This June marks 15 years (!) since my high school graduation. I didn’t go to my 10-year class reunion, but going to the 15-year doesn’t sound like total hell. I’ve got a good life I’d be happy to show off. If I could go back and give my class graduation speech, I’d have some smart words of wisdom to dispense.
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’99,
It’s often said that you shouldn’t go further than what feels right to you today, and that the only person you should compete against is the you of yesterday.
This is good advice at the gym as well as in life.
You might never be the best, but you probably won’t be the worst either. That’s how you know you’re in the right place. Exactly where you need to be.
But if your place doesn’t feel right, maybe it’s not. There’s no shame in going to therapy, asking for help or taking a chance.
The only wrong choice is to do nothing.
The best way to boost endorphins is to exercise. But if you don’t do that, other proven ways are eating chocolate, drinking wine and having sex. But I recommend all four.
Find things you love to do. And do them often.
Find people you love. And see them often.
Find work you love. And quit doing it before you stop loving it.
Remember that the least interesting people in high school are the ones who are waiting to peak when it really matters. When you’re 30, no one wants to be friends with the ones who peaked at 17.
From today on, you are responsible for your actions. There’s no more blaming your parents for not teaching you or blaming circumstances for wronging you. Your life is your responsibility. Step up, take chances and take control.
If anyone tells you you can’t, prove them wrong.
And when you do, be sure to remind your doubter often.
No matter how old you get, poop jokes will be funny, you will not feel like you have your life figured out and you will never be too old to try new things.
If you want to do something, do it now. Today. You can do it later, but you’ll only find more reasons not to. Don’t wait.
Don’t burn bridges. People you cast away today might be people you really need in the future.
If you don’t fail often, you aren’t being innovative enough.
If you don’t know, ask.
If you make a mistake, admit it.
If you mess up royally, apologize profusely.
That’s how you earn respect.
Move out of your hometown. There’s a great big world out there – one where people aren’t just like you. I want you to experience all this earth has to offer. I don’t want you to miss out.
Home will always be there. Even if it changes location.
Play nice with others.
Say I love you.
Don’t shy away from pain. Our feelings are how we learn. Embrace them. Good or bad.
Wake up every morning and choose to live.
And remember, if your hair looks good when you’re done, you didn’t do it right.