Monday, June 17, 2013

To the Graduating Class of 1993

To the Graduating Class of 1993:

Today, the seventeenth of June 1993, as your honored speaker, I would like to tell you that you may not remember one word spoken from this podium in twenty years time.  However, you should remember that it was a special day. That being said, I would like to leave you with a glimpse into the future as you move on into this unique journey of life. 

Twenty years from now, you may not recognize yourself - but don't be afraid, because so many events will transpire that will shape you into a different version. You will always have certain traits that may help identify you, but I want you to be open to the idea that you may never be the exact person you hope today to be. The world seems limitless today, and it should.  So many things will happen to you, and you will happen to a great many others. 

In the coming years and decades, nothing is certain but constant evolution. You will work and leave employment. You will lose someone close to you. You will be disappointed, and you will be elated. You may travel the world and have adventures. Someone will have faith in you. You may fall in love. You will make mistakes. You may find yourself doing something you were sure you would never do. You will discover true friendship. You will see your family in a different light. Answers will come, and more questions will arise. You will be lost, and you will show others the way. You will learn and see and do so much. You will be shocked by events that happen across the globe and numbed by some that happen in your own town. You will be angry. You will be forgiven.  You will receive so many gifts, and you will gain a greater appreciation for the value and consequences of your decisions. You will never know it all, but you will gain wisdom. Eventually, your story will unfold, and hindsight will draw reason from chaos.  

With all of this uncertainty, you absolutely must do something for yourself and for the world that is of great importance - you must have special days. Today is a special day, and you chose to have it. After close to eighteen years of things way beyond your control, you chose to create this special day. As decisions become more and more your own, the value of your life will be determined by the special days you chose. By creating the experiences that define you, you bring purpose to your human story. Some things are almost completely under your control, and when you force these days that bring butterflies to stomachs, you create the moments of life that matter. It is not enough for you to be able to say you followed the recipe, when you were the reason the world would have flavor. 

In twenty years, you will look back at this day as a fond memory. You will know that you really were quite clueless, and you will wish you could whisper some secrets to the mystery of the world in that young ear. Of course, you probably wouldn't have listened. So enjoy this day - nay, savor it - and use the time you have in a way that continues to give butterflies... in your own special way.

So, congratulations to the Class of '93, and may today never be your best day.

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