Perhaps appropriately, many of the best films of 2012 dealt in some way with endings. In the year in which the world was to end, many masterpieces explored the idea of ending, finality, conclusion—whether the end of slavery (Lincoln), the end of innocence (Moonrise Kingdom), the end of life (The Grey, Amour, Les Miserables, Skyfall, Killing Them Softly, etc.), the end of an affair (The Deep Blue Sea), a manhunt (Zero Dark Thirty) or the world itself (Turin Horse).
Part of the sadness and elegiac quality of something like commencement is that we remember what it was like to be young and free, "Golden in the mercy of his means," with the world as our oyster. We lament that we've lost the sense of adventure, bravery, and risk that electrified those long lost days. And yet the truth is we need not abandon such things. We should be lifelong learners, career explorers, always re-imagining the world and discovering its wonders anew.