It’s crazy to think it’s been exactly four years since all 400 of us were in the same room united as one. When we left we were all headed our separate ways to move either across town, across the state, across the country, or across the world. We were all closing a chapter of comfort and entering a new world filled with unfamiliar faces, new buildings, and a new lifestyle, leaving behind family and some close friends. Some of us went to schools where it was one big high school reunion all over again. Others went to places where no one had even heard of our hometown. In one way or another, we all found success that reached our own individual standards. So to my graduating class, here is what I have to say.
Success does not have a set definition.
When we left high school many of us dreamed that we’d be winning a Pulitzer or Nobel Peace Prize two years into high school. When we realized that wasn’t the case some of us dropped out of school and realized that wasn’t for us. Or immediately switched careers in hopes of finding a higher amount of happiness doing something else. That’s okay. It took practice and trial and error to realize what we wanted to do and what would lead us to that platform of success. Some of us were late bloomers and realized now that we want to get an education, or change up our lifestyles and achieve new goals. Success is a measurement that we can make up all on our own, and in the world, we live in we have a lot of options to fulfill our wants and needs.
Home will always be waiting.
For some of us, we have been too afraid to leave in fear of leaving what we are comfortable with. Home is wherever you make it out to be. So screw Thomas Wolfe when he said, “You can’t go home again.” That’s not true at all. Home will always be where you last left it, ready to pick back up when you are. But like Seuss once said, “Your mountain is calling so get on your way,” the world is waiting for you to discover and explore it. You’ll have nothing else to lose other than the experience, and the ability to say that at least you tried.
We’re really not as old as you think.
Sure we may joke that 22 is old age but really think about it. We’re not even halfway to the average life expectancy. So stop making excuses. It is never too late to start something new. To pick up a new hobby, study a new subject, and do whatever it is you desire to do. Some people may not find their “thing” until they’re in their 70’s. But don’t be that person.
Stop trying to rush things.
We’ve come to the point where we see a new engagement/pregnancy/wedding announcement at least once a week. It’s great to see pure happiness in old friends and classmates, but don’t feel the need to rush things for yourself. The time will come when we’re all individually ready. Didn’t your mother ever talk to you about late bloomers?
You don’t need to settle for the first company that hires you and talks to you about starting your first 401k. Just because you get a “dream job” doesn’t mean that it’s your “dream job.” Going back to success being an individual’s measurement, you should never settle for anything until you are 100% satisfied with the results and outcome.
I’m proud to have graduated with remarkable people like yourselves.
There is no other school and not another group of people I would have loved to graduate with. High School in one way or another was a fun time that I will always remember positively with. Through the use of social media and the tools, we have today it has been a pleasure to keep tabs on everyone and see what has happened and how much has changed within these past four years. As just a preview of the lifetime we have ahead, I can confidently say I am excited for where we will all end up 10 years from now.
So at our 10-year reunion, it will be interesting to see where we all end up. Who won the Nobel Peace Prize, who has the most children, who even has the most career changes. Whatever it is that we all do remember that this world is yours and it’s whatever you make of it. It was a pleasure to graduate with you all, and it’s an even pleasure to continue to watch our class grow into this crazy thing we call adult hood. So four years later I’m still saying that I wish you only the best. The highest amount of success that makes you happy, and the most amount of happiness that you need in this lifetime.