June 11, 2006

Commencements Launch New Beginnings

I always thought it was strange that graduations were called commencements. Wasn’t this the end, not the beginning? But in reading this excerpt from Jodie Foster’s commencement speech to UPenn graduates I was inspired to see that endings are really new beginnings.

As I get ready to move to London and begin the latest chapter in the Adventures of Amy and Stephen, her statement brings clarity to my wanderings.

Jodie FosterActor, director and producerUniversity of Pennsylvania

"You pick up bits and pieces of treasure and trash, pain and pleasure, passions and disappointments, and you start throwing them in your bag, your big bag of experience. You do some dumb things that don't work out at all. You stumble excitedly on little gems that you never saw coming. And you stuff them all in your bag. You pursue the things you love and believe in. You cast off the images of yourself that don't fit. And suddenly you look behind you and a pattern emerges.

You look in front of you and the path makes sense. There is nothing more beautiful than finding your course as you believe you bob aimlessly in the current. Wouldn't you know that your path was there all along, waiting for you to knock, waiting for you to become. This path does not belong to your parents, your teachers, your leaders, your lovers. Your path is your character defining itself more and more every day, like a photograph coming into focus."

Webcast of Jodie's Commencement address.
Photo from msnbc.