Dear Class of Right Here, Right Now
You've made it.
Maybe you don't have a cap and gown
or a diploma
or a selfie to post
but you're here
every last living fiber of you.
This is the time when I'm supposed to tell you something about this being the first day of the rest of your life.
But the truth is, you are one day closer to death. Your death - not mine, not someone else's but your very own death.
Isn't that amazing?
I know -you think it's morbid but the way I look at it, it's pretty helpful.
Let me explain.
Imagine your life is like being at a really fun event - let's say a wedding.
Scratch, that - I said fun.
Ok - you're at a music festival and there are all of these amazing food trucks. You can get any type of food you desire but they close shop in 15 minutes.
Are you really going to go for the "make your own salad"?
Remember, the rest of your life will forever be shortened with every new morning you wake up.
Hopefully, there will be too many mornings to count and figure out mathematically right this minute.
But, either way, they will diminish - exponentially. Or so it will feel.
One day, you, too, will repeat those famous lyrics from "Once in a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads - "Well...how did I get here?"
But you did.
And maybe - just maybe you didn't think you had much of a choice to get right here, right now but what if I told you a secret? You do. Every last one of us.
I know - "But I can't just"... fill in the blank. I know - me either. In any given moment, we can't just pick up and move, change jobs, locations or partners. But, as hard as it is to admit, there's a choice to NOT do the thing as much as there is a choice to do it. And wow - does that change the perspective because then you get to do two things: 1. find the nobility in the difficult, less-than-ideal choice; and 2. create a level of excitement and gratitude when you do make a choice for you and you, alone.
The thing is, you need to make decisions and live with the end in mind - your end. If you don't do it for yourself, do it for someone who is watching you because they are. And they're scared and stuck and helpless. But man, are they ever observant. You can do it. I believe in you.
Before you die, though, do me one favor. Remember every day that this life is no more than a week of vacation. If you get a good 4 or 5 days out of the full week - nice weather, some great memories, car trips and amusement park lines that ended up shorter than you had anticipated, an unexpected laugh from a traveling stranger - you're doing pretty good.
That's your life. It's not all going to be mid 70s, sunshine and "Fast Passes" to wherever you're trying to get to. It's not supposed to be. There's a whole experience that happens on the path to "that was a cakewalk" or the path to "let's never do that again". Pay attention.
Your life is not a game. You are not here to play by someone else's rules where there are only wins and losses. You are not here to get comfortable in the false certitude of your accumulated wealth, righteous opinions or social standing. I mean, you can if you want to but you may want to check out the entire map of the amusement park first. There's a lot going on. You may be missing out and the park closes soon.
So, congratulations, again. This is the last day you have to stick with what you thought was unyielding.
You don't have to have the answers.
You don't have to get to a certain point by a certain time.
All you have to do is see what rides you're interested in and then get in line.
Do the thing.
Make the move.
Say the words.
Feel the feels.
Ask the questions.
But whatever you do, skip the salad.