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Caps and gowns are being fitted and worn this time of the year. The hustle and bustle of change is in the air. Families gather to celebrate the big milestones in academia achievements.

Some famous and not so famous are invited to give long winded speeches about the meaning of these transitions. Hostages sit in blazing heat and their Sunday finery. It is not just a crowd of students going in a new direction. Some of the faculty won’t be back. There are parents anxiously awaiting a tuition free life.

If I ever master my fear of public speaking I would love to give a commencement speech. A captive audience’s are so few and far between. Though one beer bong after any speech most of the crowd won’t be able to recall anyways.

Which brings me to this “gap year” concept. After a few of my Portugese friends explained what the young people do here after high school, I decided that is what I want to do. I had never heard of it before but I like the idea of a gap.

After some research, Wikipedia tells me how it is all not that uncommon in parts of Europe. It is highly discouraged in America. Not real sure why that is, hindsight I wish I had encouraged my child to take a gap year. Only scholarships are much like a “KMART blue light special”, they do not wait for a gap.

In my gap year, or how ever long it takes I spend time thinking about the word “gap” and many ways “gap” show up in my life.

I remember when the big retail store The Gap opened up in the 70’s. They were cutting edge in providing fashion for a generation in the middle of a gap. The gap of a war ending and the greed pursuit beginning. In time that retail business would be swallowed up by some big conglomeration. It would go on to open things like The Gap Baby.

Then there is the voice on the London Underground which at every stop along the ride you are reminded to “mind the gap”. What a gap it is between the train and platform. One long wY down if you don’t mind the gap.

And of course there is that space between your two front teeth. You get braces for that gap! Not to be forgotten, but now a days I have a few, gaps between what I was going to say and what I am thinking.

Back to the gap year. It is too late for me to go back and take that gap year over. Besides if they had given me a chance for a gap year, I probably would of picked the year between kindergarten and first grade.

I am living that gap year that many young people get here. I am seeing the sights, sitting in cafés with out distractions. Finding my way to museums, monasteries and concerts. I know what was on the beginning side of my gap. Not sure what will be the end of my gap. But until then I am filling the gap with fun.imageimage