A Note for Graduates – From Andy O
Get’s to be this time of year, when commencements are about to commence and I get to thinking about the years that have gone by for me and maybe share a thought or two with those who will commence to commencing.
First off, this is your time to shine. You have made it past the first little hurdle in life called “high school”. Some things, were quite difficult, others, were the absolute pinnacle of enjoyment and you have made friendships that will last a lifetime. For some, making friends is no easy task. You might be shy, maybe a little “different” than the current mold of “teen something’s “ Trust me when I tell you this….no matter where you sit on the social scale, time is the great equalizer! I graduated from a small school and all of us had our little clicks….but 25 years have gone by since then, and even though we might not be as closely knit as we once were, the bond grows tighter every year. Reunions seem more important, staying in touch is paramount, even if you are just creeping on someone’s Facebook page, don’t lose track of each other. Watch in amazement as your friends bloom to become parents, workers and members of their communities. From those you least expect it…will come the greatest things!
Next, as the years go on…make sure you never forget your parents. They have loved you, supported you and given you a swift kick in the ass from time to time for a reason. We humans live in “cycles”, childhood, teen years, adulthood and elderly. You are transitioning into adulthood now. Over those years you will begin to see something you probably won’t like much, but it’s coming…so here it is. Your parents….they are going to become human. Up till now, you probably viewed them as some kind of superhero’s, just like I did mine. But trust me on this one, they have struggled, they have cut corners they have sacrificed…they have sometimes fought and sometimes sat there with their head in their hands and wondered “Am I getting this right?” There is no book on parenthood, there is no college class that teaches you how to give the appearance of smooth sailing in the most turbulent of times. Learn from them. As time goes on, and you have your own kids….ask your parents “How did you do this?” and in as much as you will be able to see some fallibility, the wealth of knowledge within them can get you over any obstacle and you will see, in no short order, the scope of the commitment they made to you by getting you to this point. It’s a pretty selfless act being a parent, make sure you return the favor as yours grow older.
Love…love is something we will all need more and more of as the years go by. Not the kind of love you find after a college night in Mount Pleasant, but the kind of love that spreads across humanity. We will all need to be a little more accepting….trusting…..willing to help when needed and willing to raise your hand if you need some of that help. As time marches on and we become more and more busy it’s SO easy to forget that the fabric of our species is based on being able to love without condition, being sympathetic to those who are having a hard time and being able to forgive and forget those who have wronged us. It starts by loving yourself. Take a little time to find yourself, get going in the direction you want to and plant your feet firmly on the ground. From there….let that love spread and give of it freely…it will be the greatest reward you reap when it comes back to you.
Finally, I beg of you one thing…. NEVER NEVER NEVER let the day come that you look in the mirror and say “I could have been a dreamer.” Dream big, dream bold and dream of yourself standing on top of the mountain, that is your life. Take chances, manage risk and if ever someone says to you “You’ll never make it”…….take that as your very first chance to prove them wrong. Look down upon all you have accomplished, look back and revel in the thought that you made a difference in someone’s life in some way…and be proud of the person you have become, as all of us “old farts” are so proud of you on this day.
God’s blessings to you all.