Yesterday was graduation at The Princess’s school. It is one of many that have been taking place across the country this time of year. I have never been asked to speak at a commencement or a baccalaureate but it it one of those things I have thought about doing. What would I say? How would I inspire young people on the cusp of a new phase of life? Here are some of my thoughts.
‘I’ve got no strings’
You are on the brink of a new level of freedom. Your choices will more and more be shaped by your own priorities NOT what your parents, teachers, and other authority figures tell you to do. This is good and bad. Freedom is a wonderful thing, but it is also a little scary. Be brave! Don’t let your strings hold you back.
‘A whole new world’
There is a lot of world out there that you have never seen. Be open to new experiences. Go new places, try new foods, meet new people. You will not enjoy all of them. That’s okay. It is better to try something and know that you don’t like it then to take someone else word that calamari is disgusting (it is, BTW). Don’t except what you are told without experiencing it first hand. Keep an open mind.
‘I’ve got a dream’
Have a goal in mind. Don’t wander aimlessly. You can reach your goal. You can achieve your dream. You can even fail. But always, ALWAYS have something to aim for. It can be small (learn how to whittle) or large (run a Fortune 500 company) but have a goal or, even better, have several.
‘You can fly’
You are capable of more than you imagine. You are not defined by what your grades were or where you’re from. You all have vast reserves of untapped potential. Do not listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. Believe in yourself and you will soar.
‘Just around the riverbend’
Life is a journey. You need to get moving. What you want will not magically come to you. You need to get out there actively working and looking for the things that you want. It may be a little further down the river than you expect. The sooner you start, the sooner you will arrive.
‘Dig a little deeper’
Never make the mistake of thinking life is easy or fair. It is neither. If you want to truly succeed in whatever you chose for yourself you have to commit fully to it. You cannot do less than your best and expect to excel. Do not half-a@@ your way through life. What you put in is what you will get back.
‘Let it go’
You WILL make mistakes. They are a fact of life. Most of them will be small but some of them will be life changing. Accept them, learn from them, then move on. Holding on to mistakes will only weigh you down and keep you from something greater.
‘Go the distance’
Life is a marathon not a sprint. Commit for the long term. Some life goals are exactly that, LIFE goals. You will need your whole life to accomplish them. Settle in for the long haul.
‘Never grow up’
You will get older. You will be more responsible. You will learn to do all those things that mature adults do in this life. You will possibly even have children of your own someday. Don’t forget to have fun. Don’t forget to be amazed by the world around us. Don’t lose the joy and wonder we all had as children. That is what will make life more than just living. It will be an adventure. (image by julesrizz-d6hu4ed on quotesgram.com)