That magical time when young people turn the page on a specific portion of their lives and look eagerly toward whatever the next chapter may be. For high schoolers, it might be college. For collegians, it might be a job. For parents, it might be a nervous breakdown.
Huge life moments have that effect, you know.
Because I’ve lived through my fair share of such transitional moments (high school, college, first job change, marriage, moving, birth, more job changes, most recent job change – just off the top of my head) I thought I would offer some prosaic words of not-quite-wisdom but not-quite-humor. Let’s just call them musings.
* There will be more times in your life when you feel exactly as you do now: a mixture of nerves and satisfaction. This is the normal way a healthy, growing person should feel. Learn to be okay with it, instead of fearing it the way so many before you did.
* If you don’t know this by now, then remember: if you don’t decide who and what you want to be, someone else will come a long and assign you a role. Don’t let them.
* The first big lie of American adulthood is that more money makes you happy. The second big lie is that money doesn’t matter. Strive for the middle ground, where money is a tool you learn to use with wisdom and discretion.
* There will always be someone around to tell you that you can’t do something. Take some time to hear the voices who tell you that you can. (Unless what you’re wanting to do is patently stupid; in that case, listen to the can’t chorus.)
* A job is a job. A career is what you do with the jobs you have to make the world a better place.
* All things in moderation, including risk, caution and cologne.
* If the phone rings, answer it. If you don’t, respond to the voice mail. If you don’t, pretend you were in the hospital for an extended period of time.
* Every organization, no matter what its purpose, is an institution. And institutions are where they put crazy people. Including you.
* Surprisingly, there are very few well-paid poets. Same is true of nuclear engineers.
* When it comes to getting a job, it’s not the degree, it’s the person who wields it. And whom the person who wields it knows.
* Those who can, do. Those who can do and explain how, teach. Those who can do neither, blog. And there are 10,690,000,000 Google search results for the word “blog”.
* At some point in your life, you might fall in love. Depending on whom you fall in love with, rest assured your family will have a lot of opinions on the matter. And so might the rest of the world. You decide which ones to listen to.
* It’s been said you can either be happy or right. That’s a false dichotomy. You can be both, if you’ll shut up when you need to, speak when you should, and say things with grace in the moment.
* And finally, this is a truth that few people heed: life is a series of endings, followed by beginnings. Don’t be afraid when an ending comes around. It means a beginning is just around the corner.
To the class of 2013 – all the best. Godspeed, good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.