledged and appreciated the stories you perhaps didn’t want to hear, didn’t want to see, didn’t want to read. Perhaps you feared you wouldn’t like the you portrayed in the yearbook, or that you wouldn’t even be in the yearbook at all? By ignoring you are actually making a choice to acknowledge and appreciate in a different manner, or, perhaps you have even realized that you can appreciate all the amazing gifts, stories, and journeys contained inside of the its colorful pages without every actually looking inside.
Need to eat a piece of chocolate every time the opportunity presents itself to know that you enjoy its taste? Need to have your significant other present beside you to know that the love you hold in your heart comes from their purposeful presence in your life? Do we ever need words to say thank you after receiving one of those most amazing grandma hugs?
For you see, you don’t have TO SEE anything, TO TANGIBLY HOLD anything, to even POSSESS a yearbook to reflect and know the many miraculous stories unfolding around you each and every day.
But if you actually have that overflowing yearbook in your personal possession, consider yourself fortunate, for with that yearbook, you have the opportunity to discover the friends and self your eyes alone would never have been able to see.
Have a wonderful week!