This is high school graduation weekend in town, and it is a big occasion for my family.
The youngest kids in the family are graduating and everyone is gathering together to celebrate their accomplishments and give them gifts. The best (and least expensive) present I can present is advice, so here are some commencement comments for the graduates of 2018 here in my town and wherever you may be reading this.
Celebrate – First of all, celebrate where you are in life. If you are graduating from school this year, you may be worried about what comes next in life, but you should be sure to take a few moments to think about everything you’ve done so far. People too often get caught up worrying about what’s ahead and they don’t appreciate where they are, kind of like with this column. I don’t know where it’s going, but does that stop me? No! I’m just happy I’ve made it this far without any typos. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next in this column, and I hope you look forward to whatever comes next in life. Celebrate!
But don’t’ celebrate too much – Moderation is key in life. It is key in celebrating, planning, and just about everything you do, even moderating. Moderation is your friend.
Think big – Don’t let yourself settle. If you want your dream job, work for your dream job. If you want a big house, plan and work so you can afford a big house. If you want a Big Mac, go to McDonald’s. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something, and even more importantly, don’t let yourself tell you that you can’t do something. Get two Big Macs!
But appreciate the small stuff – If you think about it, those small fries are often better than the Big Macs, and small houses are a lot easier to clean. Take a few moments to just look around each day and think about how lucky you are in life, whether that’s with the weather, your family and friends or even just your hair. No matter where you are in life, someday you’ll look back on days like today and think, “I sure wish I could go back to how I felt when I was reading Nick’s commencement column. ”
You can do it! – Don’t let doubt keep you from taking on whatever goal you have. If you want to run a marathon, write a book, earn a higher degree, get a new job or learn how to make your own ketchup, you can do it!
But you might fail, which can be good, too – So what if you don’t finish the marathon or book, don’t get an interview or make a huge mess with tomatoes all over your kitchen, you’ll learn from your mistakes and do better the next time. It’s still better than not trying. Also, the people who do great things are usually the same people who failed a bunch of times before. Just look at this column as a great example! Some of those early paragraphs were a little rough, but I think it’s improving.
You are unique! – Seriously, no one else is just like you. You have a lot to offer to the world, so don’t keep everything to yourself. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, start dancing and mixing some metaphors! Take some chances, share your talents and skills, and let people get to know the real you.
But everyone is replaceable – Whenever you leave a job, your school or your team, someone will always be there to take your place. That doesn’t mean that we don’t need you or appreciate you, but that you should keep some perspective, try to stay humble and do your best at whatever you do. A veteran reporter told me this at my first newspaper job, and I have always remembered that conversation. I think it was friendly advice, but looking back on it now, I’m not so sure.
Be patient because you’ve got big things ahead of you – Don’t expect to reach all of your goals right away. Many of your dreams take patience and hard work, so enjoy the ride on your way there. Set some goals, work toward them and see where life takes you!
But then again, life is short – Don’t wait too long. Do your best while you can, because before you know it, you’ll be at the end and you’ll be looking back to see what you’ve written.