Open the door and take a step forward.

Last weekend I watched something amazing. I watched my boyfriend, Josiah, walk across a stage and get handed his college diploma. I don’t think I remember another moment where I was so proud. Being a witness to the ending of a goal that someone worked so hard and long for. I love things like that. Moments in life when there seems to be more doors open rather than closed. Moments where you just take a look around and think to yourself that you can do anything that you want. Anything that you put your mind to.

I also don’t think that there are moments that scare me more than those I just stated.

It’s a little overwhelming, don’t you think? Maybe I over think things. Maybe I have this strange grasp on time since I decided I wanted to work in a funeral home. Maybe I’m just an old soul. Who knows. All I know is that when I attend graduations or other life changing events, I think to myself, “This is it. This is a new beginning.”

Beginnings are awesome. You’re so optimistic at the beginning. You have the world at your feet. Middles are okay. You’re not yet at your destination, but you still keep going because hey, who knows. But when you start to approach those endings. Man, that’s scary. Life threw itself at you. Nothing ever goes as it’s planned. I seem to always be thinking like this. And that’s scary.

I was supposed to go to SUNY Canton, graduate in Spring 2010 and be a licensed funeral director in New York State before I turned twenty-two. I should have known this would be a long journey when my choice of college changed making me scramble to find another school which offered a degree in Funeral Services. Because you know, contrary to popular belief, not many schools do. Anyways, here I am. I have just finished (and passed) the last exam that I needed to be a licensed funeral director. A little bit later than I would have liked, but here I am. And even though I’ll be fully licensed before I’m twenty-three years old I find myself thinking. Is this the end of my journey, or the beginning? I know what you’re probably thinking. The beginning. I worked so hard and now it will pay off. However, I can’t help but to shake this feeling that it’s somehow the end. There was always one more thing. Just graduate from college. Just pass my National Board Exam. Now, all I have to do is a year of a residency. One more thing, pass that Law Exam, just do it. I mean, for over two years I’ve been concentrating on the next step and I find myself thinking that it’s now all over. How Pessimistic Patty of me.

I just finished this book. One Day. It was written by David Nicholls. And I have to be honest. I did not like this book at first. I did not like it at all actually. You see, it’s about these two people, Dexter and Emma. And well, the book is written over a span of twenty years. And each chapter is a year or two after the next, all taking place on July 15. I would read a chapter, and go on, and all of a sudden everything would be different because a few years had passed. It wasn’t my cup of tea. Until about the last three chapters. Then it all fit. And it was amazing. And please, go read it. Anyways, Emma says something in it. And I’m not going to quote it because I’m not sure the exact wording at the moment. But she says something to the effect of that she believed that it was important to change the world. But she understood that it was a hard thing to do. So maybe the most important thing was to be able to change a little bit around you. And I think to myself, isn’t that what we all want? We all want to make an impact. Because you see, we’re not immortal. We are very much mortal, actually. But if we could do something, or create something that could last longer than us. Well, that’s kind of like leaving a piece of ourselves to live on. Maybe I’m just being a little bit sappy because of everything that has been happening in my life. All of these little and big new beginnings. Maybe I’m not a Pessimistic Patty after all.

I like to think that I’ve accomplished a lot so far in my twenty-two years on this Earth. In about three short months I’ll be  a fully licensed funeral director. There are people who I went to high school with who still don’t know what they want to do with their lives. And I also like to think that I’m making the world around me a little bit better. Not many people would want to embalm a body. Not many people would want to touch a dead body. But I do. And I like it. Because I’m taking care of someone’s father. I’m making someone’s mother beautiful for one last party. I’m showing people that even though I may not have known their loved one, I still care. And they’re not alone.

My favorite question that I get asked all the time by funeral directors is, “So you want to be a funeral director, huh?”

This is always stated sarcastically. It’s said at those times when you’re so tired at 10pm at night and want nothing more than to go home, but you just got one more call. Or when everything and anything that could go wrong does. And all I can think of is yes. I do.

I want to be a funeral director. And even though it’s a vocation I don’t want to be known as just a “funeral director”.

Because life is so much more than that. And I want to be the best that I can. I want to make a difference where I can doing what I can. I want to be optimistic. I want to do good.  I want to open my own doors. But most importantly, I want to be Lauren.