I passed. And that's exactly how I feel. Happyness and excitement may have been the order of the day had I passed a year, or two years ago, but that's not how the world is now. There's certainly an undercurrent - a strong undercurrent - of joy, but the primary feeling is relief. A complete, profound and deep-seated relief.
I know that I have limited my horizons somewhat while doing the exams. This was a conscious decision, a necessity to allow me to learn what I needed and wanted to know, to pass the exams and for wider life. And in the earlier years it caused no problems as the areas within the horizons were vast, unexplored wildernesses. But as they were explored, they grew smaller and increasingly constraining - I needed to climb out and explore new vistas. But I held myself back; I still had exams to sit.
My final exam has caused be some difficulties in passing. I sat it underprepared a couple of times, sacrificing it to ensure passes in other exams, and by the time I sat it prepared properly familiarity had bred contempt, or at least sapped the desire to learn all the information as well as was required. Repeating the exam to try and pass it in no way lessened this irritation - having to relearn the required information time and time again. If I had failed it this time, then I would have had to blinker myself, to try and find the focus to learn the familar once more, to retread old ground. Old ground that had ceased to give a true challenge but that of persistance. Hold myself back, again.
But I don't. I have finally succeeded in passing the exam, and find that the world has opened out. It has opened, promising a fresh day of unparalleled brilliance, an opportunity to run free and search out the hidden valleys and sparkling brooks and swamps and beaches and mountains and to see the earth. I don't doubt that I will fail to use the opportunities available to their full potential, that I'll be scared and hold back, clutching to the familiar. But at last, at long last, I feel that I can step forwards without being hobbled. The millstone holding me fast has been lifted and I can step out and explore the world.